Galvani's voltaic pile

Made:
1800-1820 in Italy
maker:
Unknown

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Galvani's voltaic pile. Full view, graduated matt black perspex background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Galvani's voltaic pile, unsigned, Italy, 1800-1820

First described in 1800 by Alessandro Volta (1745-1827), a voltaic pile consists of a series of zinc and cooper discs separated by conducting cards. The pile produces continuous electric current and was used for experiments.

This voltaic pile was exhibited at the Volta Centenary Exhibition in Volta’s birthplace, Como, Italy, in 1899. A fire on 8 July 1899 destroyed a large number of objects. This is one of those that were salvaged.

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Details

Category:
Therapeutics
Object Number:
A600015
Materials:
complete, copper (alloy), felt, glass, mahogany (wood), wood (unidentified), zinc (metal)
Measurements:
overall (height x diameter): 343 mm 102 mm, 2.052 kg
type:
voltaic pile
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • battery
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • battery
credit:
Galvani
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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