POWER magazine was launched in 1882, just as the world was beginning to grasp the implications of a new, versatile form of energy: electricity. During its 140-year history, the magazine’s pages have reflected the fast-changing evolution of the technologies and markets that characterize the world’s power sector. These are some of the events that have shaped both the history of power and the history of POWER.
The history of power generation is long and convoluted, marked by myriad technological milestones, conceptual and technical, from hundreds of contributors. Many accounts begin power’s story at the demonstration of electric conduction by Englishman Stephen Gray, which led to the 1740 invention of glass friction generators in Leyden, Germany. That development is said to have inspired Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiments, as well as the invention of the battery by Italy’s Alessandro Volta in 1800, Humphry Davy’s first effective “arc lamp” in 1808, and in 1820, Hans Christian Oersted’s demonstration of the relationship between electricity and magnetism. In 1820, in arguably the most pivotal contribution to modern power systems, Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry invented a primitive electric motor, and in 1831, documented that an electric current can be produced in a wire moving near a magnet—demonstrating the principle of the generator.