Chapter

. Power to the People

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238022.003.0005
. Power to the People

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This chapter reports that the collectors and hobbyists acquired electrical technology for display and use at home. Electrical technology became a diversified consumer product and underwent significant design changes. Like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson was a passionate collector of books, and he bought thousands of them, which eventually brought him to the brink of bankruptcy. Collectors had profound influence on the design of scientific instruments, including electrical ones. The electric Oracle was just one of several amusements having occult overtones. Percy Bysshe Shelley's interest in electricity and in the purchase of electrical things was far from unique. The crafting of Frankenstein reflected Mary Shelley's familiarity with electrical technology, which stemmed mainly from conversations with her husband. Yet the idea that dead people, even body parts, could be reanimated by electricity was the product of neither's fertile imagination.

Keywords: collectors; hobbyists; electrical technology; Benjamin Franklin; Thomas Jefferson; Percy Bysshe Shelley; Frankenstein; electricity

Chapter.  6374 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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