Timeline of Electronics

Benjamin Franklin Experiments With Kite
Benjamin Franklin Experiments With Kite & Lightening. LOC

600 B.C.

Thales of Miletus writes about amber becoming charged by rubbing - he was describing what we now call static electricity.

1600

English scientist, William Gilbert first coined the term "electricity" from the Greek word for amber. Gilbert wrote about the electrification of many substances in his "De magnete, magneticisique corporibus". He also first used the terms electric force, magnetic pole, and electric attraction.

1660

Otto von Guericke invented a machine that produced static electricity.

1675

Robert Boyle discovered that electric force could be transmitted through a vacuum and observed attraction and repulsion.

1729

Stephen Gray's discovery of the conduction of electricity.

1733

Charles Francois du Fay discovered that electricity comes in two forms which he called resinous(-)and vitreous(+).
Benjamin Franklin and Ebenezer Kinnersley later renamed the two forms as positive and negative.

1745

Georg Von Kleist discovered that electricity was controllable. Dutch physicist, Pieter van Musschenbroek invented the "Leyden Jar" the first electrical capacitor. Leyden jars store static electricity.

1747

Benjamin Franklin experiments with static charges in the air and theorized about the existence of an electrical fluid that could be composed of particles. William Watson discharged a Leyden jar through a circuit, that began the comprehension of current and circuit. Henry Cavendish started measuring the conductivity of different materials.

1752

Benjamin Franklin invented the lightening rod - he demonstrated lightning was electricity.

1767

Joseph Priestley discovered that electricity followed Newton's inverse-square law of gravity.

1786

Italian physician, Luigi Galvani demonstrated what we now understand to be the electrical basis of nerve impulses when he made frog muscles twitch by jolting them with a spark from an electrostatic machine.

1800

First electric battery invented by Alessandro Volta.
Volta proved that electricity could travel over wires.

1816

First energy utility in US founded.

1820

Relationship of electricity and magnetism confirmed by Hans Christian Oersted who observed that electrical currents effected the needle on a compass and Marie Ampere, who discovered that a coil of wires acted like a magnet when a current is passed thorough it.

D.

F. Arago invented the electromagnet.

1821

First electric motor invented by Michael Faraday.

1826

Ohms Law written by Georg Simon Ohm states that "conduction law that relates potential, current, and circuit resistance"

1827

Joseph Henry's electromagnetic experiments lead to the concept of electrical inductance. Joseph Henry built one of the first electrical motors.

1831

Principles of electromagnetism induction, generation and transmission discovered by Michael Faraday.

1837

First industrial electric motors.

1839

First fuel cell invented by Sir William Robert Grove, a Welsh judge, inventor and physicist.

1841

J. P. Joule's law of electrical heating published.

1873

James Clerk Maxwell wrote equations that described the electromagnetic field, and predicted the existence of electromagnetic waves traveling with the speed of light.

1878

Edison Electric Light Co. (US) and American Electric and Illuminating (Canada) founded.

1879

First commercial power station opens in San Francisco, uses Charles Brush generator and arc lights. First commercial arc lighting system installed, Cleveland, Ohio.

Thomas Edison demonstrates his incandescent lamp, Menlo Park, New Jersey.

1880

First power system isolated from Edison.

In Grand Rapids Michigan: Charles Brush arc light dynamo driven by water turbine used to provide theater and storefront illumination.

1881

Niagra Falls, New York; Charles Brush dynamo, connected to turbine in Quigley's flour mill lights city street lamps.

1882

Edison Company opens Pearl Street power station.

The first hydroelectric power station opens in Wisconsin.

1883

The electric transformer is invented. Thomas Edison introduces the "three-wire" transmission system.

1884

Steam turbine invented by Charles Parsons.

1886

William Stanley develops transformer and Alternating Current electric system. Frank Sprague builds first American transformer and demonstrates use of step up and step down transformers for long distance AC power transmission in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The Westinghouse Electric Company is organized. 40 to 50 water powered electric plants reported on line or under construction in the U.S. and Canada.

1887

In San Bernadino, California, the High Grove Station, first hydroelectric plant in the West is opened.

1888

Rotating field AC alternator invented by Nikola Tesla.

1889

Oregon City Oregon, Willamette Falls station, first AC hydroelectric plant.

Single phase power transmitted 13 miles to Portland at 4,000 volts, stepped down to 50 volts for distribution.

