Battery Facts

 

Volta
1800
Daniell
1835
Leclanche
1866
Jungner
1899
Ruben
1930
Today
????
1780
Galvani
1830
Sturgeon
1859
Plante
1887
Gassner
1903
Edison
1950
Urry

 

Alessandro Volta (1745-1827)

One of the enthusiastic admirers of Galvani was a university professor in Padova Alessandro Guiseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta. He repeated Galvani's experiments many times with many different materials. From these experiments he came to the conclusion that it was the two dissimilar metals, not the frog’s leg that produced the electicity. The frog’s leg was just an indicator of presence of the electricity.

In 1800, after extensive experimentation, he developed the voltaic pile. The original voltaic pile consisted of a pile of zinc and silver discs and between alternating discs, a piece of cardboard that had been soaked in saltwater. A wire connecting the bottom zinc disc to the top silver disc could produce repeated sparks. No frogs were injured in the production of a voltaic pile.

Volta built different piles using thirty, forty or sixty elements. This enabled him to study the action of the pile on the electric fluid, depending on the number of elements, and he confirmed that the electric shock increased in intensity with the number of elements used in the pile. If more than twenty elements were used, it became painful. The first piles constructed by Volta comprised alternating zinc and copper discs. Each was separated from its neighbor by a piece of cloth or card dampened by an acid solution. The column was supported by three vertical glass rods.