The History Of Car Batteries
Retracing the enduring history of car batteries, from 19th-century France to underneath the hood of your car.
Your car engine, with its mighty roar, may get all the glory, but without the silent understated work of the vehicles battery, your vehicle isnt going anywhere.
We will concede the car battery is not the sexiest component of an automobile. Not only is it not seen or heard, it doesnt come equipped with showboating descriptors like 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 that car engines do. But dont be confused car batteries are vital. Not only would vehicles not be able to operate electrical systems like lights, heated seats and air conditioning without them, but vehicles themselves wouldnt be able to start without the humble lead-acid battery found in most cars today.
But the history of car batteries begins well before we had any cars.
Uses Of The Battery Throughout History
What was that 2,000 year old battery actually used for? We may neverknow, but we do know that batteries have been used throughout history ina number of different ways. John Frederic Daniells battery, the firstpractical version of the device, was used in telegraphs. A variant ofthe Daniell cell, the gravity cell, was actually still used in sometelegraph way stations as recently as the 1950s.In 1859, Gaston Plante created a lead-acid battery. This battery wasfairly heavy and rather bulky when compared to some others, but it had afew advantages: it could produce very large currents of power in surges,plus it could power multiple circuits at once. Today, automobile andforklift batteries are still based on Plantes lead-acid battery, andthe basic design hasnt changed.The battery created by Georges Leclanche has been used to powertelephones and in other telegraphy applications, and the dry cellzinc-carbon battery created by Carl Gassner that built upon Leclanchesbattery is also still manufactured today.Batteries have been used to power many different things: telegraphs,cars, watches, household appliances, and even space exploration probeslike the Mars rover. Because electricity is a clean form of energy, moreand more people are looking to batteries to replace things that runon gasoline and other types of fossil fuels.
Battery C And President Lincoln
When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Fords Theater, four members of Thompsons Independent Battery C were present and, with two other soldiers, carried the dying President across the street. According to a January 16, 1936 article in the Westinghouse Valley News, they were: Jacob J. Soles, John Corey, Jacob Griffiths and William Sample.
Jacob Soles is quoted in a February 11, 1933 article in the Washington Daily News, as saying: It was awfully still in the theater at that minute. Suddenly a shot cracked in the darkness. Mrs. Lincoln, I think it was, was the first to scream the President is shot! We were at Lincolns side in a second. We lifted him up. He felt limp, as if all the fight had gone out of him. Guards cleared the aisles and we walked to the door and then directly across the streetthe six of us carrying him as gently as we could. We carried him across the street and up the steps of the house. Someone directed us to a room, where we put Lincoln in a bed.
A great leader died and Battery C, with the nation, mourned an irreplaceable loss. The Washington Daily News article noted that Soles was an orderly and was frequently assigned to carry messages to the White House. He said President Lincoln would often nod or smile at the young messenger. Jacob Soles lived to be 90 and died in Turtle Run, PAthe last Civil War Veteran of his community.
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Cedar Mountain A Most Sanguinary Battle
Thompsons Battery fought in its first major battle at Cedar Mountain, Virginia on August 9, 1862, when General Banks clashed with Confederate Major-General Thomas J. Stonewall Jackson and Ricketts Division was sent to help. The main battle had already wound down and General Banks men were falling back by the time it got there. Thompsons Battery arrived with its division, just at nightfall. As his battery was moving into its assigned position off the Culpeper Road, Captain Thompson came under fire, along with Halls Maine Battery, from a Confederate battery that, according to Major Tilsons official Report, had slipped into position in the gathering darkness unobserved. That position was at the edge of the woods to the front of Thompsons Battery.
After firing a few rounds, Captain Thompson found that his two Parrott rifles could not reach the enemy battery because of a rise in ground between the combatants. Captain Halls Battery had the same problem. Captain Thompson therefore used the Parrott rifles to fire on the adjacent woods and hit the enemy battery with his higher trajectory field howitzers. He found his batterys howitzer fire to be close and very destructive.
In Harms Way Again
River Rappahannock Va. August 21st, 22nd and 23rd / 62
One horse killed signed J. Thompson, Capt.
The 2nd Division was ordered to retire toward Warrenton and destroyed the railroad bridge before leaving the river.
Alkaline Dry Cell Batteries
Small dry cell batteries used in portable electronics in the 1970s were more or less the same as they had been in the 1930s. The Duracell Company was the first to offer an improvement in the form of its alkaline dry cell. Although similar in size and shape to the earlier dry cells, it lasted significantly longer. Still later, as cordless telephones, laptop computers, Walkmans, and other portable devices became more common, there was a great need for good rechargeable batteries. Since the 1950s, some portable electronic devices came equipped with expensive rechargeable batteries. Earlier rechargeable batteries were considered too large for the new generation of miniaturized devices. Designing good rechargeable batteries is still a very difficult problem that faces engineers as the drive toward more portable electronics continues.
