First Steps Toward Fish Electricity
This chapter examines how some fish first became associated with electricity. It focuses on the 1750s, when the scientific study of electricity was in vogue and new discoveries about electricity, as well as weakly-substantiated claims about it, were capturing the public imagination. Before turning right to the mid-18th-century literature, it begins with some comments on what is sometimes regarded as the first allusion to electricity in the fish literature. It involves a dissertation written by Englebert Kaempferat at the end of the 17th century and then a widely read book published in 1712 by the same author, who compared a torpedo's discharge to lightning.
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