A battery, which is actually an
electric cell, is a device that produces electricity from a chemical reaction.
Strictly speaking, a battery consists of two or more cells connected in
series or parallel, but the term is generally used for a single cell. A
cell consists of a negative electrode; an electrolyte, which conducts ions;
a separator, also an ion conductor; and a positive electrode. Continue
with How Batteries Work/Battery Types
Timeline of Battery History
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
sulfate and zinc sulfate. 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.
1839 to 1842 - 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
1866 - French engineer, Georges
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
1881 - J.A. Thiebaut patented the
first battery with both the negative electrode and porous pot placed in a
1881 - Carl Gassner invented the
first commercially successful dry cell battery (zinc-carbon cell).
1899 - Waldmar Jungner invented the
first nickel-cadmium rechargeable battery.
1949 - Lew
the small alkaline battery.
1954 - Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin invented
the first solar battery.
Volta Biography of Alessandro Volta the inventor of the first practical battery in
Alkaline Battery Lew Urry developed the small alkaline
battery in 1949. The inventor was working for the Eveready Battery Co.
at their research laboratory in Parma, Ohio. Alkaline batteries last five
to eight times as long as zinc-carbon cells, their predecessors. This was
not a patentable invention, since Volta and others long ago created the
principles of batteries.
Battery 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.
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.
of photovoltaics includes the discovery of the solar battery. PV is
the technological basis for solar power.