Steam electricity.

Steam electricity.

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: During the 1840Õs, at Cramlington Colliery, Seghill(Sedgehill), Newcastle on Tyne, a workman found that when he acidentally put his hand in a high-pressure jet of steam escaping from a locomotive boiler, a spark was created between his other hand and a nearby metal conductor, giving him an electric shock. This "Seghill incident" was much publicised. Lord Armstrong wrote to Michael Faraday describing the phenomenon and both investigated "steam electricity". Armstrong went on to produce his Hydro-Electric machine, giving one to Faraday. An explanation of the phenomenon as Ôfrictional electrification of dropletsÕ came in 1969 with the renewal of interest in steam electricty following a series of explosions caused by the ignition of chemical vapours during the washing of ships tanks with steam jets

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Keywords: 1840õs, 1969, 19th century, armstrong, cramlington colliery, electric shock, escaped steam, explosions, faraday, frictional electrification, hydro-electric machine, sedgehill incident, seghill, seghill incident, steam electricity

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