The Electrochemical Cell
   The first Electrochemical Cell was the  Voltaic Pile described by Volta in 1800. This led to a great deal of experimentation with different electrode materials, electrolytes and physical construction. Other electrochemical cells were developed by Wollaston, Hare, Daniell, Grove, Bunsen, Callan, Smee, Walker, Davy, Meidinger, Minotto, De la Rive and Müller, Latimer Clark, Leclanche, and doubtless others.
   The Leclanche Cell was described by Georges Leclanche (1839-1882) in 1867. The two electrodes are carbon and zinc, with a sal ammoniac electrolyte. The carbon electrode is mixed with manganese peroxide. This battery was used mainly for intermittent service, such as ringing electric bells.
  The potassium bichromate cell developed by Grenet usually has the characteristic bulbous shape of the glass container of the two examples at the right and left. The center electrode is a strip of zinc, and slides up and down on a brass rod to stop the electrolytic action when the cell is open-circuited. The two outer electrodes are flat strips of carbon, and the electrolyte is potassium bichromate. 
            Transylvania University                                                                                                  Glasgow University
   This four-cell Leclanche plunge battery in the museum of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland, was made by "Yeates & Son, opticians to the University, Dublin" about 1875. The cases for the individual cells are made of ebonite (hard rubber) and the crank and rod at the top allow the electrodes to be raised from the electrolytes. This is necessary because the zinc electrode material is eaten away by the electrolyte when the battery is unconnected to an external circuit. 

   Note the use of the word "battery" here to denote a series of electrochemical cells connected together in series. This comes from the nomenclature of early Condensers .

   This is a home-made version of Crosse's water battery, which was used for charging  Quadrant Electrometers and other high voltage and negligible current applications. It consists of a large number (100 in this case) of short glass test-tubes filled with water, and connected to each other by metallic jumpers. The jumpers are bimetallic: one side is copper and the other is zinc. The electrolyte is the water. 

   Andrew Crosse (1784-1855) was a country gentleman of independent means. He demonstrated his water battery at a meeting of the British Association at Bristol in 1836.

   This example in in the apparatus collection of Kenyon College, and is the only one I have ever seen.

   On the glass jar of this battery is impressed the words "Novelty Electrical Company of Phila." The 1896 catalogue of the Chicago Laboratory Supply & Scale Co. notes that this is a "Grenet Battery, American Form, 1 quart size, $2.00". The French form has the bulbous glass jar shown in the examples above.

   The battery is in the collection of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

   This handsome, six-element plunge battery is in the Jack Judson Collection at the Magic Lantern Museum in San Antonio, Texas. It is marked "C.H. Stoelting Co." of Chicago. 

   The 1912 Stoelting catalogue lists a six cell plunge battery at $16.00. All of the cell tops holding the two carbon and one zinc electrodes can be lifted simultaneously by turning the crank; the flat ladder-chain drive at the left end lifts the sliding wooden frame holding the top of each cell. Or, one or more of the cells can be placed in use, with the electrodes of the others hooked over the horizontal brass rod to keep them out of the electrolyte.  

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