Ancient Technology in Electric Batteries and Electrochemistry
The ancient electro-chemical links under the page previews below lead to the rest of the stories on ancient electrochemistry:
Ancient Bagdad (Baghdad) Batteries
Ancient technology in the form of electric batteries was discovered in ancient Babylonia in the first half of the twentieth century. Under SCIENCE ARTICLES in the March 1939 issue of ASTOUNDING magazine appeared an article on the discovery of several ancient batteries near Bagdad, in modern-day Iraq. These old so-called "Bagdad batteries" were first reported in English by the German rocket scientist Willy Ley, and the Editor listed his article on the contents page as “ELECTRIC BATTERIES—2,000 YEARS AGO! So you thought our civilization first discovered electricity?” It reads as follows: . . .
Ancient Technology in Electro-ChemistryThe ancient electric Bagdad batteries discovered in the 1930's certainly prove that battery technology existed in the primary form in antiquity. Furthermore, it would have been a simple challenge for the ancients to make secondary electric cells since they were no dumber than we are today and the necessary chemicals were readily available. Anyone can make a simple storage cell, somewhat comparable to one of those cells in your car battery, by immersing two lead plates in a solution of sulfuric acid. However, it will not produce an electric current until it is charged. To initially charge it, you need only to connect it to a source of direct current, like the simple primary bottle cells or thermocouples illustrated above. In antiquity, several could have been connected in series to increase a battery's voltage or parallel to increase its current capacity. With the appropriate arrangement, they would have provided enough power to sustain a simple carbon arc light employed in a temple, tomb, or lighthouse.
Ancient Electroplating is a technology scantily discussed on the Internet, so we are sharing this excerpt from The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting with any Web surfer who might be interested in the evidence for ancient electroplating. There is much more on ancient electroplating in The Electric Mirror, so it would be worthwhile for those who want to learn more about electroplating in antiquity to obtain a copy. Meanwhile, this excerpt, speaking of lampposts and the ancient Bagdad batteries, will have to suffice: . . . .
This page was last modified on Monday, February 04, 2013