Ancient Batteries

Storing electrical energy may date back thousands of years! Long before Edison perfected the light bulb or Franklin put his kite out in the rain, Mesopotamian craftsmen may have been using primitive batteries to electroplate gold onto silver objects. 

In the 1930s, artifacts were uncovered near Baghdad, Iraq, which appeared to have a familiar structure akin to modern galvanic cell batteries. The cell, dubbed "The Baghdad Battery" by the media, consists of a clay jar, a copper cylinder, and an iron rod. When the jar is filled with an electrolyte such as vinegar or lemon juice, a current is produced. Archaeologists theorized that these batteries may have been used for electroplating, bonding gold leaf to silver objects using the electrical current. Modern replicas have been used to test the theory, and it is possible to produce electricity with this design. Many experts have doubts about the specific use of the batteries, and some believe the jars are just simple storage containers, but most agree that it is at least plausible for them to have been used as a a source for electrical power. These ancient batteries certainly have one advantage over modern technology: the materials are 100% green! If only we cold power our smartphones and tablets with a little lemonade in a clay pot!