An electrostatic generator, or electrostatic machine, is a mechanical device that produces static electricity, or electricity at high voltage and low continuous current. The knowledge of static electricity dates back to the earliest civilizations, but for millennia it remained merely an interesting and mystifying phenomenon, without a theory to explain its behavior and often confused with magnetism. By the end of the 17th Century, researchers had developed practical means of generating electricity by friction, but the development of electrostatic machines did not begin in earnest until the 18th century, when they became fundamental instruments in the studies about the new science of electricity. Electrostatic generators operate by using manual (or other) power to transform mechanical work into electric energy. They develop electrostaticcharges of opposite signs rendered to two conductors, using only electric forces. They work by using moving plates, drums, or belts to carry electric charge to a high potentialelectrode. The charge is generated by one of two methods: either the triboelectric effect (friction) or electrostatic induction.