The ancient history of electricity

As a technology that has contributed greatly to modern mankind, electricity is now serving us in every way. For example, you who are reading this article are also reading on an electronic device. So are you curious about it? How did people tame the beast of the air (lightning) and put it to work for us? Let's take a look at the history of electricity.

The earliest knowledge of electricity comes not only from natural lightning in the sky, but also from the "electric fish" in the water. Ancient Egyptian books dating back to 2750 BC record that these "electricity generating fish" were considered to be "the messengers of lightning in the Nile" and were the protectors of all fish. In fact, this is an expression of mankind's reverence for electricity: a fish with powers that it does not possess must be the protector of fish, right? Just like the gods of the heavens who are in charge of thunder and lightning.

For more than two thousand years, the knowledge of electricity did not make much progress until the sixth century BC. The ancient Greek scholar Miletus observed that amber, when rubbed with a cloth, attracted lighter objects like feathers and hair. We now know that this was in fact a mutual attraction between positive and negative electricity. From the perspective of the time, this mutual attraction was an astonishing discovery. At the time, people attributed this attraction to the properties of amber itself. It was not until almost two thousand years later that this idea was disproved, as will be described later.

In the first century AD, in addition to recognising electricity, people also began to use it in nature. You must have wondered how electricity was used so far back in time. <According to Pliny the Elder, author of Natural History, touching a 'power fish' and getting an electric shock could be used to treat headaches. This treatment was widely accepted by doctors at the time. In fact, electrotherapy is now actively used in the field of psychiatry as well. You wouldn't have thought that electrotherapy had been used in ancient times before electricity had been mastered.

Although people in ancient times did not have a grasp of electricity, they did have knowledge of it. It may surprise you to know that although the word electric was first coined by William Gilbert in the 15th century, the ancient Chinese, who had no electricity, had created the Chinese word for electricity(电) more than 3,000 years earlier. This article may change your perception of the length of the history of electricity.

The next article will introduce you to the history of electricity - the modern part. In this part of the history, mankind will begin to use science to actually study and use electricity, so watch on if you are interested!