Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(800 words)

The term galvanism denotes a group of phenomena, experiments, and tentative explanations that emerged around 1780 and split after c. 1800 into the fields of electrochemistry and electrophysiology. Beginning in the 1740s, natural scientists began inquiring into the significance of electricity for organisms. In electrical medicine, attempts were made to employ this remarkable “fluid” therapeutically. Experiments on human beings and animals initially left the question whether electricity was something like a “vital principle” a matter of speculation (Animal experimenta…

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Hochadel, Oliver, “Galvanism”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 11 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_019604>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20180208

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