Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Electrical instruments
(804 words)

The phenomena of electricity, such as powerful discharges or long sparks, were not part of everyday experience in the early modern period and were first generated in experimental practice. From the outset, therefore, electrical science was wholly dependent on instruments. Before 1700, electricity was generated by rubbing together many different kinds of solid body. This, however, did not at first provide “stable” experimental conditions.

The first to create those conditions, in London in the early 18th century, was the English scientist Francis Hauksbee, w…

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Hochadel, Oliver, “Electrical instruments”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 19 October 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_018674>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170626



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