- Category: Tech old & new
- Published: Wednesday, 07 September 2016 23:53
- Written by Catpaw
- Hits: 2795
Every time you fire up your phone, stop and offer thanks to English chemist and all around polymath, John Frederick Daniell (1790–1845). He’s the dapper dude to the right. No, he didn’t design the first battery, he was second, but his design has been described as the first practical battery. Alessandro Volta (volt .. volta … get it?) developed the first battery.
Daniell was a typical 19th century intellectual – a busy, active mind that wasn’t constrained by one discipline – chemistry, physics, meteorological, climatology and a little bit of geology thrown in. He started his career working at a sugar works where he developed a technique for clarifying sugar. He later went on to patent his idea. I tried to find the patent, but had no luck. Anyone want to fund a trip to the UK archives? I think I could spend a lifetime there looking at patents. Anyway, while working at the sugar plant, he attended lectures at the Great Windmill Street Anatomical School in London. It was there that his interest in chemistry was encouraged. He sat in on lectures by William Thomas Brande, chemist, author of the Manual of Chemistry and later professor at the Royal Institute. The Great Windmill had a powerful influence on Daniell’s passion for chemistry. While there, he formed a lasting friendship with both Brande and Michael Faraday – a name that should ring a bell or two with most of you.Add a comment