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Mustered Out In June Of 1865
Thompsons Independent Battery C, Pennsylvania Volunteer Light Artillery was ordered to Pittsburgh, leaving its last active post, on June 20, 1865. Home again, Captain Thompson and his men were mustered out on June 30, 1865thus ending a long, honorable and distinguished service to its nation and its state.
The History of Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-1865Volume V by Samuel P. Bates records that from 1861 through 1865, 320 men passed through the ranks of Battery Cnot counting the men of Battery F who served under Captain Thompson during the temporary consolidation, or men listed in Bates that never joined. Here is how they faired:
124 Mustered out on June 30, 1865
76 Transferred to Other Units:
-73 to the 204th Regiment, PA Vol. on January 12, 1865:
3 to the Veteran Reserve Corps
-27 by General Order of June 8, 1865
-22 by Surgeons Certificate or because of wounds
-17 due to expiration of three-year enlistment
5 no explanation given
1 by Special Order of June 20, 1863
25 Not Accounted For
12 * Died:
-5 died of wounds or killed
320 TOTAL FOR BATTERY C
Battery C & Fs Most Hallowed Ground
Major Sources of Information:
Battery C Correspondence, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA, Record Group 19
Captain James Thompson Papers Gettysburg National Military Park Archives
The Civil War Day by DayAn Almanac 1861-1865, E.B. Long with Barbara Long, 1971
A Concise Guide to the Artillery at Gettysburg, Gregory A. Coco, 1998
The Batteries Of The Future
This focus on new, green energy means were likely to see the battery industry continue to change and grow. Things like electric cars already incorporate new types of technology to make their batteries last longer, while NASA makes use of batteries that can power its space probes for years while refueling by collecting solar energy. But one of the most interesting advancements in battery technology was announced on May 1, 2015, when Tesla unveiled its newest battery products. Known for their advanced electric cars, Tesla has been a leader in the battery industry for the past decade or so. But this new battery, called the Tesla Powerwall, isnt designed for cars. Instead, its a battery that, if all goes as planned, will be able to power a home.These batteries are designed to store either 7 or 10 kilowatt-hours, depending on which size is installed. While most people use an average of around 30 kilowatt-hours a day, that includes the use of heavy appliances like washing machines and dishwashers. If a family were to use only the basics, its very possible that one of these Powerwall batteries could run a house for a full day. It may not make it possible to go fully off the grid yet, but these batteries could be combined with solar energy cells to greatly reduce the dependency on power produced by the electric company.
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The Birth Of The Voltaic Pile
Volta took his research further by making the first wet cell battery. Putting together layers of copper and zinc divided by layers of cardboard or cloth soaked in brine, Volta came up with what is now known as the voltaic pile. The Voltaic Pile is the first true battery, producing a stable and consistent current. But despite of being capable of delivering consistent currents, the Voltaic Pile cannot produce electricity for a long time. Voltas batteries only offer a short battery life, which is an hours worth at maximum. One of its flaws involves electrolyte leaks which cause short-circuits. Another problem is the formation of hydrogen bubbles on the copper, increasing the internal resistance of the battery.
History Of The Battery
Batteries provided the primary source of electricity before the development of electric generators and electrical grids around the end of the 19th century. Successive improvements in battery technology facilitated major electrical advances, from early scientific studies to the rise of telegraphs and telephones, eventually leading to portable computers, mobile phones, electric cars, and many other electrical devices.
Scientists and engineers developed several commercially important types of battery. “Wet cells” were open containers that held liquid electrolyte and metallic electrodes. When the electrodes were completely consumed, the wet cell was renewed by replacing the electrodes and electrolyte. Open containers are unsuitable for mobile or portable use. Wet cells were used commercially in the telegraph and telephone systems. Early electric cars used semi-sealed wet cells.
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When Was The Battery Invented
Isidor Buchmann, Cadex Electronics, Inc
The battery, todays technological necessity, is the result of 400 years of scientific effort.
One of the most remarkable and novel discoveries in the last 400 years is electricity. One may ask, Has electricity been around that long? The answer is yes and perhaps much longer, but the practical use of electricity has only been at our disposal since the mid to late 1800s. One of the early electrical attractions that gained public attention was an electrically illuminated bridge over the Seine River during the 1900 Worlds Fair in Paris.
The use of electricity may go back much farther. While constructing a new railway in 1936 near Baghdad, workers uncovered what appeared to be a prehistoric battery. The discovery was known as the Baghdad or Parthian battery and was believed to be 2000 years old, dating back to the Parthian period . The battery consisted of a clay jar filled with vinegar. An iron rod surrounded by a copper cylinder penetrated into the liquid and produced 1.1 to 2 V of electricity.
