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Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (ed. Benson Lossing), Electricity in the nineteenth century. (search)
ts of electro-magnetism, upon which much of the later electrical developments depend, remained entirely unknown until the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Davy first showed the electric arc or arch on a small scale between pieces of carbon. He also laid the foundation for future electrochemical work by decomposing by thei metals, potassium and sodium, for the first time. A fund was soon subscribed by a few zealous cultivators and patrons of science, interested in the discovery of Davy, and he had at his service no less than 2,000 cells of voltaic battery. With the intense currents obtained from it he again demonstrated the wonderful and brilliaacquired any importance as a practical illuminant; the expense was too great, and the batteries soon became exhausted. Michael Faraday, a most worthy successor of Davy, made the exceedingly important observation that a wire, if moved in the field of a magnet, would yield a current of electricity. Simple as the discovery was, its