Voltaic Pile

branch of study: electromagnetism
inventor: Alessandro Volta, 1799

The Voltaic Pile consists of copper and zinc plates, between which a piece of paper or cloth is placed, which has been soaked with salt water. Volta expected the electrical current to be a consequence from the direct contact between the two metal plates and thus seperated them by means of a piece of paper.

further reading

Volta, A. (1800). On the Electricity Excited by the Mere Contact of Conducting Substances of Different Kinds. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 90, 403-431.

Pera, M. (1992). The Ambigious Frog: The Galvani-Volta Controversy on Animal Electricity. Princeton (NJ): UP.

Pancaldi, G. (2003). Volta : science and culture in the Age of Enlightenment. Princeton: Princeton University Press.