Otto von Guericke was born November 20, 1602 in Magdeburg, Germany and died May 11, 1686. A physicist, engineer, and natural philosopher, von Guericke invented the first air pump and used it to study vacuums and the role of air in combustion and respiration. His first pumps were inverted pumps (for fire fighting) that could evacuate larger volumes of air than could be done using static methods. His pumps were used to demonstrate the well-known Magdeburg experiment where two teams of eight horses were unable to pull apart two evacuated brass hemispheres. His latter pump designs used lever pumping systems. In 1663, von Guericke also built the first machine to create an electric spark.