Timeline of electricity adoption
This is a timeline of electricity adoption.
|Time period||Development summary||More details|
|1800–1880s||Scientific underpinnings of electricity and early electric lighting systems are developed|
|1880s–1914||Early stages of public electricity supply through electrification in cities||Wilkins et al.: "In short, by the eve of the First World War in 1914, foreign investors had spread electrification on a vast, global, but very uneven scale. Domestic and international investments had reached the point that some electrification was present in every large city in the world. This did not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that every household in these cities had electricity. […] by the summer of 1914 every large-city dweller around the world was familiar with electric lights at the very minimum and possibly also electric tramways. All parts of a city might not have access to electricity, but all large cities had at least the rudiments of electricity and often more.":123|
|1980s–1990s||Privatization and unbundling of the electricity sector take place in various countries|
|Year||Month and date||Event type||Details||Location|
|1800||Science||Alessandro Volta develops the first battery.|
|1802–1809||Science||Sometime during this period, Humphry Davy first demonstrates the arc lamp.|
|1816||Science||The first working electrical telegraph is built by Francis Ronalds.|
|1831||Science||Michael Faraday announces his discovery of electromagnetic induction.:3|
|1847||October 12||Commercial||The Siemens & Halske Telegraph Construction Company is founded.:75|
|1858||The first practical installation of an arc light system is done at the South Foreland Lighthouse.||United Kingdom|
|1876||Science||Pavel Yablochkov develops his eponymous candle, which provided a softer and longer-lasting light compared to the arc light.|
|1878||November 15||Commercial||The Edison Electric Light Company is incorporated in New York. The company provides "financial support for Edison's electric light experiments in return for control of the resulting patents".|
|1878||December 18||Science||Joseph Swan demonstrates that "a carbon filament in an evacuated glass globe would glow when an electric current was passed through it". This allows for electric lighting that is not excessively bright.:4|
|1879||Electrification begins in Mexico in the form of power for industrial activity for cotton mills and mining and refining.:112||Mexico|
|1879||June 28||Science||Walter Baily demonstrates an AC motor to the Physical Society of London.|
|1879||November 1||Science||Thomas Edison's carbon-filament incandescent lamp is patented.|
|1880||Science||Joseph Swan obtains a British patent for his incandescent light bulb.|
|1880||Commercial||The Brush Electric Company, which manufactures arc light systems, is established. The company is formed as a result of restructuring of the Telegraph Supply Company of Cleveland.|
|1880||December 17||Commercial||The Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York is organized.|
|1880||December 23||Commercial||The Edison Electric Light Company of Europe, Ltd. is incorporated to control Edison's electric light patents in Europe (except the United Kingdom).:77||United States (New York)|
|1880–1883||The first electric trams begin operating in Russia (1880), Germany (1881), Britain (1883), and Austria (1883).|
|1881–1888||Mexican Gas and Electric Light Co. Ltd. installs the first electric street lamp system in Mexico. However, it would not be until February 1894 that the lights begin shining.:112||Mexico (Mexico City)|
|1881||Commercial||The Swan Electric Light Company is founded.|
|1881||September||Generation||Godalming becomes the first town in the world with a public electricity supply. The central station here is water-powered.|
|1882||January 12||Generation||Holborn Viaduct power station begins running. It is steam-powered.:7||United Kingdom (London)|
|1882||March 15||Commercial||The Edison Electric Light Company, Ltd. is organized in London.||United Kingdom|
|1882||August 18||Legal||The Electric Lighting Act of 1882 is enacted. This act allows for the creation of a public electricity supply by breaking up (i.e. digging up and temporarily removing) streets in order to place pipes.:5 The act also provides a twenty-one-year limited tenure to private companies to supply electricity (after which the local government would be allowed to purchase the central station and distribution system).:60||United Kingdom|
|1882||September 2||Kimberley becomes the first city in the Southern Hemisphere and the second in the world after Philadelphia to adopt electric street lights into its infrastructure.||South Africa|
|1882||September 4||Generation||Pearl Street Station begins generating electricity.||United States (New York City)|
|1883||Commercial||The Thomson-Houston Electric Company is established.|
|1883||March 13||Commercial||The German Edison company, known as Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für angewandte Elektricität at the time, is founded by Emil Rathenau. The company would later be renamed to AEG.|
