Electricity, by 1915, had long left the laboratory to take its place in society, where it was beginning to fulfil the many roles we now assign it. It became a standard for modernity, a tool for helping to move people and goods, an aid for safety and convenience, a partner in war and medicine, and in its own right an aesthetic delight.

>>View a slide show of electrical inventions

The Archive of Scientific American illuminates the path that many laboratory curiosities take on their way to being central to our modern life. You can follow the journey at www.scientificamerican.com/magazine/sa