DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID PARKER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In 1768, Jesse Ramsden constructed a widely used version of a plate electrostatic generator. An electrostatic generator, or electrostatic machine, is an electromechanical generator that produces static electricity. By the end of the 18th Century, researchers had developed practical means of generating electricity by friction, but the development of electrostatic machines did not begin in earnest until the 18th century, when they became fundamental instruments in the studies about the new science of electricity. Electrostatic generators operate by using manual power to transform mechanical work into electric energy. Electrostatic generators develop electrostatic charges of opposite signs rendered to two conductors, using only electric forces, and work by using moving plates, drums, or belts to carry electric charge to a high potential electrode.
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