1748 – early electroscope

1748 – Jean-Antoine Nollet – Early electroscope

In 1748 Jean-Antoine Nollet built an early electroscope, an electrometer comprised of a suspended pith ball that moves in response to the electrostatic attraction and repulsion of a charged body.

It was a metal box with  isolated wire hung down and a piece of metal foil hanging down.  With a special lense  they amount of movement of the foil could be measured.


Experiment – Early electroscope

600 BC – Attraction of static electricity

600 BC – Attraction of static electricity – Thales of Miletos

(624 BC -546 BC)

Thales also observed that after rubbing amber with certain items it attracts small objects.

Amber is fossilized tree resin. It is hard transparent yellowish (amber) colored substance that was used for jewelery and buttons. We can reproduce Thales observations with other objects too.

The word electricity came from the latin word electrious which means to “produce from amber by friction”. Electrious has is root in the greek word for amberηλεκτρονelectron)ew,monospace;”>


Experiment – attraction of small objects I

600 BC -Early magnetism

Thales of Miletos (624 BC -546 BC)

Thales of Miletos was greek philosopher, mathematician and natural scientist in the 6th century BC. He observed that loadstones attracted iron.

A loadstone is a naturally occurring magnet. It is a form of iron ore that keeps it’s magnetic properties, perhaps after being struck by lighting. If iron is struck by lighting it will become magnetic for a short time. We can simulate Thales observations.

Experiment – what is attracted to a magnet:


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