Drunk me (I assume?) seems to have changed my bio to "the first battery was made of wine" at some point and actually this is a banger so sure let's talk about how the first battery was made of wine
start this off by saying: some people think it's not a battery, I think it doesn't really matter because for whatever reason it would've *worked* as one and we don't actually know what the thing was for. also, it got stolen from Iraq in 2003. so.
The scene: Iraq, somewhere between 200 and 400AD.

The Iranian Sassanian empire is in full sway; big work on agriculture, optimising water use, art, culture, science, maths; it's one of the Big Early Civilisations (and the last pre-muslim Persian empire, for wine purposes)
now, I have to be boring and say we don't know why someone did this but someone made a clay jar with a thick copper cylinder in the middle, put something that left an acid residue in that and left it sealed with asphalt with an iron rod poking through the cylinder & out the top
the person who first looked at the thing was for obvious 'pillaging bits from archaeological sites despite knowing nothing about them' reasons a Western European, Wilhelm Konig, who was in 1936 in charge of the national museum of Iraq - when this was found, 30km outside Baghdad
he decided it *was* a battery and theorised it was for managing current to galvanise precious metals, which was the sort of clever process the Sassanians were very into for ornate art objects (which this ugly little jar is clearly not one of)
other people have since said it could be a jar used to hold a parchment scroll (that was wound around the iron spike) and realistically we may never know due to some invaders having shock and awed that bit of Iraq pretty heavily this century (there were similar finds nearby)
whatever it actually was, the thing that's cool about it is: if it was a battery, it worked.

all you need for a battery (this is why lemons work) is a plus end (one metal) a minus end (another metal) and to connect the two with an electrolyte - something acidic, like wine
this doesn't point to like, alien-grade 'wow, civilisation is out of step with itself' - if Sassanians were storing charge or experimenting with it, they didn't work out how to do much with it and this would be a crude, very low level cell (v much like a lemon battery tbh)
but yeah if you make a sealed copper chamber and put something acidic in it, then put another metal into it then you have a galvanic cell

and that's how the first thing that deliberately or coincidentally functioned as a battery was made of wine 🍷
You can follow @HSouthwellFE.
Tip: mention @twtextapp on a Twitter thread with the keyword “unroll” to get a link to it.

Latest Threads Unrolled:

By continuing to use the site, you are consenting to the use of cookies as explained in our Cookie Policy to improve your experience.