electrical inventions portrait

Inventions Across The Globe: A Focus On Electrical Beginnings

It’s weird how dependent we have become on technology these days. To think people lived in a totally different era compared to what our world looks like today. Life was noticeably more complicated back then because there was not as much technological assistance when people started with electronic inventions.

Inventions and their Purpose

It’s mind-blowing to think that most of the electronic gadgets that we use today were totally different many years ago. Inventions are often unintended. People usually create them by trying or testing out a new idea and occasionally it turns out to be totally different compared to what they had in mind. Although some people stick to the exact methods they had planned. The idea behind inventions is that they introduce people to different ways of doing things. Producing a fresh perspective on a certain problem or situation.

An invention has multiple purposes. It usually uses technology to solve a specific problem. The technical features of an invention have a function through which the problem is solved through introducing the invention. Additionally, some inventions are created to improve, change lives and move the human race forward. One of the most important things that inventions do is to give birth to entirely new fields of study. In addition, people create things in order to make life easier. 

Introducing: Phenomenal Worldwide Inventions


One of the oldest electrical inventions that became a worldwide sensation is electricity, which is the presence and flow of electric charge. The usage of electricity allows us to transfer energy in ways that allow us to do simple chores. William Gilbert invented the term ‘electricity’. He was the first person to recognise that there was a connection between magnetism and electricity, and the first to describe the Earth’s magnetic field. Electricity was not invented but discovered and later harnessed.


Benjamin Franklin is typically given credit for the discovery of electricity. In 1752, Franklin directed an experiment using a kite and key on a rainy day. The idea behind this was to illustrate the relationship between lightning and electricity. He flew the kite tied with a key during the thunderstorm. It resulted in the electricity from the storm clouds being transferred to the key and he got a shock. Following Franklin’s idea, many other scientists started developing their own ideas and understanding regarding electricity.


Michael Faraday, who is one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century, was typically credited with making electricity harnessable and viable for use in technology. He was the first scientist to produce an electric current from a magnetic field. Additionally, he invented the first electric motor and dynamo, demonstrated the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, discovered the effect of magnetism on light, and discovered and named diamagnetism, the peculiar behaviour of certain substances in strong magnetic fields. His contribution and dedication to science is quite impressive considering he came from a poor background. He built himself a promising future.

There are many additional scientists, such as William Gilbert, Luigi Galvani, Alessandro Volta, Charles Augustin De Coulomb, Andre-Marie Ampere, Georg Ohm and James Clerk Maxwell who have had an influence on electricity’s success.

“Based on the discovery of electricity, many other inventions were introduced.”

Benjamin Flanklin electricity experiment
Credits: fi.edu

Alternating Current Machinery

Regardless of how old you are today, atleast once in your life you must have heard about the famous Electrical, Mechanical and futurist – Nikola Tesla.

It was in the year 1882 that Tesla proposed to carry out electricity distribution with alternating current. Alternating current is an electric current which periodically reverses direction, in contrast to direct current which flows only in one direction. At that moment, he was working for Thomas Edison’s company. Nikola Tesla managed to build the first prototype of an induction motor in the year 1887. He said he had a vision of his A-C motor one sunny day in Budapest, while reciting stanzas from Goethe’s Faust.

The invention of alternating current was actually bigger than it seems. It could provide power in more ways than one, but what stood out was how it could improve the lighting systems as well. In 1886, the entire city of Rome was lit up by alternating currents.

Alternative current
Credits: Sunpower Uk

The Lightbulb

One of the most important inventions of all time is the lightbulb. The lightbulb was invented by Thomas Edison in 1879 ( an exceptionally well known inventor). Most inventions created back then were thought out by multiple people but introduced by one person. Therefore, the light bulb can’t be credited to one inventor. It was a series of ideas from previous inventors that have led to the light bulbs’ success.

Edison’s name comes to mind when thinking of this invention but it was a British chemist Warren de La Rue who had solved the scientific challenges of the lightbulb nearly 40 years earlier. He placed within a vacuum tube a platinum coil and glided an electric current through it. The idea was so that the high melting point of platinum would help it operate at higher temperatures and that the released chamber would have fewer gas molecules to respond with the platinum. This will allow it to last longer. This creates a bright light which is contained by the glass bulb around it.

Additionally, research shows that in 1874, Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans filed a patent for an incandescent light bulb with a carbon filament in Canada and the United States. The light bulbs worked properly but unfortunately they sold poorly. Due to this misfortune, they ended up selling their patent to Thomas Edison in 1879. Therefore, Edison takes credit for this invention and ever since introducing it to society, life before the lifebulb seems impossible. The light bulb contributed to creating social order after the sun went down and it allowed us to navigate and travel safely in the dark. The light bulb has changed the way the world works as a whole.

The invention of the lightbulb
Credits: WorldAtlas

The Computer

This is a complicated one, because computers come in many forms and have multiple meanings:

Oxford English dictionary: “An electronic device for storing and processing data, typically in binary form, according to instructions given to it in a variable program.”

Computer Notes: “A computer is an electronic device that is designed to work with information. The term computer is derived from the Latin term ‘computare’. This means calculating or a programmable machineComputers can not do anything without a programme.” 

