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Creation and Rediscovery of the Battery
The Modern battery was invented in 1800 by an Italian scientist Alessandro Volta after observing the famous 'frogs leg' experiments of Luigi Galvani. Galvani had noticed that the leg of a deceased frog would twitch when exposed to an electrical current. Galvani then reproduced this effect without the use of the frogs legs by creating the "Galvanic cell". This cell was a simple set of reactive metals submerged in their respective sulphate solution. Alessandro Volta saw the potential of the "Galvanic Cell" and set about making a practical version that could produce a greater source of electricity. Using cardboard soaked in vinegar instead of jars of liquid, he separated each piece of cardboard with a reactive metal. The result was the "Voltaic Pile", a series of compact "Galvanic cells" connected together which created an electrical current. The battery Volta created was so weak it couldn't even produce a spark but although the technology for producing batteries had improved greatly over the last two centuries, this basic layout of cells has remained virtually unchanged since 1800.
In the 1930's a set of terracotta jars were discovered in Iraq. These small jars contained a roll of copper sheets and an iron rod. Although overlooked upon discovery, the director or the national museum in Iraq, Wilhelm König noted their striking resemblance to a "Galvanic Cell" in 1940 König produced a paper on his theory that these jars could have been used by the Mesopotamians to electroplate gold onto silver objects. Although this is still a subject of much debate, it would be the earliest know use of an electrical cell if its application can be confirmed, predating Alessandro Volta's battery by up to 1000 years.
Lead Acid and Automotive Batteries
In 1859 a French Physicist called Gaston Planté invented the first working lead acid battery. His creation was constructed using a spiral roll of sheets of pure lead separated by linen cloth. This was then submerged into a jar of sulfuric acid. A nine cell version was presented to the Academy of Sciences and in 1881 a fellow Frenchman by the name of Camille Alphonse Faure managed to perfect Planté's design by developing a reactive paste which is applied to the lead plates inside each cell. This paste was a highly reactive mixture of Lead Sulphates that would become electrochemically active during charging, greatly improving the performance of Planté's design to such an extent that they could produce enough power to be used for industrial and automotive applications.