An electric charge on an object is the result of there being electrons removed or added to the object. Friction on a non-conductor can cause this loss or gain.
In 1786 Luigi Galvani discovered 'animal electricity' and proposed a somewhat confused idea that animal bodies are storehouses of electricity.
In 1774, the existence of electric eels in South Carolina was described to the Royal Society in considerable detail, introducing the idea of animal electricity.
Electric current can be generated in a number of ways, some physical (generators), some chemical (batteries), some even biological (electric eels).
Electricity and magnetism are related: an electric current makes a magnetic field, and a changing electric current makes a changing magnetic field.
In 1820 Ampère measured the force on an electric current in a magnetic field and Oersted reported that a current in a wire can deflect a compass needle.
In 1820, Hans Oersted had found that an electric current produced a magnetic field, setting the scene for the development of electric relays and electromagnets.
In 1821, Michael Faraday discovered both the principle of the electric motor and the generator, and also plotted the magnetic field around a conductor.
In 1833, Heinrich Lenz stated that an induced current in a closed conducting loop will appear in such a direction that it opposes the change that produced it.
An electromagnet is formed when an electrical current flows in a coiled conductor surrounding soft iron, aligning the magnetic domains in the soft iron core.
In 1847, Werner von Siemens suggested the use of gutta-percha as insulation on wiring to protect it from moisture, essential to later electricity transmission.
An electric current may be generated by the Seebeck effect, where a voltage develops across the junction of two metals or alloys at different temperatures.
In 1901, Hertha Ayrton had a paper on electric arcs read to the Royal Society by a male friend, as women were not allowed, at that time, to read papers.
A potential difference may be generated by the piezoelectric effect, when pressure is applied to a crystal. A PD applied to a crystal produces a deformation.
This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/splatselectric.htm, first created on January 25, 2006. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on January 25, 2006.