11 People Who Revolutionized the Engineering of Electric Power

We would not have the luxury of electricity if it weren’t for these people.


These are the real electric power superheroes. All of our technologies today would not be working if it wasn’t for the development of electricity. The devices and machines that we have now are products of an evolving study of electrical engineering, which originates way before the first industrial revolution started. No single person is responsible for the flourish of electrical applications.  Instead, they were worked on by many scientists and engineers, some of which are the following:


Thomas Davenport

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

Because of his curiosity with electromagnets that grew after seeing one at an ironworks in Crown Point, New York, Thomas Davenport went on to become an American inventor who produced the first commercially successful electric motor in 1834. He developed the motor consisting of a wheel, operated by battery power. A year later after the development of his device, he used the electric motor to proper a small car around a circular track, which is considered to be the first recorded event of an electric railway. Certified electric power superhero!


Benjamin Franklin

Source: America’s Library
Source: America’s Library 

Other than being a publisher, author and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin is famous for his idea linking electricity and lightning. He observed that both created light, made loud crashes when they exploded, were attracted to metal, and had a particular smell, among other. He proved his theory by flying a kite in a thunderstorm.  Later on, Franklin was able to create a lightning rod and distinguish insulators from conductors. He was also responsible for the terms charge, discharge, condense, armature, electrify, and others, and proved the law of conservation of charge. Certified electric power superhero!


Michael Faraday

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

Michael Faraday had his significant share in the field of electrical engineering. He built two devices to produce electromagnetic rotation, which is a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire. In 1831, he discovered the electromagnetic induction using his induction ring. The experiments he did are now the basis of modern electromagnetic technology. In his further experiments, he found the magneto-electric induction. Ultimately, his discoveries were the founding ideas to the modern electric motor, generator and transformer. Certified electric power superhero!


Alessandro Volta

Source: Wikimedia  
Source: Wikimedia

Alessandro Volta is supposed to be a priest as his parents would like him to be, but his undying interest in electricity has taken over. In 1800, he announced a new electrical device called the Voltaic Pile, which was previously an “artificial electric organ”, made of alternating disks of zinc and copper with each pair separated by brine soaked cloth. This was to prove that Luigi Galvani’s frog leg experiment which produced electricity can be done minus the frog. This was the first direct current battery, which also put an end to Galvani’s theory of animal electricity. This gained him the right to be named with the unit of electromotive force now known as volt. Certified electric power superhero!


André-Marie Ampère

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Source: Catawiki
Source: Catawiki

It was André-Marie Ampère who made the revolutionary discovery that a wire carrying electric current can attract or repel another wire. He was one of the founder of the science of classical electromagnetism, now referred to as electrodynamics. Although he was not the pioneering inventor of the electricity-magnetism connection, he was able to theoretically explain and mathematically describe the phenomenon. His last name is now a familiar unit of measurement denoting electric current. Certified electric power superhero!


Georg Ohm

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

The Ohm’s Law wouldn’t be Ohm’s law if it weren’t for this German physicist and mathematician named Georg Ohm. He has proved that the current flow through a conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference (voltage) and inversely proportional to the resistance, which is now the foundation of electrical circuit analysis. Certified electric power superhero!


Charles-Augustin Coulomb

Source: Today in Sci
Source: Today in Sci

Charles-Augustin Coulomb was an eminent French physicist who pioneered in the field of electricity, magnetism and applied mechanics. He determined the quantitative force law, gave the notion of electric mass, and studied charge leakage and the surface distribution of charge on conducting bodies. Today, his last name is known to be an  SI unit of quantity of electric charge. Certified electric power superhero!


Nikola Tesla

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

Considered to be the father of electricity, Nikola Tesla was a prolific inventor. His patents and theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current electric power (AC) systems, including the polyphase power distribution systems and the AC motor. In the 1890s, Tesla invented electric oscillators, meters, improved lights and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil, with experiments on X-rays and radio communication. All these achievements in electrical engineering – over 700 patents – weren’t highlighted in his time because he was considered a madman. He has worked with Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. Certified electric power superhero!


Gustav Kirchhoff

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Wikimedia

German physicist Gustav Kirchhoff is considered the first scientist to show that electric current flows at the speed of light through a conductor. He made major contributions to the fields of thermochemistry and electrochemistry, which helped increase the fundamental understanding of black-body radiation, electrical circuits, and spectroscopy. The laws named after him have become the foundation of physicists to solve complex physics problems. Certified electric power superhero!


Léon Charles Thévenin

Source: Steling
Source: Steling

It was Léon Charles Thévenin, a French telegraph engineer, who extended Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s circuit laws to the analysis of complex electrical circuits, and further developed his own theorem. The Thévenin’s theorem has allowed the reduction of complex circuits into simpler circuits called Thévenin’s equivalent circuits. Certified electric power superhero!


Frank Sprague

Source: Tumblr
Source: Tumblr

Considered the Father of Electric Traction during his time, Frank Sprague is hailed with achievements in electricity, including the development of the electric railway, early electric elevators and the commercial electric motor. He worked with Thomas Edison’s company, where he developed an electric motor that could be adapted for use with industrial machinery. He was also able to aid in the installation of Edison’s groundbreaking three-wire electrical light systems, and in the refinement of the power distribution system. Sprague was also the key person to introduce mathematical formulas instead of trial and error in Edison’s firm. Certified electric power superhero!

Engr. Amy Aguirre
Mechanical Engineer, fashion model & GineersNow TV host. Speaks Spanish, English and Portuguese fluently. Based in Melbourne and Manila. Follow me on Linkedin

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11 People Who Revolutionized the Engineering of Electric Power

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