By W.A. Atherton
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Additional info for From Compass to Computer: A History of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
In 1890 electricity was used for the first time in a judicial execution when William Kemmler became the first victim of the electric chair. 18 FROM COMPASS TO COMPUTER The study of electricity moved from purely qualitative to at least partly quantitative with the work of Charles Coulomb, who succeeded in clarifying many of the ideas about electrostatics that had been expressed rather vaguely until then. With the aid of a sensitive torsion balance of his own design, he carried out experiments in 1785 that led him to announce that the inversesquare law applied to the force between two electrically charged bodies and to that between two magnetized bodies.
5 in. in diameter, bent it into the shape ofa horseshoe, and insulated it with varnish. With sixteen turns of bare copper wire wrapped around so as to form a loose coil, with adjacent turns not touching, this first electromagnet lifted a mass of 91b. 50) in cash (Fig . 4). However, the man who did most to improve the electromagnet was Joseph Henry in America. 4 William Sturgeon's horseshoe electromagnet . The cups contained mercury for making electrical contacts restricted to vacations. Late in 1827 he demonstrated an improvement of Sturgeon's magnet and declared his interest in investigating large-scale equipment using small currents, "the least expense of galvanism" as he put it, possibly an economy measure brought about by his shortage of money," The next summer he was able to demonstrate two significant steps.
No theory of magnetism, however, whatever its weakness or strength, could begin to approach the truth as we know it while magnet ism and electricity were regarded as separate, even if similar, phenomena. When the discovery of the united phenomenon of electromagnetism was announced by Oersted in 1820 a whole new world was opened for scientific exploration and the ground rules of our electrical science and engineering were made. This chapter is mostly concerned with the I820s, a golden period that was the dawn of a new era of electrical science and that saw the first glimpse of electrical engineering.
From Compass to Computer: A History of Electrical and Electronics Engineering by W.A. Atherton