Since galvanic batteries of the type found would generate a sufficiently powerful current for electrogilding small articles fashioned of silver, it might very well be that the origin of the method has to be sought in antiquity." Electrogilding or electroplating basically only requires rods or wire, a couple of simple electric cells (batteries) connected to a bath of common chemicals wherein the items to be electroplated are placed.
The Medzamor craftsmen wore mouth-filters and gloves while they labored and fashioned their wares of copper, lead, zinc, iron, gold, tin, manganese and fourteen kinds of bronze. "The remarkable fact was announced some years ago that certain gastropod mollusca secrete free sulfuric acid; and this has since then been not infrequently observed in the case of the gigantic Dolium galea, which discharges from its proboscis a drop of liquid or saliva that produces a very sensible effervescence on chalk or marble.
The smelters also produced an assortment of metallic paints, ceramics and glass." In the course of the excavation of the Agora in Athens, a roll of sheet zinc, 98% pure, was supposedly found in a sealed deposit dating from the 3rd or 2nd century B. Fragments of a zinc coffin was reported to have fairly recently been discovered in Israel, which, judging by an artifact found nearby, dates back to 50 B. This secretion from different mollusca, carefully analyzed, showed a considerable percentage of free sulphuric acid, some of combined sulphuric acid, combined chlorohydric acid, with potassa, soda, magnesia, and other substances; the glands secreting the liquids constituting from 7 to 9 per cent of the total weight of the animal.
The ancients had access to all of these materials: of the Soviet Union unearthed what is considered to be the oldest large-scale metallurgical factory in the world at Medzamor, in Soviet Armenia.
Here, 4,500 years ago, an unknown prehistoric people worked with over 200 furnaces, producing an assortment of vases, knives, spearheads, rings, bracelets, etc.
It lends itself readily to rugged construction; it is relatively cheap to make and operate; it is very reliable in its action and has a high current output per unit of volume (about 1 ampere hour per 8 cc. The cell is made in units as large as 500 to 1,000 ampere hour sizes.