Who Discovered Electricity

Do you rely on electricity as much as you do on food and water? Imagine a life without electricity, where your favorite video games, television shows, telephones, and even the lights you read by at night were no longer powered. It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? But don’t worry, electricity exists, and it allows us to enjoy life in countless ways.

Benjamin Franklin’s Discovery

When it comes to the discovery of electricity, most people credit Benjamin Franklin. Franklin had one of the greatest scientific minds of his time and made significant contributions to various fields. In the mid-1700s, he became interested in electricity.

At that time, scientists were mainly familiar with and experimenting with static electricity. Franklin took a leap forward by suggesting that electricity had positive and negative elements, and that it flowed between these elements. He also theorized that lightning was a form of this flowing electricity.

In 1752, Franklin conducted his famous kite experiment during a thunderstorm. By attaching a metal key to the kite string as a conductor, he successfully demonstrated that lightning was indeed electricity. This experiment not only proved his idea but also paved the way for further scientific exploration of electricity.

Benjamin Franklin's Kite Experiment

Building upon Franklin’s work, many other scientists delved deeper into the study of electricity and expanded our understanding of its workings. For instance, in 1879, Thomas Edison patented the electric light bulb, forever brightening our world.

Earlier Pioneers

Although Benjamin Franklin is widely recognized for his contributions to the understanding of electricity, he may not have been the first person to discover it. English scientist William Gilbert laid the foundation for the study of electricity and magnetism in the early 17th century. Inspired by Gilbert’s work, Sir Thomas Browne, another Englishman, made further investigations and wrote extensively on the subject. Gilbert and Browne are credited with being the first to use the term “electricity” in a scientific context.

Furthermore, evidence suggests that ancient civilizations may have experimented with electricity. In 1936, archaeologists discovered a clay pot hinting at the early invention of batteries more than 2,000 years ago. This clay pot contained copper plates, tin alloy, and an iron rod, which could have generated an electric current by filling it with an acidic solution like vinegar. Although its purpose remains uncertain, this discovery sheds light on the possibility that people were exploring electricity long before Benjamin Franklin.


Q: Was Benjamin Franklin the first person to discover electricity?

A: While Benjamin Franklin is well-known for his contributions to understanding electricity, earlier scientists like William Gilbert and Sir Thomas Browne laid the groundwork for the study of electricity and used the term “electricity” before Franklin.

Q: Did ancient civilizations experiment with electricity?

A: Archaeological findings suggest that ancient civilizations may have experimented with electricity. A clay pot discovered in 1936 contained copper plates, tin alloy, and an iron rod, potentially creating an electric current when filled with an acidic solution.


Electricity, a natural force that exists in our world, was not invented but discovered and understood. Benjamin Franklin’s groundbreaking experiments and theories propelled the understanding of electricity forward. However, earlier pioneers like William Gilbert and Sir Thomas Browne made significant contributions to the study of electricity. As we continue to advance technologically, it is important to recognize the collective efforts of those who unlocked the mysteries of electricity.

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