Before 1900, electrochemical experiments focused on thermodynamic aspects and, thus, were reduced to potential measurements of systems, which were stationary or in equilibrium. But with time, scientists became interested in kinetics, i.e., systems away from equilibrium . This was often realized by constant current (galvanostatic) experiments, which were for two reasons advantageous: they were easily realized and guaranteed a constant reaction rate, which was relevant in some cases. Moreover, time dependent reactions could be monitored, if the potential was recorded versus time. These “charging curves”  were the main technique to follow electrode kinetics up to the 60s of the last century.
Potentiostats were much later developed. The first completely electronic device was presented by Hickling in 1942 , and from 1960 most galvanostatic experiments were substituted by potentiostatic sweep techniques.
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