|1883||October||Commercial||The English Edison Company and Swan Electric Light Company merge to form the Edison and Swan United Electric Light Company, Ltd.:62|
|1884||Science||The modern steam turbine is invented by Charles Parsons. A production model would be installed in the Forth Banks power station in Newcastle in 1888.:13|
|1885||Science||The ZBD alternating current transformer is invented.|
|1886||January 8||Commercial||The Westinghouse Electric Corporation is founded as Westinghouse Electric Company.:91|
|1886||November 30||Generation||The first commercial alternating current central station in the United States begins operating.||United States (Buffalo, New York)|
|1888||June 28||Legal||The Electric Lighting Act of 1888 is enacted. This act amends the act from 1882 by extending the tenure for private companies from twenty-one to forty-two years.:64||United Kingdom|
|1889||Commercial||NESCo is founded by John Theodore Merz as Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Company.|
|1889||April 24||Commercial||The Edison General Electric Company is incorporated.||United States (New York)|
|1893||Appliance||The first electric bread toaster is invented by Alan MacMasters.||United Kingdom|
|1897||By this time, the United States has electrified almost 90% of its tramway mileage.:15||United States|
|1899||Legal||The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 passes in the United States. Part of the act requires a permit to dam navigable waters.||United States|
|1902||Appliance||The first modern electric air conditioning unit is invented.||United States|
|1904||Appliance||The first electric washing machines are created around this time.|
|1905||By this time, Britain has electrified almost 90% of its tramway mileage.:15||United Kingdom|
|1906||Appliance||The first patents for induction cooking date back to around this time. However, modern implementations would arrive only in the 1970s.|
|1907||Appliance||The first portable electric vacuum cleaner is invented.||United States|
|1910s–1920s||Appliance||The first electric dishwasher is produced around this time. Wikipedia shows a photo of one from "about 1917". Some other sources credit "the Walker brothers" in 1913. By the mid-1920s, there are companies dedicated to manufacturing electric dishwashers.|
|1914||Appliance||The first practical electric refrigerator is created around this time.|
|1918||Commercial||In the aftermath of World War I, German electricity companies in various regions of the world are seized or bought.:131–138|
|1920||June 10||Legal||The Federal Water Power Act is enacted. This act creates the Federal Power Commission.||United States|
|1933–1942||Generation||Grand Coulee Dam, with its first two powerhouses, is constructed. It is currently the sixth largest hydroelectric power station in the world (and largest in the United States) by installed capacity.||United States (Washington State)|
|1935||Legal||The Rural Electrification Administration is created as part of the New Deal.||United States|
|1936||May 20||Legal||The Rural Electrification Act is enacted.||United States|
|1946||Legal||Electricity production and distribution in France is nationalized.:315||France|
|1947||Appliance||The microwave oven becomes commercially available.|
|1948||April 1||Legal||In Britain, the Electricity Act 1947 nationalizes the electricity generation and supply industry. The act would be repealed in 1989 with the Electricity Act 1989.||United Kingdom|
|1963–1978||Generation||The Guri Dam is built. It is the fourth largest hydroelectric power station in the world by installed capacity.||Venezuela|
|1971–1984||Generation||The Itaipu Dam is constructed. It is the second largest hydroelectric dam in the world by installed capacity.||Brazil, Paraguay|
|1975–1984||Generation||The Tucuruí Dam is built. It is the fifth largest hydroelectric power station in the world by installed capacity.||Brazil|
|1978||October||Legal||Economy 7 is introduced in the United Kingdom.||United Kingdom|
|1980s–1990s||Legal||The electricity sector is reformed in several Latin American countries. These mainly take the form of privatizing the sector and unbundling generation, transmission and distribution. Reforms take place in at least Chile (1982), Argentina (1991–1992), Brazil (1990s), Uruguay (1997), and Bolivia (1994).|
|1989||Legal||In the United Kingdom, the Electricity Act 1989 allows large-scale privatization and unbundling the electricity sector.:264||United Kingdom|
|1992||Legal||The United Kingdom Department of Energy is abolished as part of an effort to privatize the energy industries.||United Kingdom|
|1994–2012||Generation||The Three Gorges Dam is constructed. It is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world by installed capacity.||China|
|2000||April||California electricity crisis|
|2005–2013||Generation||The Xiluodu Dam is constructed. It is the third largest hydroelectric power station by installed capacity.||China|
Meta information on the timeline
How the timeline was built
The original version of the timeline was written during May 12–24, 2017. At the end of May, the timeline was still in draft form. On June 8, some minor polish was applied so that the timeline was at a "first published version".
