The following timeline tables list the discoveries and inventions in the history of electricity:

Early Years

600 BCE: Thales of Miletus discovered static electricity.

1600 CE: William Gilbert was the first person to use the word “electricity.” He believed electricity was caused by a moving fluid called humor.

18th century

1733: Charles du Fay found that there were two different kinds of static electric charge.

1752: Benjamin Franklin carried out further experiments and named the two kinds of electric charge “positive” and “negative.”

1785: Charles Augustin de Coulomb explored the mysteries of electric fields: the electrically active areas around electric charges.

19th century

1800: One of Galvani’s friends, Alessandro Volta, realized “animal electricity” was made by the metals Galvani had used. 

1827: Georg Ohm found some materials carry electricity better than others and developed the idea of resistance.

1820: Hans Christian Oersted put a compass near an electric cable and discovered that electricity can make magnetism.

1821: Andre-Marie Ampère put two electric cables near to one another, wired them up to a power source, and watched them push one another apart. This showed electricity and magnetism can work together to make a force.

1821Michael Faraday developed the first, primitive electric motor.

The 1830s: Joseph Henry and William Sturgeon independently made the first practical electromagnets and electric motors.

1831: Michael Faraday invented the electric generator.

1840James Prescott proved that electricity is a kind of energy.

The 1870s: Zénobe Gramme made the first large-scale electric generators.

1873James Clerk Maxwell set out a detailed theory of electromagnetism.

1881: The world’s first experimental electric power plant opened in Godalming, England.

1882Thomas Edison built the first large-scale electric power plants in the USA.

The 1890s: Edison’s former employee, Nikola Tesla, promoted alternating current electricity, a rival to Edison’s direct current system. 

20th century

1951: The First nuclear power plant in the US was constructed.

1953: The First computer in the US was invented.

1963: Electronic calculator was invented 

21st century

2007: Company Apple Inc. released the iPhone.