Time Travel Back To 1799 With Batteries

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time travel back to 1799

Alessandro Volta: Public Domain

Today, we are going to time travel back to 1799 with batteries. But first, you need to know about an Italian man named Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volt. He invented the very first battery in 1799. But unlike some later pioneers like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg, he was a private person who avoided publicity.

In fact, he took a whole long year to write the president of the Royal Society in London and admit he did it. When he died, hardly anybody noticed. Today we will first explain the structure of his battery. Then we are going to time travel back to 1799 with batteries and show you how to make your own historic replica.

How a Disagreement Caused the World’s First Battery

time travel back to 1799

Luigi Galvani: Public Domain

Volta lived in an Italian town called Como on a beautiful lake. Another scientist named Luigi Aloisio Galvani lived in the city of Bologna 90 miles away. When Galvani caused a frog’s legs to twitch, he thought he had discovered ‘animal electricity’. Volta thought otherwise after he repeated the experiment.

He decided the frog’s body fluids were the electrolyte, and the metal scalpel was an electrode that completed the circuit. The two scientists disagreed vehemently. Volta created his ‘voltaic pile’ battery to prove his point. Galvani adopted a low profile after that, because in his heart of hearts he probably knew Volta was correct. Moreover, his wife he loved so much had died and his spirits were understandably low.

Battery Basics To Know Before We Time Travel Back To 1799

Volta created a circuit between two different metals by separating them with a piece of cloth he soaked in salty water. He found he could increase the voltage by stacking one ‘battery’ on another. Now you know the big secret of how the world’s first battery worked, let’s climb aboard the virtual time machine. Let’s time travel back to 1799, and produce solid proof that you can show your friends that Volta’s invention actually worked.


Luigi Aloisio Galvani (1737-1798)

Voltaic Pile: First Electrochemical Cell

Preview Image: Cross Section of Voltaic Pile

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About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast (30.7167° S, 30.4667° E). I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned.

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