In 1820, the Danish scientist Hans Christian Orsted was conducting an experiment with an electrical circuit.
He noticed that when he turned the circuit on and off, a nearby compass needle jumped.
He concluded that electricity produces magnetism, and the science of electromagnetism was born.
The finding was interesting, but one English scientist realized it would be much more helpful to know if magnetism could be made to produce electricity.
The Industrial Revolution was in full swing and England needed new sources of power to run its new machines.
In the decade after Orsted’s discovery, other scientists tried without success to produce electricity from magnetism.
In 1831, a self taught research assistant named Michael Faraday at England’s Royal Institution found the solution after just 10 days of experimentation.
Faraday used the principle of electromagnetic induction to construct the electric dynamo, the ancestor of modern power generators.