Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary

By Joe Burgett
Michael Faraday’s Electric Life Was Legendary

Michael Faraday is one of the single greatest scientists/inventors to ever live. What he was able to do for mankind through his discoveries, inventions, and how he applied them is the stuff of legend. Yet Faraday, nor his family or friends could have predicted everything that would happen.

Faraday grew up in a relatively poor family, making him deal with his poor income throughout most of his early life. He grew up as the third of four children, making him a middle child who certainly was affected by where he placed in line. In fact, Faraday has the most basic formal education of all his siblings.

He had to educate himself after an incident in school. His teacher was horrible to him, and his mother took notice, removing him from that environment. By the age of 14, he landed an internship as a Book Binder with George Riebau, a bookseller on Blandford Street in London, England.

While not the most reputable job, Faraday knew how to read. By day he might make the books, but by the night he would read them all. This ability to educate himself by reading books on pretty much everything under the sun would pay off for Faraday in a massive way.

His interest in books led him to read Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet. This book would change young Faraday’s life, making him have a massive interest in science.


Davy, Humphry - Chemist
[Image via Biography.com]

Faraday’s Gesture That Made All The Difference

A curious young man, Faraday was always invested in science and especially electricity. One day, an incredibly popular scientist at the time named Humphry Davy was doing a big lecture in England. Michael had to go, he just had to! Not only was Davy already a respected scientist who made several major discoveries by this point, but he also worked with electricity.

By 1812, Michael Faraday was 20 years old and his apprenticeship had ended. Why should he not attend such an important lecture? It just so happened that the poorer incomed Faraday was given free tickets to attend by William Dance, one of the founders of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

As Faraday watched the lecture, he took notes the entire time. When we say notes, we mean he quite literally wrote down everything Davy possibly could have said. He even remembered portions of it and wrote down more as the lecture ended. As a result, he wrote enough to make a 300-page book. This led Faraday to bind the book and send it to Davy as a present. Davy responded in kind to this and quite favorably.