1600 – Versorium Electroscope

1600 – Versorium Electroscope – William Gilbert

In 1600 William Gilbert, the queen physician, published a book called De Magnete (Latin for “On the Magnet”) . It became the standard for magnetism and electricity. He developed a tool to detect electric charges (electroscope), which he called a versorium. It consisted of a needle on a pivot. He was also to use the term, in Latin, for electric force. He was also the first to realize that the earth was a giant magnet.

Experiment – Versorium

1748 – early electroscope

1748 – Jean-Antoine Nollet – Early electroscope

In 1748 Jean-Antoine Nollet built an early electroscope, an electrometer comprised of a suspended pith ball that moves in response to the electrostatic attraction and repulsion of a charged body.

It was a metal box with  isolated wire hung down and a piece of metal foil hanging down.  With a special lense  they amount of movement of the foil could be measured.


Experiment – Early electroscope

1742 – Electrostatic Bells

1742 – Electrostatic Bells – Andrew Gordon

About 1742 Andrew Gordon, a Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University at Erfurt in Germany, invented the Electrostatic Bells. It was the first invention to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Benjamin Franklin later used this invention to detect lighting storms and they became more commonly known as “Franklin Bells”.

Experiment – Electrostatic Bells