William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle

William Nicholson and Anthony Carlisle

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: William Nicholson (1753-1815) English physicist and inventor and Anthony Carlisle (1768-1840), English surgeon. In 1800 Nicholson made the first Voltaic Pile constructed in England which he and Carlisle used for their experiments.They took a small tube, mounted vertically, filled with water then sealed, into which at either end was inserted a platinum wire connected to one of the two battery terminals. As the tips of the wires were gradually advanced towards each other they observed that a stream of bubbles was produced from each tip, one found to be of oxygen, the other hydrogen. The electric current decomposed the water into the two gases of which it is made. Nicholson and Carlisle had discovered electrolysis from which developed the science of electrochemistry. Three sources of electricity are shown, the Voltaic Pile, a frictional electrical generator and two Leyden Jars.

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Keywords: 1800, 19th century, anthony carlisle, carlisle, electric current, electrochemistry, electrolysis, first voltaic battery, hydrogen, inventor, leyden jars, nicholson, nicholson and carlisle, oxygen, physicist, surgeon, voltaic pile, william nicholson

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