Temporary suspension of EU shipping, view details here.

Apparatus for demonstrating 'animal electricity', early 19th century.

Apparatus for demonstrating 'animal electricity', early 19th century.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 22cm x 32cm


Frogs' legs connected to metal plates, possibly owned by Italian physicist and inventor, Count Alessandro Giuseppe Anastasio Volta (1745-1827). Luigi Galvani (1737-1798), another Italian, discovered 'animal electricity' in the late 18th century. This demonstrated that nerves and muscles in animals function by tiny electrical currents, and can be stimulated by the application of electricity from outside. This discovery was taken up by society and electrical treatments were soon in great fashion, and were believed to be able to cure all manner of complaints, from gout to paralysis. The term 'galvanise' - to shock or excite into action - takes its name from Galvani. Illustration from Volta's 'Le opere di Alessandro Volta' (The works of Alessandro Volta), published in Milan, 1918-1929.

Image Details

Image Ref.

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

buy a print

Select size
Select finish
How many prints?

buy a framed print

buy a canvas

buy a framed canvas