Universiteit Leiden

Leyden jar The invention of the capacitor

The invention of the capacitor

Contribution: Brian Sutherland (PhD candidate in Information Studies, University of Toronto)

This invention belongs in the top 450: the capacitor by the Leiden professor Pieter van Musschenbroek in 1746. The capacitor is a cheap and reusable electrostatic energy storage device. The invention was named 'Leyden jar' at the time. Van Musschenbroek filled glass bottles with water and covered the bottles with tin foil. Using metal spheres at the top, he was able to store electrical charge in the bottles. This invention will also be very important in the next 50 years! Therefore, the detailed history about the invention also remains important.

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