Michael Faraday 1791‐1867 A timeline of significant events and discoveries 1790 1791 22 September Michael Faraday is born in Newington Butts, Surrey (roughly where the Elephant and Castle is today.) His father was a blacksmith and belonged to a small literalist sect of Christianity called the Sandemanians. His mother had been in service in a household in northwest England before they moved to London. , A contemporary print Newington Butts in the 1820s1792 1793 1794 In the mid 1790s the Faradays move to rooms over a 1795 coach house in Jacobs Mews, near Manchester Square on 1796 the western edge of London where they live until 1809. 1797 1798 1799 1800 1801 1802 Jacobs Mews, from The Life and Letters of Faraday 1803 by Henry Bence Jones, 1870 1804 As a child Faraday attends a ‘common day‐school’ where he learns the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic. in 1804, aged 13, he begins running errands for George Riebau, a bookseller and stationer. 1805 7 October Faraday is apprenticed as a bookbinder to George Riebau, who runs a bookshop at 2 Blandford street. During his seven‐year apprenticeship he develops an overriding interest in science, spending time after hours reading the Riebau’s bookshop, from The Life and Letters of books he binds. Faraday by Henry Bence Jones, 1870 1806 1807 1808 1809 By 1809 he has begun to keep a ‘philosophical miscellany’ where he records what he reads and performs what experiments he can in the back of the shop.
1810 Faraday begins to attend meetings at City Philosophical Society and lectures on scientific subjects including electricity by John Tatum, taking careful notes and binding them. 30 October Faraday’s father dies 1811 1812 February ‐ April He is given tickets to attend Davy’s last four lectures at the RI by William Dance, who had seen his notes of Tatum’s lectures. Again he takes careful notes and binds them into a book. 7 October Faraday’s apprenticeship expires, he is employed as a bookbinder by Henri De La Roche December Faraday sends a letter and his notes of the lectures to Davy. Davy’s reply, dated Christmas Eve is, ‘kind and favourable’. 1813 January Faraday is invited for an interview by Davy, but there is currently no position available at the Royal Institution. A few weeks later the laboratory assistant is dismissed. 1 March Davy suggests Faraday for the post and he is appointed laboratory assistant. 13 October Davy invites Faraday to accompany him on a tour of the continent as his assistant; Faraday leaves his job to go along. Souvenir card showing Vesuvius, in Italy, from Michael Faraday’s scrapbook 1814 June Davy and Faraday travel through Italy and meet Alessandro Volta in Milan. 1815 17 April Davy cuts his tour of the continent short following Napoleon’s escape from Elba and the party return to England. 15 May Faraday is reappointed to his post at the Royal Institution From 1815 to 1818 he attends meetings of the City Philosophical Society where he gives his first lectures. 1816 From 1818 to 1822 Faraday works on a project to improve the quality of steel alloys. 1817 1818 1819 1820
21 May Silhouette portrait of 1821 Sarah Barnard from Faraday is appointed Superintendent of the House of the Michael Faraday’s Royal Institution scrapbook 2 June He marries Sarah Barnard and a few weeks later he makes his confession of faith in the Sandemanian Church 3 September He discovers electro‐magnetic rotations (which can be viewed as the principle behind the electric motor) 1822 1823 6 March Faraday liquefies a gas (chlorine) for the first time. 1824 Faraday is elected Fellow of the Royal Society in January 1824 and shortly after becomes secretary of the Athenaeum Club. He begins work for the joint Royal Society and Board of Longitude committee to improve optical glass; the project takes up a large proportion of his time for the next six years. December He gives his first lectures at the RI. Somerset House, home of the Royal Society, by T. Rowlandson, from Ackermanns Microcosm of London, 1808 1825 7 February Faraday is appointed Director of the Laboratory at the Royal Institution May He discovers bicarburet of hydrogen (benzene) He initiates the Friday Evening Discourses for Royal Institution members and the Christmas Lectures for children 1826 1827 Faraday publishes Chemical Manipulation, his only book, his other publications are collections of papers or transcriptions of his lectures. He continues work on the glass project, from December two thirds of his time is spent making and testing glass ingots. 1828 1829 May Faraday’s frustration with the glass project leads to him opening negotiations with the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Davy’s death in Geneva helps bring the project to an end and Faraday stays at the Ri, although he is also appointed part time professor at Woolwich and Scientific Adviser to the Admiralty 1830
