History of Electricians
Ben Franklin will forever be associated with electricity since he had the brilliant idea (although not-so-brilliant in the fact he could have died) for flying a kite in an electrical storm with a metal key attached. However, electricity is not something to be invented; it is a natural phenomenon that is merely harnessed by humans for our use, although we can generate it with tools such as hydropower.
It’s hard for us to imagine a world without light. But up until very recently, the world relied upon daylight to get all of their work done. Eventually, lanterns and candles came into being, but before that, it was humans and campfires being the only source of light.
However, humans have known about electricity for a long time, probably since humans first observed lightning strike a tree and start a forest fire thousands of years ago. Most of the major civilizations had gods of lightning, or gods who could wield lightning, from Zeus for the Greeks to Thor for the Norsemen.
Static electricity was first studied and chronicled in 1600 by an English astronomer named William Gilbert. He was the one who coined the word “electro” for us, using the Greek word for amber since he created static electricity by rubbing a cloth against amber. Ben Franklin had his kite experiment in 1752. The first electrical street light was installed by the first electricians in Los Angeles in 1875. The 1880s saw the first power stations and transformers and 1881 saw the first successful alternating-current electrical demonstration.
Expositions and world fairs were huge in the late 1800s, and they became popular places to display new advances in electricity. Electricians were hired to build and operate the new findings at these expos.
As electricity grew and its applications, so too did modern society. If you think about it, without electricity virtually all of the modern conveniences that we love (from computers and cell phones to washing machines and refrigerators) would not exist. Delta Electrical in Jackson notes that you can trace the growth of society by tracing the growth of electricity.
In the twentieth century, we saw electricity combine with engineering that helped bring about large scale electrical systems and smaller scaled electronics, which is where the electrician began to specialize. We saw better motors, trans-Atlantic telephone service, and better power transmission to fuel the rising demand from consumers. Electrical meters began to be used in 1921 to measure electrical usage.
Simply put, modern society could not run without electricity. We get our oil pumped out of the ground with electricity, and throughout your day, you accomplish most tasks because of electricity and because of those who bring you electricity. Our society today is a culmination of 300 years of pioneering work done by early electricians, researchers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs who took others’ ideas and ran with it.