US Congress votes to establish a Library of Congress.
Dry battery invented by A Volta, ‘Volta’s pile’, made of copper and zinc discs separated by a moistened cloth electrolyte. Other batteries developed by De Luc (1809) and Zamboni (1812) in Italy.
Existence of infra-red solar rays is discovered by William Herschel and described in An investigation of the powers of prismatic colours to heat and illuminate objects. Herschel finds that infra-red generates most heat.
Ultra-violet radiation is discovered by Johann W Ritter in Germany while working with silver chloride.
Improved version of Robert’s machine for making reels of paper is parented by Robert’s employer, the printer François Didot.
Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834) makes his first semi-automated loom, requiring the human operator to make design decisions, a function that his next version eliminates.
Experiments by (Sir) Humphrey Davy (1778-1829) and Thomas Wedgwood (son of the potter Josiah) into the use of silver nitrate to create photographic images are published by the Royal Institution. They are unable to fix the images to prevent the continuing effect on the images of further exposure to light.
Edinburgh Review is first published. It continues until 1929.
The accumulator is invented by J W Ritter in Germany.
Modern paper-making machinery is invented by two British brothers after whom the Foudrinier machine is named.
Carbon paper is patented in London by Ralph Wedgewood.
Première of Beethoven’s fifth and sixth symphonies in Vienna.
Humphrey Davy invents the arc light, in which powerful light is created by passing an electrical current across the gap between two carbon rods held in alignment. As well as light, it also generates heat and smoke.
The word 'polarisation' is introduced (in French) by Etienne-Louis Malus (1775-1812) when he discovers that reflected light is polarised.
Atomic theory propounded by John Dalton in England in his New System of Chemical Philosophy.
Ernst Chladni demonstrates sound vibrations in solid objects by sprinkling sand on metal sheets; the sand moves when the sheets are made to vibrate by sound.