The clavecin électrique was invented in 1759 by Jean-Baptiste Thillais Delaborde, a French Jesuit priest. Delaborde built a working instrument in Paris in 1761. A short harpsichord-like keyboard activated clappers charged with static electricity which in turn were used to ring bells. It is commonly cited as being the first electric musical instrument, but was in fact pre-dated by the Denis d’or.
Jean-Baptiste Thillais Delaborde (also De Laborde and De La Borde) was born on 9 June 1730 in Nevers and died at the end of January 1777 in Colancelle. He was the author of the book titled Le Clavessin Electrique ; Avec Une Nouvelle Théorie Du Méchanisme Et Des Phénomènes De L’Electricité published by Guérin & Delatour.