. A Coming of Age

Michael Brian Schiffer

in Draw the Lightning Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238022
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939851 | DOI:
. A Coming of Age

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This chapter investigates the major technologies developed by electrophysicists from 1740 to about 1800. The public presentation of science—electricity in particular—furnished opportunities to transfer scientific knowledge and technologies of science into industrial and commercial communities. Petrus van Musschenbroek and Jean-Antoine Nollet hardly held a monopoly on sales of electrical apparatus. Georg Bose, Johann Winkler, and Francis Watkins took up the development of new electrical technology, especially machines and accessories. The Leyden jar did cause an uproar in the electrophysics community because its operation at first seemed incomprehensible. Benjamin Franklin's one-electricity theory and clever experiments enabled him to solve the puzzle of the Leyden jar. It is noted that there was no lack of attempts to build technologies which might produce new physics. The major prerequisites for conducting scientific research were curiosity and literacy, but even in the eighteenth century there were many paths to literacy.

Keywords: electricity; electrophysics; Benjamin Franklin; Petrus van Musschenbroek; Jean-Antoine Nollet; Georg Bose; Johann Winkler; Francis Watkins; Leyden jar

Chapter.  12838 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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