Talk:Baghdad Battery

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Dating, picture[edit]

Was the original discovery simply a reported event, or is there an actual artifact?

There is an actual artefact. In fact, about a dozen of them.

Has it been dated? How?

No. The date is pure speculation. No components of the devices are amenable to dating, and - according to Dr St John Simpson of the Near Eastern department of the British Museum - their context was not properly recorded. König thought they were Parthian because the village in which they were said to have been found was Parthian; the Parthian culture disappeared around the mid-3rd century AD. However the style of the pottery is Sassanian (224-640 AD). Given the relatively mild degree of corrosion of the iron rods (despite being the anode of electochemical couple!), one would think that latest possible plausible date would be the one to plump for, but oddly enough everyone goes for the earliest possible date that is vaguely supportable. Securiger 10:02, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Can we get a diagram for wikipedia? There are a lot of examples online to draw from. - Omegatron 15:52, 8 June 2004 (UTC)

Generally rejected?[edit]

Permit me to be the skeptic here.

The Baghdad Battery is believed to be about 2000 years old (from the Parthian period, roughly 250 BCE to CE 250). The jar was found in Khujut Rabu just outside Baghdad and is composed of a clay jar with a stopper made of asphalt. Sticking through the asphalt is an iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder. When filled with vinegar - orany other electrolytic solution - the jar produces about 1.1 volts.
There is no written record as to the exact function of the jar, but the best guess is that it was a type of battery. Scientists believe the batteries (if that is their correct function) were used to electroplate items such as putting a layer of one metal (gold) onto the surface of another (silver), a method still practiced in Iraq today.

http://www.smith.edu/hsc/museum/ancient_inventions/battery2.html

And it's not the only artifact that may have been a battery:

As a new example, the hypothetic “Thracian battery” presents an interesting opportunity to expose students and interested people to the nature of electrochemistry trough scientific examination of one of the most famous archeological artefacts of the Thracian civilization – the Kazichene treasure.

http://mgu.bg/geoarchmin/naterials/52Chilikov%26Protochristov.pdf Kortoso (talk) 21:52, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Your first link is to a webpage created by a couple of students. Hardly a good source for a "best guess". Your second is to a paper which is speculation by non-archaeologists who are honest about the lack of evidence: " However, no archaeological evidence exists supporting the application of ancient galvanic elements or other similar electrical devices." It's the people who are specialists in archaeology who we should be listening to, not students or experts in other fields. Doug Weller (talk) 10:07, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
A reasonable attitude. I'll give you that. But consider how rare it is for any archeological artifact to be unearthed complete with a user's manual or even a label telling us what it's for. Kortoso (talk) 18:00, 20 November 2015 (UTC)
It is one thing to identify a piece of 2000-year-old equipment as a wine press. There is plenty of evidence from artefacts that wine was made, indeed was a huge industry, in the period, to say nothing of the written record. For batteries, there are no artefacts that batteries could have been used to make (those suggested to be electroplated with gold have been shown to be a different metallurgical process) and there is no written evidence of any such process. It is not for Wikipedia to speculate what an unknown item was used for. If there is expert opinion given such speculation then we can report it, but we should not take our information from those who have little idea what they are talking about. SpinningSpark 11:16, 21 November 2015 (UTC)
For me, the overwhelming evidence that it was not a battery is that the metal parts do not penetrate the asphalt stopper but are embedded within it, and so no electrical connection could be made to them. This is almost never mentioned in descriptions that favour its interpretation as a battery. The reconstruction on the first link, which shows a voltmeter connected to the metal parts outside, is thus inaccurate. —BillC talk 12:25, 22 November 2015 (UTC)
In any case, what we have is an artifact, and scientists and others are presenting theories and hypotheses that might explain its function and use. Not different than any other archeological conundrum, as long as scientific principles are applied. So I wouldn't call this pseudoscience i.e., rejecting the scientific method, although the presumptive title of "battery" may give concern to some people. Kortoso (talk) 22:59, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Asphalt plug[edit]

I have marked as citation needed the claim that the asphalt plug completely sealed in the iron and copper components. According to the Keyser source, they both projected through the plug so this claim should probably be removed. In fact, the whole "Battery hypothesis" section is uncited and sounds like OR of some technically minded editor. SpinningSpark 23:23, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Agreed. I've gone ahead and marked it as such. Kortoso (talk) 23:01, 2 August 2016 (UTC)

Copyvio link?[edit]

[1] looks like copyvio, am I missing something? Doug Weller talk 05:52, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Agreed, it's copyvio. The Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics might be able to justify posting it for their internal use as fair use, but I don't think we should be linking to it per WP:ELNEVER. The JSTOR page has it clearly marked as copyright of University of Chicago Press, so it is not public domain. I found the article directly from JSTOR, I did not previously notice that our link went somewhere else. Now that I have looked at our cite, it is full of unwarranted POV text with lots of "allegeds". I'm going to remove it. Unless there is some evidence, or at least a source that alleges, that Keyser's photos are faked we just shouldn't be saying that. SpinningSpark 12:30, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

POV prevalence in this entry[edit]

Would be good to have a fresh, properly referenced version of this article, which appears to have been targeted by skeptic trolls. Robma (talk) 13:08, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

Um, WP:AGF and WP:NPA? Besides me the main recent editor of this article is User:Spinningspark, are you referring to us as trolls? Doug Weller talk 18:15, 16 August 2016 (UTC)
  • You've been called worse, Doug! Drmies (talk) 20:04, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

That Vanderbilt experiment[edit]

Nick-Stannum, I agree with that removal, if only because the only ground for inclusion is the "inspiration"--which turns out to be limited to "simple design". In other words, there is nothing inherently Baghdadi about the Vandy battery. Drmies (talk) 20:04, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Drmies please read the original paper before concluding. The baghdad battery had iron and copper electrodes. Just like stanford scientists reinvented the Ni-Fe (Edison's battery), the reinvention of the Baghdad battery having iron oxide (steel) and copper oxide (brass) electrodes were achieved in the paper.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nick-Stannum (talkcontribs)

You see, that's part of the problem. We don't know if these artefacts were batteries I also agree with the removal. Doug Weller talk 20:29, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

Doug Weller Isn't it interesting enough to note that these artifacts could be reinvented to function as batteries. The content was in Media section and not in uses or speculation section.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nick-Stannum (talkcontribs)

There is no dispute that a battery can be made from iron-copper-acid. Such an experiment does not help in the slightest to determine whether this artefact was a battery—even if it had been reproduced accurately, unlike the junkyard battery which was significantly different. SpinningSpark 22:50, 11 July 2017 (UTC)