It isn’t often here on the Parker & Sons blog that we get to learn about important historical figures. The inventors and innovators in the fields of plumbing and HVAC have received relatively little notoriety over the course of history. Electricity is an entirely different story. Some of the most influential and recognizable names in history help develop the science of electricity. In today’s blog, we will learn about some of the most notable figures in the history of electricity.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a Founding Father and a polymath whose expertise was astoundingly wide reaching. He was known as a politician, author, diplomat, inventor, scientist, artist, and theorist. He truly defined what it meant to be a n renaissances man. He was an endlessly curious man who let his intelligence guide him through life. He was also a pioneer in the world of electricity. He was the first person to use the terms ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ when referring to an electrical charge. He is also known for inventing lightning rods, which were used to protect and ground buildings. Benjamin Franklin propose an experiment in which electricity would be conducted by a key hung from a kite flown during a storm. Whether he ever actually conducted this experiment is a matter for historical debate.
Although Thomas Seeback (1770-1831) may not possess the historical fame of Benjamin Franklin, he is nonetheless an important figure in the history of electricity. Seeback was a German physicist and the first person to reliably and intentionally display thermoelectricity. He accomplished this by twisting together two wires made of different metals. He then heated the connection between the two wires. The result was an electrical current! This helped to prove the connection between electricity, energy and heat.