The Holy Amber: Early Days of Electricity, Part 1

Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The "invisible fire" steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the various electrical experiments, stunts, inventions, performances, innovations, occultisms and atrocities that transformed the tractable thunder.

The Holy Amber: Early Days of Electricity, Part 1

Image Caption: Depiction of Early 18th Century Electrical Experiments.(© Leonard de Selva/Corbis)

Related Content:

The Tractable Thunder: Early Days of Electricity, Part 2 (podcast)

How Electricity Works (HowStuffWorks)

Monster of the Week: Blanka the Street Fighter

Retrofuturist Flashback: Electric Spaceship, 1775

Retrofuturist Flashback: Future Cops, 1886

Retrofuturist Flashback: 19th Century Television

Stuff to Blow Your Kid's Mind: Static Electricity (video)

Outside Content:

"Sparks in the dark: the attraction of electricity in the eighteenth century" by Paola Bertucci

"Therapeutic Attractions: Early Applications of Electricity to the Art of Healing" by Paola Bertucci

"Revealing Sparks: John Wesley and the religious utility of electrical healing" by Paola Bertucci

"Life and Death by Electricity in 1890: The Transfiguration of William Kemmler" by Nicholas Ruddick

Topics in this Podcast: history, electricity