Joseph Henry Unveils Large Galvanic Battery

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At Princeton's commencement, Joseph Henry exhibits the large galvanic battery he had begun constructing in early 1833. It would become one of the most important scientific instruments in Henry's Princeton laboratory, and its completion was an essential first step for the resumption of his electrical research. It is described in Henry's "Contributions I: Battery," a paper read before the American Philosophical Society in January 1835. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)
  • American Philosophical Society


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Reingold, Nathan, ed. The Papers of Joseph Henry, The Princeton Years, November 1832 - December 1835, vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975, pp. 100-01.
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, p. 142

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


September 1834


  • Electricity
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Education
  • Inventions
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electric power supplies to apparatus
  • Educators
  • Teaching
  • Teachers
  • Electric batteries


Princeton (N.J.)

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