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August 15 , 2018

Michael Faraday

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Overview

At the beginning of this century, in the neighbourhood of Manchester Square, London, there was an inquisitive boy running about, playing at marbles, and minding his baby-sister. He lived in Jacob's Well Mews, close by, and was learning the three R's at a common day-school. Few passers-by would have noticed him, and none certainly would have imagined that this boy, as he grew up, was to achieve the truest success in life, and to die honoured by the great, the wise, and the good. Yet so it was; and to tell the story of his life, to trace the sources of this success, and to depict some of the noble results of his work, are the objects of this biographical sketch. It was not at Jacob's Well Mews, but in Newington Butts, that the boy had been born, on September 22, 1791, and his parents, James and Margaret Faraday, had given this, their third child, the unusual name of Michael. The father was a journeyman blacksmith, a skilful workman who, in spite of poverty and feeble health, strove to bring up his children in habits of industry and the love of God. Of course young Michael must soon do something for his living. There happened to be a bookseller's shop in Blandford Street, a few doors from the entrance to the Mews, kept by a Mr. Riebau, an intelligent man, who is said to have had a leaning to astrology; and there he went as errand boy when thirteen years old. Many a weary walk he had, carrying round newspapers to his master's customers; but he did his work faithfully; and so, after a twelvemonth, the bookseller was willing to take him as an apprentice, and that without a premium.
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