The word energy is surprisingly new, and can only be traced in its modern sense to the mid 1800s. It wasn't that people before then had not recognized that there were different powers around--the crackling of static electricity, or the billowing gust of a wind that snaps our a sail. It's just that they were thought of as unrelated things. There was no overarching notion of "Energy" within which all these diverse events could fit.
One of the men who took a central role in changing this was Michael Faraday, a very good apprentice bookbinder who had no interest, however, in spending his life binding books. As an escape hatch from poverty in the London of the 1810s, though, it was a job that had one singular advantage: "There were plenty of books there," he mused years later to a friend, "and I read them." But it was fragmentary reading, and Faraday recognized that, just snatching glimpses of pages as they came in to be bound. Occasionally he had evenings alone, next to the candles or lamps, reading longer sixteen- or thirty-two-page bound sheaves.
He might have stayed a bookbinder, but although social mobility in Georgian London was very low, it