The Twickenham Museum
For children

Michael Faraday
Natural scientist - discoverer of electro-magnetic induction
1791 - 1867

Michael Faraday

Who was he?

There is a house called Faraday House, (now No.37 Hampton Court Road) in Hampton Court. This was the last home of Michael Faraday, one of Britain's most famous scientists.

Faraday made discoveries that allowed electricity to be turned from a scientific curiosity into a powerful technology.

Self educated

Michael Faraday was born in London, the son of a Blacksmith from Yorkshire. He attended a day school and learnt the "rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic".

For seven years from the age of fourteen Faraday was apprenticed as a bookbinder. During this time he developed his interest in science and in particular chemistry.

He read books on chemistry and the scientific entries from the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was also able to perform chemical experiments and he built his own electro-static machine.

But, more importantly, he joined a Philosophical Society. This group of young men and women met every week to hear lectures on scientific topics and to discuss scientific matters.

Scientific work

Early in 1813 there was a fight in the main lecture theatre of the Royal Institution between the Instrument Maker and the Chemical Assistant. The Chemical Assistant was dismissed and Sir Humphrey Davy appointed Faraday to the position.

Faraday devised many experiments and made many practical discoveries and inventions. Among these were work on the Davy Miner's Lamp and other safety devices for mines; work to make light houses more efficient in the fuel they consumed and in the light they produced; and his major work developing his ideas on electricity.

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