We mentioned this a few years ago on our old site but thought an update was warranted.
I’m not precisely certain what Melinda Newman used a galvanic battery for, but it was listed in the 1860-era inventory of her estate in Linn County, Iowa. And at a value of $10 it obviously was not a trifling item. I could not remember having come across a battery in an inventory from this time period before.
An advertisement for these galvanic batteries was found in the Springfield [Massachusetts] Republican of 12 August 1850. Apparently a galvanic battery could be used for a variety of health-related purposes. Whether Melinda used the battery for medical purposes is only speculation. The farm on which she lived in Linn County, Iowa, was a small one she purchased herself after her husband died in White County, Indiana, in 1861. She moved to Linn County, Iowa to be near several of her children who had settled there. After her husband’s death, her remaining children left Iowa for points west.
These batteries were also helpful in the extraction of teeth as well.
There’s a website with images of a variety of galvanic batteries here.