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Is the Baghdad Battery a battery? © Irønie, Wikipedia

Was the Baghdad Battery really a battery?

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The Baghdad Battery, otherwise known as the Parthian Battery, was an artefact hypothesised to be an ancient version of a battery.

Asked by: Edward Seymour, Hove 

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Found in 1938 by a German archaeologist, the ‘Baghdad Battery’ could be 2,000 years old, and consists of a clay jar, a copper cylinder and an iron rod. If filled with a weak acid, like vinegar, the combination produces around 1 volt.

Yet while even some experts refer to it as a battery, its true origin and purpose remains unclear. One idea is that it was used for electroplating objects with precious metals.

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Authors

Robert is a science writer and visiting professor of science at Aston University.

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