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Background We think of a battery today as a source of portable power, but it is no exaggeration to say that the battery is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.

Volta's pile was at first a technical curiosity but this new electrochemical phenomenon very quickly opened the door to new branches of both physics and chemistry and a myriad of discoveries, inventions and applications.

He travelled to Egypt and the city state of Babylon in Mesopotamia (now modern day Iraq) and is said to have brought Babylonian mathematics back to Greece.

The following rules are attributed to him: Using the concept of similar triangles he was able to calculate the height of pyramids by comparing the size of their shadows with smaller, similar triangles of known dimensions.

Since the average lunar month is 29.5 days, over 12 months this would produce a total of only 354 days as against a solar year of 365.25 days.

To keep the calendar aligned to the seasons they added seven extra months in each period of 19 years, equivalent to the way we add an extra day in leap years.

Hieroglyphic script evolved slightly later in Egypt. found in a temple at Erech in Mesopotamia show a chariot with solid wooden wheels.

Though the script appeared on vases and stone carvings, many important Egyptian historical scripts and records were written in ink, made from carbon black (soot) or red ochre mixed with gelatin and gum, applied with a reed pen onto papyrus. Evidence from Ur indicates that the simpler potter's wheel probably predates the use of the axled wheel for transport because of the difficulty in designing a reliable mechanism for mounting the rotating wheel on a fixed hub or a rotating axle on the fixed load carrying platform.

They did not have the benefit of cheap, off the shelf, mass produced batteries. Bronze is a relatively hard alloy of copper and tin, better suited for the purpose than the much softer copper enabling improved durability of the weapons and the ability to hold a cutting edge.

For many years the telegraph, and later the telephone, industries were the only consumers of batteries in modest volumes and it wasn't until the twentieth century that new applications created the demand that made the battery a commodity item. The use of bronze for tools and weapons gradually spread to the rest of the World until it was eventually superceded by the much harder iron.

They were also active in the development of many other technologies such as textile weaving, locks and canals, flood control, water storage and irrigation. Sometimes known as the "Second oldest profession", soldering has been known since the Bronze Age (Circa 3000 to 1100 B. A form of soldering to join sheets of gold was known to be used by the Mesopotamians in Ur.

There are also claims that the Archimedes' Screw may have been invented in Mesopotamia and used for the water systems at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Fine metal working techniques were also developed in Egypt where filigree jewellery and cloisonné work found in Tutankhamun's tomb dating from 1327 B. was made from delicate wires which had been drawn through dies and then soldered in place. Fine wire also made by the Egyptians by beating gold sheet and cutting it into strips. Around this date, after his escape from Egypt, Moses ordered the construction of the Ark of the Covenant to house the tablets of stone on which were written the original "Ten Commandments".

He claimed that the gold sheaths separated by the dry acacia wood effectively formed a large capacitor on which a static electrical charge could be built up by friction from the curtains around the Ark and this accounted for the sparks and the electrocution of Aaron's sons.

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