Anatomy of a Battery
Batteries may seem very complicated, and difficult to understand. But if you get down to the base of its creation it's actually pretty simple! Batteries were originally made up of copper, zinc, which were separated by a paper or cloth soaked in a chemical solution. The zinc oxidizes (meaning it loses electrons) the electrons travel around and through the copper, and are eventually gained by the water in the solution. This process is called, the oxidation reduction cycle and was invented by Alessandro Volta.
The story begins in the 1700's, with two Italian scientists. Luigi Galvani, and Alessandro Volta. It all started with the dissection of a frog. Galvani swiped the leg of a frog with a metal instrument. By doing so, the leg jerked. Galvani then concluded that all life holds a certain electricity and named this electricity "Animal Electricity." But Volta thought differently.
Volta thought that Galvani's prediction was wrong and said that it was the metal instrument that caused the jerk of the leg. The two faced off, and Volta was the victor. Volta created and used the oxidation reduction cycle to prove his theory. There was in fact a flaw in Volta's theory though. Volta thought the energy in the cycle transferred from the zinc straight to the solution, when the energy actually traveled through the copper before entering into the solution. But we still celebrate Volta's discovery to this day and even named our measurement of electricity after him (the volt).
But the simple cycle wasn't enough. Chemists and scientists had to discover a way to reverse the cycle in order to maintain energy/ electricity in a product. This is how we got the batteries we have in these modern days.