1891

60 cycle AC system introduced in U.S.

1892

General Electric Company formed by the merger of Thomson-Houston and Edison General Electric.

1893

Westinghouse demonstrates "universal system" of generation and distribution at Chicago exposition.

In Austin, Texas, the first dam designed specifically for hydroelectric power built across Colorado River is completed.

1897

Electron discovered by J. J. Thomson.

Continue > 1900

<< Pre 1900

1900

Highest voltage transmission line 60 Kilovolt.

1902

5-Megawatt turbine for Fisk St. Station (Chicago).

1903

First successful gas turbine (France). World’s first all turbine station (Chicago). Shawinigan Water & Power installs world’s largest generator (5,000 Watts) and world’s largest and highest voltage line—136 Km and 50 Kilovolts (to Montreal). Electric vacuum cleaner. Electric washing machine.

1904

John Ambrose Fleming invented the diode rectifier vacuum tube.

1905

in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan the first low head hydro plant with direct connected vertical shaft turbines and generators is opened.

1906

In Ilchester, Maryland, a fully submerged hydroelectric plant is built inside Ambursen Dam.

1907

Lee De Forest invented the electric amplifier.

1909

The first pumped storage plant is opened in Switzerland.

1910

Ernest R. Rutherford measured the distribution of an electric charge within the atom.

1911

Willis Haviland Carrier disclosed his basic Rational Psychrometric Formulae to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The formula still stands today as the basis in all fundamental calculations for the air conditioning industry.

R. D. Johnson invents the differential surge tank and Johnson invents hydrostatic penstock valve.

1913

Electric refrigerator is invented. Robert Millikan measured the electric charge on a single electron.

1917

Hydracone draft tube patented by W. M. White.

1920

First U.S. station to only burn pulverized coal is opened.

Federal Power Commission (FPC) is established.

1922

Connecticut Valley Power Exchange (CONVEX) starts, pioneering interconnection between utilities.

1928

Construction of Boulder Dam begins.

Federal Trade Commission begins investigation of holding companies.

1933

Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) established.

1935

The Public Utility Holding Company Act is passed. The Federal Power Act is passed. The Securities and Exchange Commission is established. The Bonneville Power Administration is established.

The first night baseball game in major leagues is played made possible by electric lighting.

1936

Highest steam temperature reaches 900 degrees Fahrenheit vs. 600 degrees Fahrenheit in early 1920s.

287 Kilovolt line runs 266 miles to Boulder (Hoover) Dam.

The Rural Electrification Act is passed.

1947

The transistor is invented .

1953

The first 345 Kilovolt transmission line is laid.

The first nuclear power station ordered.

1954

The first high voltage direct current (HVDC) line (20 megawatts/1900 Kilovolts, 96 Km).

The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 allows private ownership of nuclear reactors.

1963

The Clean Air Act is passed.

1965

The Northeast Blackout occurs.

1968

The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) is formed.

1969

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 is passed.

1970

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is formed. The Water and Environmental Quality Act is passed. The Clean Air Act of 1970 is passed.

1972

The Clean Water Act of 1972 is passed.

1975

Brown’s Ferry nuclear accident occurs.

1977

The New York City blackout occurs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is formed.

1978

The Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) is passed, and ends utility monopoly over generation.

The Power Plant and Industrial Fuel Use Act limits the use of natural gas in electric generation (repealed 1987).

1979

The Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurs.

1980

The first U.S. windfarm is opened.

The Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act establishes regional regulation and planning.

1981

PURPA ruled unconstitutional by Federal judge.

1982

U.S. Supreme Court upholds legality of PURPA in FERC v. Mississippi (456 US 742).

1984

Annapolis, N.S., tidal power plant—first of its kind in North America (Canada) opened.

1985

Citizens Power, first power marketer, goes into business.

1986

Chernobyl nuclear accident (USSR) occurs.

1990

Clean Air Act amendments mandate additional pollution controls.

1992

The National Energy Policy Act is passed.

1997

ISO New England begins operation (first ISO). New England Electric sells power plants (first major plant divestiture).

1998

California opens market and ISO. Scottish Power (UK) to buy Pacificorp, first foreign takeover of US utility. National (UK) Grid then announces purchase of New England Electric System.

1999

Electricity marketed on Internet.

FERC issues Order 2000, promoting regional transmission