Merriem Webster:one that computes, specifically a programmable, usually electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data.”

The Father Of Computing

It has many definitions and comes in different forms. Research shows that Charles Babbage was considered to be the father of computing after his concept, and then later the invention of the Analytical Engine in 1837. It was an ALU (arithmetic logic unit), basic flow control, and integrated memory.  This was introduced as the first general-purpose computer concept. A general purpose computer has the ability to perform a variety of tasks which is considered to be extremely useful and convenient.

However, due to unfortunate funding issues, this computer was not issued  while Charles Babbage was alive. In 1991, Henry Babbage, Charles Babbage’s youngest son, was able to complete a fraction of the machine. Then 1991, the London Science Museum completed a working version of the Analytical Engine No 2. This version included Babbage’s refinements.

Although Babbage never saw the completion of his invention, his ideas and concepts of the computer are what make him the father of computing.

Furthermore, 1936-1938  Konrad Zuse created Z1 in his parents’ living room, it consists of 30 000 metal parts and it is considered to be an electromechanical binary programmable computer. Throughout the years, there were more versions of the computer invented by Zuse: In 1939 the Z2, 1941 the Z3 and 1950 the Z4 were introduced, which is considered to be the first commercial computer. A commercial computer is used in intensive and active environments. It requires hardware that is more capable and more reliable than consumer-grade products.

The Personal Computer

In 1974 Henry Edward Roberts introduced the concept ‘personal computer’ and is considered to be the modern father of personal computers after releasing the Altair 8800.  It was then seen on the front cover of Popular Electronics that year, 1975 making it an overnight success. The personal computer is directed at individual users.

The computer was available as a kit for $439 or assembled for $621 and had several additional add-ons, such as a memory board and interface boards. In August 1975, more than 5,000 Altair 8800 personal computers were sold. This is when the revolution of computers started.

He created an extremely useful device because look at how much of an impact computers have on today’s life. There are many people that still contribute to the improvement of computers today. This is important because we use them at schools, work, churches and at any event. Therefore, it constantly needs to stay up to date.

personal computer | Definition, History, & Facts | Britannica
Credits: Britannica

The Battery

One of the earliest inventions was the battery (the first power source of continuous current). The term “battery” was coined by an American scientist Benjamin Franklin. In 1748 to describe several charged glass plates. The glass plates, known as capacitors, were coated with metal on the surface and were charged using a static generator.

In 1780, Luigi Galvani dissected a frog using a brass hook and iron scalpel and during this process, the frog twitched. He came to the conclusion that it was ‘animal electricity’. Italian scientists Alessandro Volta disagreed with this notion because, according to him, it was caused due to the joining of 2 metals by a moist intermediary. After conducting experiments in order to verify his hypothesis, he released the results 1791 and introduced the first battery in 1800, called the Voltaic Pile. 

Today, we can’t imagine life without batteries because now we use them for literally everything – to charge our phones, laptops, electrical toys, remote controls and torches.

Voltaic Pile
Credits: Bright Hub

The Telephone

It’s quite astonishing how people create certain items in order to solve  problems, not knowing it would become a worldwide phenomenon. The telephone emerged in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. Thomas A. Watson, one of Bell’s assistants, was trying to reactivate a telegraph transmitter. After hearing the sound, Bell believed that he could solve the problem of sending a human voice over a wire. He figured out how to transmit a simple current first, and received a patent for that invention.

The first word’s ever spoken over the telephone by Bell was “Mr. Watson – Come here – I want to see you”— as well as his reaction when his assistant arrived: “To my delight, he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said.”

Telephone Technology has improved significantly since Bell introduced it and now includes cell phones and internet applications.

Telephone inventions
Credits: CBS News


In 1924, the television pioneer, John Baird Milestones, produced the first televised pictures of objects in motion. This is known to be the first televised human face 1925 and a year later, he televised the first moving object image at the Royal Institution in London. His 1928 trans-Atlantic transmission of the image of a human face was a broadcasting turning point.

Additionally, a patent was given for a television invention by a 21-year-old inventor Philo Taylor Farnsworth who had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14. He called his invention the ‘image dissector’. This was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco 1927.  The idea behind his invention was to capture moving images, transform those images into code, then move those images in radio waves to various devices.

first television invented
Credits: Timetoast

A few years later, a patent was granted to Louis W. Parker for a low-cost television receiver. One million homes in the United States have television sets. The FCC approved the first color television standard, which was eventually replaced by a second in 1953. Vladimir Zworykin developed a better camera tube called the Vidicon. The invention became a continuous success as the years went by. In July 1969, 600 million people watched the first TV transmission made from the moon. Eventually, everyone had a TV in their homes and in 1996, TV sets were in excess of 1 billion homes across the world.

The television started out as being described as this big box with a round back, where now, they are either slim or curved in shape with additional buttons and settings added to them in order to make things easier.


It’s clear to see that we were extremely blessed to be introduced to the notion of electricity which started it all. Inventions such as the lightbulb, for example, have become an everyday necessity because without it there would be no social order. Most of these inventions have been altered and upgraded over the years. However, it’s important to remind ourselves where it all started. This will allow us to show more appreciation of these phenomenal worldwide inventions.



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