The story of the battery begins inside a hanged murderer. It’s a technology which has been truly revolutionary, and it’s a tale which is far from over.
Murderers in early 19th century London feared surviving their executions. That’s because their bodies were often handed to scientists for strange anatomical experiments. If George Foster, executed in 1803, had woken up on the lab table, it would have been in particularly undignified circumstances. In front of a large London crowd, an Italian scientist with a flair for showmanship was sticking an electrode up Foster’s rectum. This is how the story of the battery begins – a technology which has been truly revolutionary. As Tim Harford explains, it’s a story which is far from over.
Producer: Ben Crighton
Editors: Richard Knight and Richard Vadon
(Image: Used Batteries, Credit: Gerard Julien/Getty Images)