About batteries: the primary cell

In 1786 biologist Luigi Galvani dissected a frog. Every time Galvani's steel scalpel touched a brass hook that was holding the frog’s leg in place, the leg would twich. Galvani believed that this energy came from within the animal and called it ‘animal electricity’

Galvani’s friend and associate Alessandro Volta disagreed. He was convinced that the electricity was generated by the two dissimilar metals in a moist medium. Experiments confirmed this and in 1797 Volta built the first real battery, the Voltaic Pile. The pile consisted of 49 pairs of alternating copper and zinc discs, which were separated by cloth, soaked in brine. When both ends were connected to a conducter a current would run.

In a voltaic pile electricity is generated by chemical reaction and, once exhausted, the pile cannot be recharged. This is called a primary cell.