Energy Inventors

Many energy words are named for the inventors who discovered them or first explained them. Take a look at these famous scientists.

Benjamin Franklin
Born: January 17, 1706
Lived in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Discovered: Positive and negative electrical charges, and that lightning is a form of electricity (the famous “kite and key” experiment).
Invented: Lightning rod, Franklin stove, swimming fins, bifocal lenses for eyeglasses, odometer (which measures distance)
Died: April 17, 1790

James Watt
Born: January 19, 1736
Lived in: Glasgow, Scotland, and Birmingham, England
Invented: An improved steam engine, which was a big part of the Industrial Revolution and made him a rich man. He also created the term “horsepower” to measure the power of an engine.
Died: August 19, 1819

Alessandro Volta
Born: February 18, 1745
Lived in: Como, Italy
Discovered: Methane gas.
Invented: The first battery, called the “Voltaic pile.” The electrophorus, which produced static electricity.
Died: March 5, 1827

Michael Faraday
Born: September 22, 1791
Lived in: London, England
Discovered: Electromagnetic induction – if he moved a magnet through a loop of wire, the wire would become electrified. The “Faraday effect,” that proved that light and magnetic force are related. Electrolysis, which uses electricity to separate matter. Also discovered the chemical benzene.
Invented: The dynamo, which converted motion into electricity. The “Faraday cage,” which blocks electric waves.
Died: August 25, 1867

Thomas Edison
Born: February 11, 1847
Lived in: Ohio and New Jersey
Discovered: The “Edison effect,” or electric waves in space. This discovery allowed for the invention of radios, televisions, computers and other wireless products.
Invented: An improved incandescent light bulb, sound recorder, movie camera, telegraph machines, electric vote recorder, stock ticker, microphone, batteries, X-ray machines – and more than 2,000 other devices.
Died: October 18, 1931

Nikola Tesla
Born: July 10, 1856
Lived in: Croatia, Hungary, France, New York, Colorado
Discovered: Alternating current electricity, hydroelectric power, radio waves, radar, robotics
Invented: The “Tesla coil” electric transformer, the first long-distance power system, electric motors, loudspeakers, X-ray machines, remote controls, man-made lightning bolts.
Died: January 7, 1943

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