Excerpt from The Electrolysis of Water: Processes and Applications
J. W. Ritter in the year 1798 recognized also the relation between chemical and electrochemical phenomena, but the electrolytic action could not be further investigated until a more powerful means was at hand ... than the simple pairs of metallic plates known in 1800. The Voltaic couple first gave to investigators of that time the assistance which was needed.
As Ostwald says in his classical work3 the chemical action of the Voltaic pile escaped observation by Volta himself.
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