I am not a coffee drinker, but I just drank some coffee. I said to my Hispanic friend, "I am WIRED!" and had to explain what the slang term means. However now that I think about it, that's an awfully strange term for "very very awake." Where did the word come from?
If you've ever had an electric shock, you're well aware of the jolting effects of a live wire.
It didn't take too long for the term live wire to enter the vernacular:
More recently, from the realm of music:
I'm guessing that wired evolved from the term live wire, which connotes being energetic, full of verve, and ready to go.
The Online Etymology Dictionary says:
Google Books tells us it's in print in the early 1970s and late 1960s as US and Canadian street slang, and appears to originate from Canada in the 1950s, if not earlier.
The earlier uses seem to mean hooked or addicted (for example to heroin), possibly from a suggestion of being connected to, wired to. This would follow some other earlier uses such "wired for electricity", "wired for aircon" and "wired for sound".
(Other earlier uses of wired are to have messaged someone by telegraph or other means ("I wired the Chicago office"), and it's sometimes used in discussions of how someone's "brain is wired up". It's not clear if these influenced the drug slang term.)
Later uses seem to mean being high, or on a buzz (for example on meths). Around the 1970s, this then became current when talking of legal drugs (for example prescription stimulant drugs, "uppers"), and then quite naturally was soon used for another legal stimulant drug, caffeine, which of course is found in coffee.
Peter Marin and Allan Y. Cohen give an etymology in their 1971 Understanding drug use: an adult's guide to drugs and the young:
Likewise, John H. Frykman's 1971 A new connection: an approach to persons involved in compulsive drug use:
New York (State). Dept. of Health's 1971 Desk reference on drug abuse:
It is used in a 1970 snippet of The Accountants Digest, where it describes drug use:
Frank Bonham's 1970 Viva Chicano:
US Congress' 1970 Drug abuse: Hearings, Ninety-first Congress, first session: Parts 1-2
Youth today by Norman Sheffe, 1970:
The drug scene: help or hang-up?, Walter L. Way, 1970:
Journal of the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, Volume 32, 1969 (or possibly 1968):
Etc: a review of general semantics: Volume 26, International Society for General Semantics, 1969:
CW, Canadian welfare: Volumes 45-46, Canadian Welfare Council - 1969:
Narcotics and narcotic addiction, David W. Maurer, Victor Hugh Vogel, 1967:
Issues in criminology, Volume 1, University of California, Berkeley. School of Criminology, 1966 (or possibly 1965):
Most of the citations I found are snippet view, a full view with confirmed date is in The Vancouver Sun Feb 9, 1963:
Another full view with confirmed date. Leader-Post, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Oct 13, 1959:
A possible 1956 comes from Hearings of the US Congress Senate Committee on the Judiciary:
And a possible 1951 in Travailleur social: Volumes 20-23 by the Canadian Association of Social Workers:
(Hathi Trust has this journal for searching but full view is unavailable for copyright reasons. Searching different entries, "wired" is found on page 24 of "The Social worker. Travailleur social. v.20-23 (Oct 1951-July 19." and page 24 of "The Social worker. Travailleur social. v.22-23 1953-1955." but not in "The Social worker. Travailleur social. v.20-21 1951-1953.", so a 1953-1955 use looks promising.)
One pop-culture landmark for the use of "wired" in the unmistakable sense of "overcaffeinated" or "overenergized" is "Totally Wired" by the Fall (released as a single in 1980). A portion of the lyrics:
I'm totally wired/Totally wired/I'm totally wired/T-t-t-totally wired/ Can't you see?/A butterfly stomach 'round ground?/I drank a jar of coffee/ And then I took some of these/And I'm totally wired...
The earliest use of "totally wired" that I can find in Google Books is this one from Opera News, vol. 30 (1965): "His gray eyes are penetrating behind his pince-nez. his movements quick and decisive; he gives the impression of still being totally wired for contact with the world around him." Here the sense of the phrase seems to be "attuned" or "fully prepared"--not quite "very very awake," but suggestive of a special alertness.
An earlier comment suggested that "wired for sound" might also be relevant to this discussion. The first clearly metaphorical use of this phrase that I found in Google Books was this example from Field and Stream, vol. 71 (1966): "Skunks are usually deodorized when you pick them up down here, but this baby was wired for sound--I still have the suit." In this case, "wired for sound" seems to mean something like "fully potent" (in the sense of the skunk's being able to spray the author with its scent).
In the OED this is sense 6(b).
The only citation given for sense 6(a) is from 1903 but here's an antedating to 1889 from Americanisms—Old & New by John Stephen Farmer.
For sense 6(b) the earliest citation given is:
But here's an antedating to 1970 from "Drug abuse: Hearings, Ninety-first Congress, first session, Parts 1-2".
And here, in Thomas Wolfe's Look Homeward, Angel (1929), is a use that seems to be ambiguous between 6(a) and 6(b):
Sadly the only etymological dictionary I have access to is the OED 1st ed, for which the meaning you mention is too new even to be in the supplement. However, I suggest it may have had something to do with Galvani's early demonstrations of electricity, whereby he applied electricity to a dead frog, causing it to jerk about. Etymologically it might perhaps have arisen through via later references to his work such as in Frankenstein where the corpse is reanimated by electricity. Coffee has a similar reanimating effect, at least on me.