b. 1745, England
d. 1800, England
|William Cruickshank, an English chemist, designed the first electric battery capable of mass production by joining zinc and copper plates in a wooden box filled with electrolyte. He also performed experiments leading to electroplating.|
|The first of the long list of those to improve the
battery was Dr. William Cruickshank who also discovered
the metal strontium in 1787. In 1802, Dr. William
Cruickshank designed the first electric battery capable
of mass production. Cruickshank had arranged square
sheets of copper, which he soldered at their ends,
together with sheets of zinc of equal size. These sheets
were placed into a long rectangular wooden box that was
sealed with cement. Grooves in the box held the metal
plates in position. The box was then filled with an
electrolyte of brine, or watered down acid. This flooded
design had the advantage of not drying out with use and
provided more energy than Voltas disc arrangement.
Cruickshank and the first flooded battery
With this battery Dr. Cruickshank was able to extract metals
out of their solutions, thereby establishing the art of
electroplating. Although the new arrangement was an important
improvement, the cells still leaked and were untidy. Cruickshank
decomposed the chlorides of magnesia, soda and ammonia and he was
able to precipitate pure copper and silver from their salt
solutions - a process that led to the beginnings of the great
metal refineries of today.
|William Cruickshank, an English chemist, after
reading Volta's letter built a battery of electric "cells"
by joining zinc and copper plates in a prepared wooden
box. With this, the first improvement on Volta's battery,
he decomposed compounds and electroplated metals.
(from Le Regne de l'Electricite, 1895)
Additional discoveries showed that the liquid around the poles connected with the positive wire of the battery proved to be alkaline and the liquid around the negative wire was shown to be acid. Finally, the common term "cell" associated with the elements of an electric battery was derived from Cruickshank's arrangement of elements in his trough battery.
This text has been compiled from
the biography of
Cruickshank available in the Internet:
( 1 , 2 )
(updated & corrected on April 4, 2003)