This graphic is from a 1920's original Edison Battery manual. The 10 page manual talks about the using these cells in old vehicle applications. It is really awesome because it clearly shows the plates in the battery with spacers separating the plates. Modern batteries look terrible when cut to expose cross sections because the plates have been made so thin to increase efficiency that there isn't much to look at. I'm not complaining about the convenience of modern battery technology, but older batteries are much better for illustrating the setup of the plates.
The Edison battery is simple in how it is organized and it was revolutionary for its time. Edison was not the first to invent an battery, Alessandro Volta's development of the electrochemical cell was one of the first movements in the direction of modern battery technology. However, there is evidence that batteries may have been is use over a millennium earlier than Volta's experiments.
Somewhat of a demogorgon, the Baghdad battery is the common name for an ancient Mesopotamian artifact speculated to have been an ancient source of electric power. The battery was composed of a iron core and a copper sheet serving as the plates. The plates were sealed in a clay jar an sealed tight. It is suspected that the jar was filled with an organic acid such as fruit juice or vinegar. The supporting evidence exists, which leaves only one question, what did the ancient Mesopotamians need with a battery?