Desperate for recognition, a patent, and the chance to father a tool that can save human lives, Charles Dalziel ventured into depths no man would ever think of crossing.
At the time Charles Dalziel wanted to create this preventive tool, death from electrocution was staggering to about 1,100 lives per year. So what did Dalziel do to solve this problem? Dalziel invented the GFCI.
What is a GFCI?
A ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) is a device that shuts off an electric power circuit when it detects that current is flowing along an unintended path, such as through water or a person.
A ground fault happens whenever electricity escapes the confines of the wiring in an appliance, light fixture, or power tool and takes a shortcut to the ground. When that shortcut is through a human, the results can be deadly.
How does it work?
GFCI monitors for any current flow imbalances. It is able to sense a mismatch as small as 4 or 5 milliamps, and it can react as quickly as one-thirtieth of a second, thus preventing electrocutions.
GFCI outlets are located where moisture is more present, such as the kitchen, bathroom, garage, exterior and laundry room.
Despite its obvious value,Dalziel had trouble selling the idea of decreasing deaths via electrocution. Dalziel invention was not very popular among investors.
How far did Dalziel go to prove his invention works?
With investors looking on, Dalziel put his daughter in a bathtub filled with water, plugged the toaster into the GFCI outlet, and dropped the toaster in the tub to prove his product work. Talk about a shocker!
Only 803 electrocution deaths occurred between years of 2009-2013; a whopping decrease from 1,100 deaths that occurred the year before Dalziels’ great invention!
Thanks to the GFCI outlet, and Dalziels’ unorthodox methods, we can now depend on the GFCI outlet to keep us safe from electrocutions.