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the history of batteries

The History of Batteries

Batteries have become an integral part of our daily lives. Every technological thing that is used

today runs on batteries of some sort; phones, laptops, televisions, controllers, cars, the list goes


You can easily find batteries of your choice on websites like Spares2you. Though batteries are so

important and are the power source to some of the most significant things that allow the human

life to prosper, yet very little information is known about them. It is time that you learned about

the history of batteries.

Voltaic Pile

Alessandro Volta was a scientist the end of the 1700’s. After a partner of his found that a frog he

recently dissected twitched when he touched it with his metal rod, he investigated the

phenomena. He hypothesised that the twitch actually came from two different metals interacting

together through a moist intermediary and ran experiments to prove it. Nine years later, in 1800,

after many tests and experiments, he created the first battery with a stack of copper and with a

layer of cloth completely soaked in brine in between. However, he soon found that short-circuits

were occurring because of the towel leaking, resulting in a short battery life.

Daniell Cell

John Frederic Daniell was a British Scientist who wanted to resolve the issues from Volta’s

battery. In 1936, he invented the Daniell Cell. This battery contained of a copper pot full of a

copper sulphate solution that was then filled with porous earthenware, thus allowing ions to pass

through without the solutions mixing. The cell was a vast enhancement of the previous battery

because of its reliability. It became the standard industry use and was used with the telegraph

networks. This was the greatest wet battery invention before dry cells were created.

zinc carbon cell

Zinc-Carbon Cell

Wet cells were inconvenient because they spilt, required maintenance, and only had limited use.

Carl Gassner invented it in 1886 by using a paste instead of a liquid electrolyte. Over time, the

National Carbon Company mass-produced a version of the battery created by Gassner, though

they eventually replaced the paste with coiled cardboard, making it easier to manufacturer. The

Zinc-Carbon cell became the industry standard for over 50 years, most notably leading to the

powering of the flashlight.

Lithium-Based Batteries

Lithium became very important for batteries because of multiple reasons. It has the lowest

density while boasting highest electrochemical potential, along with the energy-to-weight ratio.

It was also very lightweight and small. Throughout a majority of the 1900’s experimentation

occurred, eventually leading to three-volt lithium batteries for cameras and very small devices. In

1997, Sony released the lithium polymer battery. These batteries hold their electrolyte in the

form of a polymer composite that is solid, rather than a liquid solvent. The difference allows it to

be encased in a wrapping that is flexible, instead of a metal casing, allowing it to be shaped to a

particular device. These are the batteries that power almost all brands of smart phones.

Batteries Have Come a Long Way

Batteries evolved from something that could barely emit a volt of energy for one minute to

powerful energy that powers mobile phones for hours and hours a day. It took over a hundred

years of experimentation and knowledge to get to the point they are at today. A few companies

have become battery powerhouses and are constantly researching to create more efficient

batteries. Whether you use Energizer batteries or Duracell rechargeable batteries, remember

the hard work that has gone into advancing the technology.

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