(1745 - 1827)
Born in Como, Italy, into a noble family, Count Volta was
a physicist and pioneer in the study of electricity. "Volt," named after
Count Volta, is a measurement of electricity. Count Volta also
made discoveries in electrostatics, meteorology and pneumatics.
His most famous invention, however, is the first battery.
The idea came from Luigi Galvani, an anatomist. Galvani was
dissecting a frog when the frog's leg began to twitch.
Galvani thought was because of some type of electrical
action in the vicinity, such as lightening. Volta tried to
duplicate the experiment, and he did on a clear day when
there was no lightening.
Through experimentation, Volta realized that the two different metal
objects holding the frog leg might be the
source of the action. Over a period of several years he
worked out that the wet muscle tissue conducted a current
between the two different type of metals. Volta modified
this effect to produce the first continuous flow of electric
current. Around 1800, he invented a wet battery called a Voltaic Pile.
The Voltaic Pile consisted of discs of copper and zinc
separated by discs of paper or cardboard (soaked in salt
water). Attached to the top and bottom of this "Pile" was a
copper wire. When Volta closed the circuit, electricity
flowed through the pile.
Volta's battery was later refined by other scientists, and the
French emperor, Napoleon, made Volta a "Count" for his
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