1831 29 August Faraday discovers electro‐magnetic induction, using an iron ring with two coils of insulated wire, he repeats his experiments and checks the results the next day. October He invents the electro‐magnetic generator. L: Faraday’s Induction ring, R: Faraday’s electric generator from his experimental notebooks. 1832 Faraday receives an honorary doctorate from Oxford University. In July he is appointed Deacon in the Sandemanian Church. From 1832 to 1834 he works on electrochemistry, inventing, with WIlliam Whewell, its nomenclature. 1833 18 February Faraday is appointed first Fullerian Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution. 1834 1835 Faraday is awarded a Civil List pension, he initially refuses but, after some controversy, the matter is settled and the pension authorised by the King. 1836 Faraday becomes Scientific Adviser to Trinity House, the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales, a post he holds until 1865 and which takes up much of his time. He also invents the "Faraday Cage" and explores the nature of electricity. Trinity House, contemporary print 1837 1838 20 March Faraday’s mother dies 1839 Volume one of Experimental Researches in Electricity is published. Faraday partially retires from lecturing and research due to ill health and does not return to them fully until 1843 1840 15 October Faraday is appointed an Elder of the Sandemanian Church. His duties include preaching and baptising infants. 1841 1842 1843 1844 Volume two of Experimental Researches in Electricity is published 31 March Faraday and 13 others are excluded from the Sandemanian Church for unknown reasons, most are restored several weeks later.
1845 13 September Faraday discovers the magneto‐optical effect September ‐ October Faraday and the geologist Charles Lyell are appointed to investigate the major explosion at Haswell Colliery and to report to the government. 4 November Faraday discovers diamagnetism Faraday’s research over the next ten years leads him to develop electromagnetic field theory. Faraday’s magnetic laboratory, Harriet Moore 1846 c1850s 1847 1848 Faraday is offered the Presidency of the Royal Society but turns it down. 1849 Faraday works on the relation of gravity and electricity 1850 1851 1852 1853 From the mid 1840s Faraday researches electromagnetism, culminating in his establishment of the field theory of electromagnetism in the mid 1850s which, when mathematised by William Thomson (later Lord Kelvin) and James Clark Maxwell, became (and remains) one of the cornerstones of physics. 1854 6 May Faraday gives a lecture on mental education in which he speaks against spiritualism and table turning. 1855 Volume three of Experimental Researches in Electricity is published Faraday giving the 1855‐6 Christmas Lectures, Alexander Blaikley1856 Faraday works on the transmission of light through solutions 1857 1858 Faraday again declines the offer of Presidency of the Royal Society On the instigation of Prince Albert Faraday is granted a Grace and Favour house at Hampton Court, over the last years of his life he spends increasing amounts of time there. The grace and favour house at Hampton Court, occupied 1858‐1967 by the Faradays.
1859 Faraday Publishes Experimental Researches in Chemistry and Physics 1860 21 October Faraday is once more appointed an Elder of the Sandemanian Church 1861 Faraday gives his last series of Christmas lectures, The chemical history of a candle 1862 Faraday receives an honorary doctorate from Cambridge University 20 June He gives his last lecture at Royal Institution 1863 1864 Faraday is offered and declines the Presidency of the Royal Institution 5 June He resigns as Elder in Sandemanian Church 1865 1866 1867 25 August Faraday dies at his Grace and Favour house at Hampton Court 30 August He is buried in the Sandemanian plot in Highgate Cemetery 1868 1869 1870 Faraday’s grave in Highgate Cemetery, taken in 1931