Did Jan Swammerdam Do the First Electric Stimulation over 100 Years before Luigi Galvani?

  • J. A. Malmivuo
  • J. Honkonen
  • K. E. Wendel
Conference paper
Part of the IFMBE Proceedings book series (IFMBE, volume 41)


It is generally believed that the first experiment on bimetallic electric stimulation of living body was made by Luigi Galvani with frog leg in 1786. Galvani however succeeded to produce electric stimulation of the frog leg already in 1781 with electricity produced with electric machine. It has been suggested by Rowbottom and Susskind that the first bimetallic stimulation of the frog muscle was done already in 1664 by Jan Swammerdam, who apparently did not understand the mechanism of this stimulation.

We made an analysis of Swammerdam’s experiment and repeated it with frog leg. We found that it is theoretically thinking very probable that Swammerdam’s experiment produced bimetallic electric stimulation of the muscle. We verified this with successful experiment. We believe that our work verifies that the first documented bimetallic electric stimulation of muscle was made by Jan Swammerdam in 1664.


Bimetallic stimulation frog muscle 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. A. Malmivuo
    • 1
  • J. Honkonen
    • 2
  • K. E. Wendel
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ElectronicsAalto UniversityEspooFinland
  2. 2.Idman Airfield LightingVantaaFinland
  3. 3.Department of Electronics and CommunicationTampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland

Personalised recommendations