Open main menu

Francisco Salva Campillo (Catalan: Francesc Salvà i Campillo, July 12, 1751 – February 13, 1828) was a Spanish Catalan prominent late-Enlightenment period scientist known for working as a physician, physicist, meteorologist.


Early life and educationEdit

Francisco Salva Campillo was born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, on July 12, 1751.[1] He was the son of Dr. Jerome Salvà Pontich, a Staff Physician at Barcelona General Hospital and Eulalia Campillo, his mother came from a wealthy family that worked in the pharmacy industry.[1] During his adolescence, his extraordinary abilities attracted the attention of the Bishop of Barcelona, Josep Climent, who advised his parents to let him study medicine in Valencia.[citation needed]

He studied at the University of Valencia, where he completed his course in three years instead of the usual four. In 1771, he successfully passed the B.Phil. degree in Medicine from the University of Huesca, Spain.[1] He later earned his doctorate in medicine at the University of Toulouse.[1]

Medical careerEdit

He started a medical school in Barcelona in an effort to train more doctors and took a special interest in vaccination, particularly against the disease of smallpox. He received several awards from the Paris Society of Medicine.[citation needed]

In 1773, he became, along with Vincent Mitjavila, one of the founding teachers of the Academy of Medical Practice, which is now part of the University of Barcelona (Universitat de Barcelona), Faculty of Medicine.[2] This school was founded in an attempt to unite the two disciplines of clinical and non-clinical studies into a ‘united faculty'.[2]


In 1795, Dr. Salva presented at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona (Spanish: Real Academia de Ciencias y Artes de Barcelona) his first report devoted to "Electricity Applied to Telegraphy."[3][4] Salva demonstrated the basis of electric telegraphy, anticipating the wireless telegraph and undersea cables.[3]

The presentation of Salva attracted the attention of government and he received a formal invitation to demonstrate his telegraphic skills before the Royal Family in Aranjuez.[4]


Salva died on February 13, 1828. He left behind a massive library composed of more than five hundred thousand volumes on medical topics. Along with these works, he bequeathed to the Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona a sum of four thousand pounds and in accordance with his will, his heart is preserved in an urn, with his books at the same location.[citation needed]

Artist Paul DeMarinis was inspired by Salva for his work The Messenger (1998–2006), which examines the myths of electricity in communication.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Yuste, A. P. (November 2010). "Francisco Salva's Electric Telegraph [Scanning Our Past]". Proceedings of the IEEE. 98 (11): 1974–1977. doi:10.1109/JPROC.2010.2068394. ISSN 0018-9219.
  2. ^ a b "Universitat de Barcelona - Faculty of Medicine". Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  3. ^ a b Romeu, J.; Elias, A. (July 2001). "Early proposals of wireless telegraphy in Spain: Francisco Salva Campillo (1751-1828)" (PDF). IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society International Symposium. 2001 Digest. Held in conjunction with: USNC/URSI National Radio Science Meeting (Cat. No.01CH37229). 1: 10–13 vol.1. doi:10.1109/APS.2001.958781. On 16th December 1795 Salvá presented the paper “Electricity applied to telegraphy”.
  4. ^ a b "Salva y Campillo, Francisco (1751 - 1828)". Digital Mechanism and Gear Library (DMG-LIB). Retrieved 2018-10-24. In 1795 appeared before the Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts of Barcelona with his first report dedicated to "Electricity applied to telegraphy"., Salva's presentation drew the Spanish government attention, which sent a formal invitation for a demonstration before the Royal Family in Aranjuez.
  5. ^ Paul, Christiane (2016). A Companion to Digital Art. John Wiley & Sons. p. 93. ISBN 1118475186.

External linksEdit