In the late 18th century, scientists were fascinated with electricity. Ben Franklin had conducted his famous kite experiment, drawing electricity from lightning in 1752. Leyden jars, invented in 1746, could store charge and produce a spark of electricity. Doctors were treating patients with electric shocks for all sorts of ills. But further research on electromagnetism and any practical use of electricity would require a source of continuous current, which was not available until 1800, when Alessandro Volta invented the first electric pile, the forerunner of the modern battery.