Five facts about electricity that you might not have known

Okay, let’s just get straight into it, shall we? How many of these lesser-known electricity facts did you already know?


Benjamin Franklin didn’t actually invent electricity

American Benjamin Franklin is widely credited to be the founder and inventor of electricity courtesy of the well-told story involving his experiments with a kite, a key and lightning. But this is actually not correct, all Franklin did in his wild and risky experiments was prove there was a connection between lightning and electricity.

If you want to get technical, there have been many archeological discoveries of crude batteries from many centuries ago and cultures including the Greeks experimented with static electricity in 600BC. The Latin word electricus was created by English physician William Gilbert in 1600 to put a name to static electricity. It wasn’t until 1752 that Franklin proved that the same sparks caused by rubbing certain items together were the same thing as lightning.

But when it comes to the actual harnessing and creation of electricity as a power supply, there are two men you have to thank. Italian physicist Alessandro Volta was the first to create a voltaic electric battery in 1800 and is credited for creating the first transmission of electricity. Then when Michael Faraday created the electric dynamo in 1831, the transmission of electricity had been invented which paved the way for the likes of American Thomas Edison and British scientist Joseph Swan to invent the lightbulb.

The first electric car was actually already a thing in 1891

The first successful electric car was built was back in 1891 by American inventor William Morrison who used batteries of his own invention to power a horseless buggy. By using 24 of these batteries, he was able to not only make his cart move around town, but also take passengers.


We receive more solar power than we can even use

Some detractors of solar power complain that it is only effective when the sun is shining. But did you know that enough sunlight reaches the earth’s surface each minute to power the entire world for an entire year? As solar and battery technologies continue to improve, the sun is effectively a limitless source of electricity.


AC/DC drew inspiration from Tesla and Edison

Rock megaband AC/DC can thank Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison for their name. AC current was the invention of Tesla and DC current was largely the design of Edison and both pushed hard for their currents to be the one to be adopted by the mainstream back in the 1880s. It led to a famous ‘war of currents’ which was ultimately won by Tesla and his AC current because it is regarded as safer and you can transport it over longer distances.


Iceland consumes more electricity than any other country

Despite only having a population of 356,991, the Nordic nation uses over 20 per cent more electricity every year per capita than the United States. A lot of this is because of the high levels of industry (including aluminium smelting) and large-scale fishing operations.

But no one in Iceland is stressing about using too much power, because over 85 per cent of their consumption comes from locally produced renewable energy sources. Many industries are 100 per cent sustainable from their own renewable energy production and electricity is cheap as chips in Iceland as a result.