What the timeline is still missing
The US and UK have more events in the timeline so far. There are probably a lot more interesting events in Germany, France, Russia, Japan, etc.
Big picture also has holes in the periods where I wasn't able to read into as much.
Timeline update strategy
- Fill in missing stuff from above.
- Read around on Wikipedia to find more topics or clusters of topics (e.g. something like big dam buildings, except that's already in the timeline).
- Timeline of electrical and electronic engineering
- History of electromagnetic theory
- Timeline of electromagnetic theory
- History of electronic engineering
- History of electric power transmission
- General Electric timeline
- Timeline of the UK electricity supply industry
- Timeline of railway electrification in Norway
- Hausman, William J.; Hertner, Peter; Wilkins, Mira (2008). Global Electrification: Multinational Enterprise and International Finance in the History of Light and Power, 1878–2007. Cambridge University Press.
- Jeffrey La Favre (1998). "Brush's Arc Lamp". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- Hannah, Leslie (1979). Electricity Before Nationalisation: A Study of the Development of The Electricity Supply Industry in Britain to 1948. The Macmillan Press LTD.
- "Arc Lighting". Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Pavel Nikolayevich Yablochkov | Russian engineer and inventor". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Pavel Yablochkov - Let It Be Light!". Russia-InfoCentre. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
Yablochkov deals with electric illumination, and in 1876 he receives a patent for his electric candle.
- "Jablochkoff Candles in Paris". Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Edison's Companies". The Edison Papers. Rutgers University. October 28, 2016. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- "Edison's Incandescent Lamp". Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
- Jeffrey La Favre (1998). "Charles Francis Brush". Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Phil Ament (January 30, 2007). "Light Bulb History - Invention of the Light Bulb". Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Glen, W. Cunningham; Glen, Alex. "The Electric Lighting Act 1882".
- Thomas Parke Hughes (1983). Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society, 1880–1930. The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- "CITY OF FIRSTS". bdb.co.za. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
- Morris, Michael; Linnegar, John (2004). Every Step of the Way. Human Sciences Research Council. ISBN 0-7969-2061-3.
- Christie, Renfrew (1984). Electricity, Industry and Class in South Africa. London: The Macmillan Press Ltd. pp. 5–6.
- Conradie, S. R.; Messerschmidt, L. J. M. (2000). A Symphony of Power: The Eskom Story. Johannesburg: Chris van Rensburg Publications. p. 13.
- Edward J. Covington. "The Thomson-Houston Electric Incandescent Lamp, 1884-1893". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
The Thomson-Houston Company had been formed in 1883 to produce dynamos and arc lighting; it succeeded the American Electric Company, which had been formed in the year 1880.
- "Early Electrification of Buffalo". Engineering and Technology History Wiki. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
- "A Visit to a 1930s Appliance Show". Retrieved May 16, 2017.
In 1913 when the Walker Brothers hardware store was wired for electricity they produced thier first electric dishwasher.
- "Early Electric Dishwasher". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
- Beltran, Alain. "Competitiveness and Electricity: Electricité de France Since 1946" (PDF).