The ACUPWR Papers

The History of Different Electrical Currents

Traveling internationally is fun, exciting, and exhilarating. You have the opportunity to experience a whole other culture, and seemingly a whole other world. Everything will be new and exciting, and each day will be jammed packed full of activities. At the end of each day, you get to head to your hotel and rejuvenate for the next day. However, what you will quickly discover is that your electronics don't work with international plugs, which can pose a big problem to charge your cell phone, camera, and more. 

ACUPWR makes a whole line of international voltage converters, including international plug adapters so that you can travel easily. We also offer power converters for appliances, global surge protectors, and voltage stabilizers. We proudly make our voltage transformers and electrical outlet adapters in America. We've been helping power your appliances, electronic devices, personal care products, such as hair dryers, and much more since 1978. Below, we'll examine the history behind different electrical currents. Contact us today to get started!


The history of different electrical currents goes back to the history of electricity. Ever since ancient times, people have wondered about lighting and how it forms. The ancient Greeks tried to discover how lightning formed and made many observations on magnetism. Slowly, from Benjamin Franklin's famous kite experiment to Michael Faraday's development of the electric generator in 1831, the development of the use of electricity has been steady, but unfortunately very sporadic and lacking a cohesive direction. When inventions were made, the information was slow to spread, especially across continents and oceans. Thus, by the time news got into the hands of others' working on the same experiments, new inventions had already been discovered and improved upon.

The problem lay in the two different currents of electricity: AC and DC. When Edison invented the light bulb in the late 1880s, he chose to use direct current (DC) to provide electricity to homes and businesses. However, DC could not be transmitted over long distances due to the resistance of the wire. Nikolas Tesla invented alternating current (AC), which solved this long-distance problem. Westinghouse, who bought Tesla's patents, decided to use 110-volts with an operating frequency at 60 Hz and standardized it. 

Concurrently, electricity was being developed in Europe, which had their own ideas of power. BEW in Germany had a monopoly on electricity at this same time and they chose to use 50 Hz because it fit in better with the metric system. This translates into 220-volts. Europe followed suit over the next decades.

The United States considered switching over to a 220-volt system in the 1950s but because many consumers had already bought appliances using 120 volts (and refrigerators were not cheap back in the day), the U.S. decided not to. The U.S. did implement the three-wire system so that larger appliances could operate on 220 volts, while smaller appliances stayed at 120 volts.



ACUPWR understands how frustrating it can be while traveling abroad that you can't use any electrical outlet easily. You will probably need multiple international plug adapters while traveling abroad. Our company makes a plethora of electrical adapters to meet your needs. Shop today!

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