Rebecca O’Connell, writing in Mental Floss Magazine, has put together a list of 10 Shocking (Mis) Uses for Electricity. While I always tell newbie blog content writers to include lists in their blog posts (good for SEO, I’m told by my tech-savvy friends), I particularly like the idea of comparing the way things were and the way they are today. Blogging about those changes helps readers understand how to get the maximum benefit out of today’s version of the products and services you offer.
When it comes to electricity, some of the old applications O’Connell brings to light in her list are downright shocking.
- In the late 18th century, those suffering from dental problems were treated with electric shock. Doctors would take a metal wire, encased in glass or strung through a feather, and apply it to the throbbing molar, she explains.
- Also in the 1700s, an English entertainer used electric conductivity by strapping an orphan boy into a harness, suspending him in midair, and giving him a charge with an electrostatic device. The boy appeared to acquire mystical powers: Small objects floated toward him. He could turn book pages without touching them. When people tried to poke him, sparks flew.
- Around that same period of time, an early generator was invented called an electropholus. An insulated plate would be rubbed with cat fur from a dead cat. That plate was then put together with a metal one, generating static electricity which could be transferred to a jar. That early generator was called an electrophorus.
- After Benjamin Franklin and Prokop Divis independently invented the first lightning rods, it became the fashion in Paris for men and women to don top hats and umbrellas with personal lightning rods. Designed by Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg, the rodware featured a tall wire with a coil that trailed to the ground.
The rewards for blasts-from-the-past blogging for business might include:
- Reader engagement – the “I never knew that!” response
- You come across as knowledgeable and committed to learning everything about the history of your own field
- Readers are moved to take advantage of all the new technology and know-how now available.
Can you compile a shocking-use list for your business or profession?