Electricity defines modernity more than any other field of science and technology. It enables me to type this on a computer and enables 40 percent of you to read this on a cellphone screen.

In 1916 the science of producing and consuming electricity was advanced enough to be reliable for industry and consumer alike. Its efficiency and low cost allowed its use to expand into all major aspects of modern life: war, medicine, communication, manufacturing and of course cooking.

For a longer look at the history of electricity in war and peace, you can peruse the Scientific American Archive at ScientificAmerican.com/magazine/sa.