WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: Story of Ancient Electricity

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Story of Ancient Electricity

Bagdad Battery
The ancient battery in the Baghdad Museum

Ancient Electricity Generation and Using Procedure

Herein this article will try the understand the history of the first electricity evaluation and ancient electricity generation procedures and the uses of electricity. We also introduce our-self to Bagdad Battery.

History of Electricity

In 600 BC Thales of Miletus (a Greek colony on the west coast of present-day Turkey) writes about amber (elektron in Greek) with cat fur and picks up bits of feathers, becoming charged by rubbing - he was describing what we now call static electricity.

There is a tale, in 900 BC Magnus, a Greek shepherd walks across a field of black stones which pull the iron nails out of his sandals and the iron tip from his shepherd's stuff. This region becomes known as Magnesia.


Baghdad battery

Some say electricity was originally generated and widely utilized in ancient Egypt, the Baghdad battery and the first arc lights were used at that time.

In 1936, during the excavation wreck of a 2000-year-old village Khuyut Rabbou'a, near Baghdad in Iraq, archeologist workers found some extraordinary normal bottle-type yellow clay vases. 

They got enough evidence to prove that this vase was used as electricity stuff, this is what they called Baghdad Battery, sometimes referred to as Parthian Battery.

In 1940, Wilhelm Konig, the German director of the National Museum of Iraq, published a paper wondering if the Baghdad Battery may have been galvanic cells, perhaps gold used for electroplating onto silver. 

It helps Mr. Konig come to this conclusion because other vases which were excavated from Sumerian sites in southern Iraq, were lightly tapped on it and a blue patina or film separated from the surface, which is like silver electroplated onto a copper base. Mr. Konig’s this philosophy is a hypothetical understanding of the possibility of ancient electricity generation.

In the latter, based on Mr. Konig’s hypothesis some scientists make replicas of Baghdad Battery and produce some electricity which proves his theory. 

You may read to know: 

As per Wikipedia,  the electricity history of Ancient Greece and Rome- 
Electric fishes were known to Aristotle, Theophrastus, and Pliny the Elder among other classical authors. They did not always distinguish between the marine torpedo ray and the freshwater electric catfish.

Electricity in 600 BC

A Greek named Thales discovered that amber, when rubbed with silk, attracted feathers and other light objects. This is static electricity. The Greek word for amber is 'ëelectron', which is where words such as 'electricity' and 'electron' come from.

In science, electricity and its history is a fascinating topic that can help our understanding of how life has changed because of electricity.



  1. Baghdad battery like a flower vase
    how does it work??

    1. Yes, I think so;
      Scientists are analysing how ancient people use this technology.


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