History of Batteries

1748

 
Benjamin Franklin first coined the term “battery” to describe an array of charged glass plates.
 

1780 to 1786

 
Luigi Galvani demonstrated what we now understand to be the electrical basis of nerve impulses and provided the cornerstone of research for later inventors like Volta.
 

1800

 
Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic pile and discovered the first practical method of generating electricity. Constructed of alternating discs of zinc and copper with pieces of cardboard soaked in brine between the metals, the voltic pile produced electrical current. The metallic conducting arc was used to carry the electricity over a greater distance. Alessandro Volta’s voltaic pile was the first “wet cell battery” that produced a reliable, steady current of electricity.
 

1836

 
Englishman, John F. Daniel invented the Daniel Cell that used two electrolytes: copper sulphate and zinc sulphate. The Daniel Cell was somewhat safer and less corrosive then the Volta cell.
 

1839

 
William Robert Grove developed the first fuel cell, which produced electrical by combining hydrogen and oxygen. Also Inventors created improvements to batteries that used liquid electrodes to produce electricity. Bunsen (1842) and Grove (1839) invented the most successful.
 

1859

 
French inventor, Gaston Plante developed the first practical storage lead-acid battery that could be recharged (secondary battery). This type of battery is primarily used in cars today.
 

1866

 
French engineer, Ge orges Leclanche patented the carbon-zinc wet cell battery called the Leclanche cell. According to the History of Batteries: “George Leclanche’s original cell was assembled in a porous pot. The positive electrode consisted of crushed manganese dioxide with a little carbon mixed in. The negative pole was a zinc rod. The cathode was packed into the pot, and a carbon rod was inserted to act as a currency collector. The anode or zinc rod and the pot were then immersed in an ammonium chloride solution. The liquid acted as the electrolyte, readily seeping through the porous cup and making contact with the cathode material. The liquid acted as the electrolyte, readily seeping through the porous cup and making contact with the cathode material.”
 

1868

 
Twenty thousand of Georges Leclanche’s cells were now being used with telegraph equipment.
 

1881

 
J.A. Thiebaut patented the first battery with both the negative electrode and porous pot placed in a zinc cup.
 

1881

 
Carl Gassner invented the first commercially successful dry cell battery (zinc-carbon cell).
 

1889

 
Waldmar Jungner invented the first nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery.
 

1901

 
Thomas Alva Edison invented the alkaline storage battery.
 

1949

 

The alkaline battery was developed in 1949 by Lew Urry at the Eveready Battery Company Laboratory in Parma, Ohio. Alkaline batteries could supply more total energy at higher currents than the Leclanché batteries. Further improvements since then have increased the energy storage within a given size package.
 

1954 – Solar Cells

 

Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin invented the first solar. A solar battery converts the sun’s energy to electricity. In 1954, Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin invented the first solar battery. The inventors created an array of several strips of silicon (each about the size of a razorblade), placed them in sunlight, captured the free electrons and turned them into electrical current. Bell Laboratories in New York announced the prototype manufacture of a new solar battery. Bell had funded the research. The first public service trial of the Bell Solar Battery began with a telephone carrier system (Americus, Georgia) on October 4 1955.

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