ALLESANDRO VOLTA ~~ THE INVENTOR OF THE BATTERY
SENDING METAL “PLATES” OR COMPONENTS OF HIS ‘VOLTAIC PILE’ TO A SCIENTIFIC COLLEAGUE!
VOLTA, ALLESANDRO (1745-1827) Italian physicist, chemist and pioneer of electricity research; best known for the development of the first electric cell [battery] in 1800. Exceptional, and rare, Autograph Letter Signed, “A. Volta”, in Italian. One full page, quarto. Milano, April 14, 1813. To: ”Mr Sig[nore] Doct[or] Pieto, Professor, University of Pavia”. Volta writes:
“As you had Roccagni direct me to do, I am sending your father the large and medium-size plates that I realize I have with the respective boxes. Of the medium-size plates, just over 4 centimeters, there are 10, of the big ones, 10 centimeters, there are only six: there were 12, but I just remembered that I had 6 of them cut into quarters for short comparisons. Those with the smallest […?] I am keeping for my own use, but you can use the ones I am sending you, full size just as they were sold to me before the end of June.
Your passing through Milano always goes so fast that only rarely do I have the pleasure of seeing you, and then only for a short time. But I hope that we will enjoy a longer time together this summer there at your Lario (Lake Como).
Think well of me; I am, Yours truly, Your friend A. Volta.”
While we can not be absolutely certain, we believe that the ‘plates’ to which Volta refers are the copper and zinc plates used in the construction of his voltaic pile or battery designs. Just an exceptional letter from this pioneer of physics and chemistry. Very fine condition.