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IEEE - IEEE History Center: FAQS
In the 18th century a number of people made investigations of static electricity. Charles Dufay distinguished between vitreous electricity (the sort created when glass or rock crystal was rubbed) and resinous electricity (the sort created when resin or a wax rod was rubbed). Dufay proposed a two-fluid theory of electricity, the two fluids corresponding to the two types of electricity. Benjamin Franklin proposed a one-fluid theory, hypothesizing that the two apparent types of electricity were, in fact, occurrences of excesses and deficiencies of a single electrical fluid. Franklin introduced the terminology 'positive' and 'negative' to denote, respectively, an excess of electrical fluid and a deficiency of electrical fluid. It was on the basis of certain charging and discharging phenomena that Franklin assigned the designations 'positive' and 'negative', and in the 19th century the terminals of electric batteries were labeled 'plus' and 'minus'. Early in the 20th century it became clear that in most instances of the transfer of electric charge, it is electrons (negative charge carriers) that move, but by then the labeling conventions were firmly established.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Mar 14th, 2008 at 11:46:54 AM EST
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