Electricity, more than 100 years ago

In the continued search in our library and looking for good old books and references. Still, it would be nice to refer to some publication from 1890 than 1980. Anyways, I found the book: “Practical Electricity, Part I”, by Terrell Croft. It is authored around 1910 and onwards. The edition I have in front of me is from 1917. It is interesting to read for many reasons.

This is a quite old book, soon 100 years old. And once again, I hope not to violate too many copyright laws. McGraw-Hill did publish this book, albeit a while ago. My copy used to belong to the N.E. POWER CO. I am not sure which company that actually was. North-East Power Corporation?

The author, Terrell Croft, was American, and spent the last half of his life in Mexico binding books. He seems to have been a productive author, producing titles within electricity, machinery, and more. One of his books is still sold at McGraw-Hill(!)

Metal umlaut

On page ix, the acknowledgments, you find the word coöperated. Perhaps the first case of Metal umlaut?

The illustrations

The illustrations are amazing. The sketches are so detailed and well-drawn, with people, arms, levers, hands, and everything needed to describe the basics of electricity. See for example page 4 in the book (link above) of “some of the more important effects of moving electrons”. More examples below.

Only 80 elements

Back then, in 1917, only 80 elements were found, but nevertheless, one still knew, thought, that there were only 92 natural elements (rest being man-made).

Only about 80 different kinds of atoms have been discovered but experimental evidence tends to indicate that there are just 92 different kinds of atoms — no more, no less.

See the picture below with the beautiful description of “Some familiar examples of matter”.



Still, in this book, they refer to the Aether as a transmission medium for light and magnetics. Since there has been a kind of revival for the Aether concept lately, I will simply not comment more on this. Read the description below!




It is kind of easy to look at this from our end now and come with comments about the level of development, etc. However, read the book and see for your self. These guys knew what they were doing! I bet that a modern engineer in electronics wouldn’t be able to formulate such a masterpiece of book. Actually, quite a lot in the book could be used as lecture material in my courses still today.

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