The Baghdad Battery, How Humans Discovered Electricity

April 24, 2009 / 1 Comment

The mysterious Baghdad Battery is arguably mankind’s very first device to produce usable levels of electricity, similar to a battery. But it’s true, an inefficient battery.

baghdad battery The Baghdad Battery, How Humans Discovered ElectricityWhile many believe Benjamin Franklin to be the father of electricity, history goes back more than two thousand years when Ancient Greeks discovered that rubbing fur on amber causes an attraction between the two.

But did humans actually discovered electricity long before history books tell us?

Probably created in Mesopotamia during the Parthian or Sassanid period (around 200 – 250BC), the Baghdad Battery is comprised from a number of artifacts that include a five-inch-long (13 cm) clay jar with a copper cylinder that encases an iron rod.

baghdad battery components The Baghdad Battery, How Humans Discovered ElectricityAll shrouded in myth, the Baghdad Battery is actually an odd thing, an enigma.

However there is a hypothesis that when the jar is filled with water that contains a common acidic agent like lemon juice or vinegar to surround the iron rod, it would form an electrochemical pair and the acidic agent could help produce an electric current. But a very weak electric current.

Actually, speculations have it that a priest or a healer sensed the electrical tingle, didn’t understood it but still used it for electro-acupuncture. And also for religious purposes, because it was discovered that when linked in series, the cells indeed had sufficient power to electroplate a small token.

So could that be the first sign to electricity?