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The First Battery

June 23rd Fact-of-the-Day

Between 1788 and 1791 Luigi Galvani developed an 'animal electricity' theory after discovering that a salinated dead frog lying on zinc twitched when it was touched by a metal scalpel. The electricity he discovered later became known as 'Galvanic Electricity,' because the discoverer's name was Galvani. In 1800 Alessandro Volta realized that the electricity that made a dead frog's leg twitch didn't come from the dead fog, but resulted from use of dissimilar metals. He put sheets of zinc in contact with copper in acid and found that continuous electric current was generated (he described the current as continuous, because it wasn't merely a pulse, but it did decline over time). Today the device he invented is called a battery, but he first called it a 'continuous current pile.' He later marketed a commercial version he called the 'Voltaic Pile' after his own Volta name. Electromotive force is called voltage today in honor of his dissimilar-metal discovery and his development of the first battery. ©2005 Martek, International. All rights reserved.


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