In the year 2000 the bicentennial of the first electrical battery was celebrated: the battery of Volta. The 20 of March of the year 1800 Alessandro Volta communicate by letter to the president of the Royal Society of London the first news of its invention: the “battery to colonist? (well-known nowadays as “battery of Volta?). Later, in 1801, Volta to requirement of Napoleón presents in Paris his invention and reads his Dissertation on the identity of the electrical fluid with the galvanic one. Napoleón, in recognition to its scientific contributions, granted the title to him of Count naming him in addition Senator to the Kingdom.


Volta was an Italian physicist, been born in As, who was interested and investigated one of the most famous phenomena at his time: the electricity. In 1774 professor of Physics at school Superior was chosen of how and, only, a year later invented the electrophorus. This invention caused that its fame extended very quickly and that in 1779 the chair of the University of Pavia was assigned to him where it continued his works on the electricity. It invented other equipment as the condensing electroscope or the eudiometer and all this took to that more ahead outside chosen member of the Royal Society of London. N_155.GIF (44926 bytes)N_206_D.GIF (77438 bytes)

But the work that more fame has given him is related to the electrical current. Galvani had verified previously who frog legs could undergo contractions when it hung myself of a brass thread with a steel counterbalance. From the experiments of Galvani, Volta verified that the effect was due to the metal presence both and that putting in touch those two metals, or others, an electrical current could be obtained. Their investigations took to him to conclude that some metal combinations produced major effect that others and, with its measurements, made a list of the order of effectiveness. It is the origin of the series electrochemistry that is used nowadays in chemistry.

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Original design of Volta Original design of Volta Photo of one of the first batteries that I construct Volta (Museum of Arts ET Metiers, Paris)

Volta invented a series of equipment able to produce a electric flux. For it he used containers with a saline solution connected through metallic arcs. Connecting several of those containers he obtained the first electrical battery of history. In order to reduce complications due to the necessity to use solutions, he began to use small round discs of copper and zinc and others of cloth or cardboard in acidulous water. So that he united them forming a series: he receives, zinc, cloth, receives zinc, cloth, etc.; all of them piled up forming a column. When he united the ends of the “battery? by means of a wire, to he would close the circuit obtained an electrical current.

Battery of Volta woke up great enthusiasm between scientists of his time and served as impulse for experimenters of all Europe (almost immediately it was discovered that the electrical current could disturb) and served basic for the chemical works of Davy and the study of the electromagnetic phenomena that Faraday leaked. In the 200 years that have passed since then they have constructed many models of batteries, but all of them are based on the same principle that the battery of Volta.