More on contemporary understanding of electricity

More on contemporary understanding of electricity:
The understanding and use of electricity had passed through a number of phases by the time Mary Shelley came to write Frankenstein:

  • The ancient Greeks had some knowledge of how materials might be rubbed together to create a magnetic reaction.
  • In about 1600, Dr William Godwin conducted further experiments on magnetism and coined the term ‘electricity'.
  • In 1752, Benjamin Franklin fastened an iron spike to a silken kite, which he flew during a thunderstorm, with an iron key at the end of the kite string. When lightning flashed, a spark or shock was transmitted from the key to his wrist.
  • In 1786, Alessandro Galvani induced movements in the legs of a dead frog by touching it with a metal knife, and assumed that the muscles must contain electricity.
  • Luigi Volta, however, showed that the movement was caused by the reaction of the metal knife and the tin plate on which the frog was lying. This led to the understanding of electricity as a flow of current as well as a flash of power. Volta also built the first electric battery.
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