History of Galvanism

Luigi_Galvani“Galvanism” is defined as the effect of the application of direct electric current to the body causing muscle contraction.  Scientist Luigi Galvani, was dissected frog in his laboratory while an electrical storm raged outside. When he touched the muscles of the frog with his brass scissors the muscles twitched. His notes postulate the lightning in the air exerted some influence over the frog’s nerves and muscles.

Later that year, during another frog dissecting experiment, his lab assistant touched the lumbar nerve with a scalpel causing the frog’s legs to twitch. There was no electrical storm, but there was an electrostatic generator on in the laboratory. Galvani started to experiment with the relationship between electricity and dead frogs’ leg movement. He postulated electrical energy was intrinsic to biological movement. The metal of the scissors and scalpel served as conductors providing a terminal for the static discharge, causing the muscles to move. Galvani felt electricity was the “vital force” of life.

In 1791 he published De viribus electricitatis in motu musculari commentarius, proclaiming to the world electricity was the force of life.

2 Replies to “History of Galvanism”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.