Italian scientist Alessandro Volta is credited as the inventor of the electrical battery, but a frog played a role.
Volta’s invention, the voltaic pile, was made up of pairs of copper and zinc discs on top of each other. A layer of cloth or cardboard soaked in brine separated the discs, and acted as the electrolyte.
This produced a stable and continuous current, and lost little charge over time when not in use – although the voltage wasn’t strong enough to produce sparks in early models.
The frog in the story
Back in 1780, Italian scientist Luigi Galvani was dissecting a frog when the leg twitched. He thought it was down to “animal electricity”. But the poor creature was fixed to a brass hook, while the scientist was using an iron scalpel.
Volta disagreed with the idea that “animal electricity” was behind the twitching leg. So, off he went and proved his theory that it was caused by two metals joined together by a moist intermediary.
And in 1800, Volta invented the voltaic pile which is seen as the first true battery. Even if you don’t know him, you probably use his name a lot – volt was named in his honour.
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