Neolithic — Bronze Age: Amber traded across long networks of people. People notice that amber has the power to attract small bits of material when rubbed

Bronze Age — Humans develop the technologies of metallurgy and glass making

1600 — William Gilbert publishes De Magnetica, which has a chapter on Electrics

Early 1700s — Various scientists, including Charles François du Cisternay du Fay in Paris and Stephen Gray in London, experiment with static electricity. Discoveries of this period include the idea that some materials (metals) conduct electricity and other materials (like glass) insulate.

1745 — Pieter van Musschenbroek and Eward Georg von Kleist independently discover the Leyden Jar

1751 — Benjamin Franklin’s electrical studies (insert title) published, in which he posits that electricity is a single fluid which can be either positive or negative. Suggests that lightning is a form of electricity which could be captured in a Leyden Jar, which is then proved experimentally in France.

1777 — Charles-Augustin de Coulomb invents the Torsion Balance, which enables him to measure the strength of an electric charge. 

1770s-80s — Luigi Galvani conducts electrical experiments with frog’s legs. Others begin experimenting with Galvanic electricity.

1800 — Alessandro Volta invents the Voltaic Pile, the world’s first chemical battery. 

1800s — Other scientists begin using the Voltaic Pile to separate compound substances into elements. This process of chemical decomposition is also referred to as electrolysis. Humphry Davy uses a very large voltaic pile to isolate: sodium, potassium, etc

1820 — Hans Christian Ørsted discovers Electromagnetism: that an electric circuit causes the needle of a magnetic compass to move.

1820s — Ampère discovers that a helix (or coil of wire) amplifies the intensity of the electromagnetic effect. In order to account for the effects of terrestrial magnetism, he devises the Galvanometer, an instrument which indicates the presence of an electromagnetic current. 

1821 — Michael Faraday demonstrates that magnetism can cause an electrified wire to move.

1831 — Faraday discovers Induction; he demonstrates that an electric current can be induced in an adjacent, secondary circuit. Creates the first electric transformer and the first dynamo (electric motor).

1832-34 — Faraday’s experiments with electrochemistry. Proves that all forms of electricity — no matter how they are generated (static, galvanic, etc) — are the same. Continues to refine his ideas on lines of electromagnetic force.  

1836 — Faraday creates a variable Leyden Jar to test his theories on capacitance. He determines that different materials (such as glass, sulfur, shellac, etc) have different specific inductive capacities. Describes induction as being the fundamental operation of electricity. 

1845 — Using a piece of borosilicate glass and a horseshoe magnet, Faraday polarizes light, proving that light is an electromagnetic phenomenon.

1855 — James Clerk Maxwell writes paper On Faraday’s Lines of Force, in which he posits mathematical proofs for Faraday’s electromagnetic theories. 

186? — Maxwell conjectures that electromagnetism operates as a wave. 

1888 — Heinrich Hertz experimentally demonstrates with a Leyden Jar and an inductive coil that electromagnetic waves can be transmitted and received. Hertz’s work is a precursor to the development of radio technology.