Modern Views of Electricity

| January 21, 2021

By Oliver J. Lodge, D.Sc., LL.D., F.R.S.

When Oliver Lodge started working with electricity, he was following in the footsteps of Heinrich Hertz who had produced and detected electric waves. He identified electromagnetic radiation independent of Hertz’s proof and, at his 1894 Royal Institution lectures, Lodge demonstrated an early radio wave detector he named the “coherer”. This great British physicist and writer was involved in the development of, and holder of key patents for, radio. In 1925 he also became the President of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB).

This 1889 book originally published by MacMillan was authored when the understanding of electricity was still evolving and had not yet begun to be explained in the terms that are well established today. Republished today by the RSGB it provides a unique insight into the world of electricity as it was seen in the Victorian age. Broken into four sections and fifteen chapters you will find Lodge’s 19th century views of Electrostatics, Conduction, Magnetism and Radiation. There is discussion of how they were producing currents, thoughts on the conduction of gases, the structure of magnetic fields, the relation of magnetism to electricity and even the relation of ether to electricity and the constants of the ether. Lodge goes further still describing electrical radiation as light and considers the electro-magnetic and electrostatic effects on it. Illustrated throughout you will find reproductions of Leyden jars, coils and the like alongside diagrams of how to generate electricity.

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Corrections and updates

The Appendix from the book that is not included in the printed version can be found by clicking here

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