Interesting Facts about Electricity


  • The first windmills were developed in Persia in about 600 B.C.
  • About 200 years ago, Alessandro Volta discovered that when two strips of different metals were put in a sulphuric acid solution and connected with a wire, electricity began to flow. Voila! The first electric battery was developed! Think of him the next time you pick up your battery-operated CD player or Game Boy.
  • In 1879, just over 100 years ago, Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb. (Thomas Edison didn’t invent the first light bulb – but he did invent one that stayed lit for more than a few seconds.
    Think of the incredible changes it has brought to our current world!
  • The first windmill to produce electricity was in Denmark in 1890.
  • In the past, frightened sailors voyaging at night saw ghostly phantoms of bluish light dancing on the masts of ships. Called Saint Elmo’s fire, the light is actually a form of static electricity.
  • In 1986, an accident at Chernobyl, USSR, sent radioactive material into the atmosphere and raised concerns about the production and storage of radioactive waste.

What is a kilowatt hour?
When we buy petrol, we’re charged per litre. When we buy electricity, we’re charged by the kilowatt hour (kWh). Using 1 000 watts for one hour is a kWh. A watt is the rate of electrical use at any moment – a laptop uses 50 watts, for example. A watt hour is therefore the total energy used over time.

Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) emit the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but use four times less power and have a longer lifespan. Changing one 60W bulb (R3,66) to a 13W CFL (R13,99) could save you R67 a year.

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