Electricity: The dark past….

Well since I had written about electricity generation in the past, I will not bore you with a redundant post. I will just add some information that I missed (based on the criteria on this assignment), but will ultimately focus on the current methods of electricity generation. Which I did not write about last time.

We have to focus on the 3 phases of the Industrial revolution. Pre-industrial, Industrial, and post-Industrial revolution periods.

To further understand this, a definition of the Industrial revolution is in order. It was a “period in the late 18th and early 19th centruries, when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, production, mining, and transportation had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions in Britain.” Source

Pre-Industrial Revolution:

Electricity began to be developed as a technology around 1831 by Michael Faraday as mentioned in the previous post. This information leads us to understand that pre-Industrial revolution, electricity was not used. Upon further investigation, we see that the majority of work done by machines was done by steam power. During this period, we see that with technology being what it is, was limited by a human factor. Factories were made with many people working on rudimentary machines as part of a whole process. Electricity during this time had not existed in the form we use today. Nothing was advanced in this field, but the dependence on steam power for motive force was used to provide a great framework for electrical generation during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the technology did not exist, and there was no predecessor to it (you couldn’t power a microwave with a steam engine)

During the Industrial Revolution:

As electricity began to take root in society, people noticed the benefits. I will not go over the example of the university that moved from steam power to electricity, that is left for the reader to check out. During the industrial revolution, at around the late 1880s, there was a “War of the Currents“. This was a publicity war between Edison, and Nikola Tesla over the use of AC vs DC. Up to this time, electricity was given in DC, and this was fine, but Nikola Tesla believed that AC would reduce losses and offer the ability to scale the voltage/current to whatever was needed at the time. Nikola Tesla was a mathematical genius and came up with the AC from the analysis of rotating magnetic fields. This was a very advanced method of generation of electricity and he approached Edison (who he was working for at the time) with his discovery. Edison dismissed it outright saying that it had no future. Such began the War of the Currents.

Edison publicly killed animals with AC and tried to shock people with his displays. He tried to show the world how unsafe it was. Inadvertently, he paved the way to the electric chair when he himself, was opposed to capital punishment.

Around this time, the automobile began it’s development, along with the first production line. Factories were working incredible hours to put out their products and electricity helped multiply productivity. People had their streets lit up by lightbulbs, the first electric car was shown off, many people began to immediately notice the benefits of electricity and it was a change which they could not possibly begin to reverse.

Britain holds vast amounts of coal that would power steam turbines for electricity generation. This would be a huge portion of their electrical production for a very long time to come. Coal was the primary source of the chemical component of electrical production. Coal was also ideal in the way that the technology to convert coal into motive force was already well known. Steam engines were developed since 1698 where the first application was a pump. Attaching a steam engine to a generator yielded a simple, yet effective source of electricity. Steam engines were a driving force of the industrial revolution, and due to it’s effectiveness in a manufacturing setting, and the comfortability with that technology, it allowed electricity to permeate society quite fluidly.

Post-industrial revolution:

After the industrial revolution, electricity had taken a firm hold everywhere and technology began to take root that was wholly based on electricity. Microwaves, radio, refrigerators, transportation, basically everything that is most commonly used today is based upon the framework of electricity. Powergrids began to spring up and everyone began to have electricity and its associated benefits. For more information post-Industrial Revolution, please check my next blog post.

Continue onto here for current timeframe.


~ by stln1234 on March 19, 2009.

One Response to “Electricity: The dark past….”

  1. Super article: will definitely visit again

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