Not all scientists accept the Parthian battery as being a source of energy because the application is unknown. It is possible that the battery was used for electroplating a layer of gold or other precious metals onto a surface. The Egyptians are said to have electroplated antimony onto copper over 4300 years ago.
Modern Battery Experiments
Electricity through Magnetism
of mass production
Thompsons Battery Receives Its Guns
On February 3, 1862 Thompsons Battery was ordered to report to Major-General Nathaniel P. Banks at Frederick, Maryland where it was given two fully equipped 10 pounder Parrott rifles by Captain Robert Hamptons Battery. That battery was also originally from Pittsburgh and its history would later be closely intertwined with that of Captain Thompsons Battery. When General Banks Division moved to Harpers Ferry on February 24th, Thompsons Battery went with it. The Batterys first assignment there was protecting the pontoon bridge at Harpers Ferry from a position on Maryland Heights. An additional two guns were borrowed from Knaps Battery E, 1st PA Light Artillery Regiment for that duty.
After the army crossed into Virginia, Captain Thompsons men continued on with Banks Division, arriving at Winchester on March 14th. The battery was there attached to Brigadier-General John J. Abercrombies Brigade. After the army corps system was organized, Abercrombies Brigade was officially known as 2nd Brigade, First Division, Fifth Army Corps, Army of the Potomac. Captain Thompson had to return the borrowed guns to Knaps Battery while on the march, but received two smooth-bored, 12 pounder field howitzers at Warrenton Junction, VA. In the latter part of March the Battery moved with its brigade back towards Washington and then to Warrenton, VA.
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Nicd The First Alkaline Battery
In 1899, a Swedish scientist named Waldemar Jungner invented the nickelâcadmium battery, a rechargeable battery that has nickel and cadmium electrodes in a potassium hydroxide solution the first battery to use an alkaline electrolyte. It was commercialized in Sweden in 1910 and reached the United States in 1946. The first models were robust and had significantly better energy density than lead-acid batteries, but were much more expensive.
The First Rechargeable Battery
In 1859, the French physicist Gaston Planté created a battery using two rolled sheets of lead submerged in sulfuric acid. By reversing the electrical current through the battery, the chemistry would return to its original state, thus creating the first rechargeable battery.
Later, in 1881, Camille Alphonse Faure improved Planté’s design by forming the lead sheets into plates. This new design made the batteries easier to manufacture, and the lead acid battery saw wide-spread use in automobiles.
-> The design for the common “car battery” has been around for more than 100 years< –
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The History Of Battery Invention
Besides some controversies, the earliest concept of battery dates back to 250BC. It is known as Baghdad Battery found by the director of the Baghdad Museum in 1938.
During the early days of batteries, Benjamin Franklin did some experiments with a set of linked capacitors in 1749. Also, he used the term Battery for the first time.
Later, Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist, invented the first fully functional battery for the first time in 1800. He stacked discs of copper and zinc separated by salty water-soaked cloth. After connecting both ends by a wire, it generated a stable current continuously.
His discovery was based on an incident that happened in 1791. Luigi Galvani noticed that the muscle of a frog would contract whenever it was touched by a metallic object. Alessandro Volta experimented with different chemicals and metals and eventually developed a fully working battery.
On the other hand, the most commonly used lead-acid battery was first invented in 1859. The interesting part is that the same technology is still used in todays internal combustion vehicles. To give you a detailed overview of its evolution, I will get distracted from the topic. So, lets talk about the impact of different battery technologies on our life.
Development Of Anode Materials
In addition to the development of positive electrode materials, research was also carried out on Li-metal and Li-alloy negative electrodes. Early batteries were commercialized with such anodes . However, they faced safety concerns due to the formation of anode dendrites.
The insertion of lithium in graphite dates from 1955, but this was only confirmed by the synthesis of LiC6 in 1965 . The synthesis of LiC6, however, was not obtained by electrochemical process at that time, and the reversible intercalation of lithium in graphite up to LiC6 was established by Besenhard and Eichinger in 1976 , but, owing to a lack of a suitable electrolyte that could prevent co-intercalation at that time, graphite was not used as a cathode material. This problem was solved by the group of Armand in 1978 by the use of polymer electrolyte that allowed these authors to identify the suitability of graphite as an intercalated negative electrode .
In the 1970s, Armand proposed the fabrication of a lithium-ion battery based on two different intercalation materials for both cathodes and anodes this battery was named the rocking-chair battery due to the shuttle of ions from one electrode to another during the chargedischarge process . This concept involved lithium ions being transferred from one side to the other and was demonstrated in 1980 by Lazzari and Scrosati .
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Even A Nobel Prize The History Of The Spread Of Lithium
Under the supervision of Ryoji Kanno, an Institute Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology who has been involved in improving battery performance for more than 30 years, this series of articles explores lithium-ion batteries, from what they are to the status of research into the solid-state batteries called the next-generation lithium-ion batteries. Part 3 introduces the history of research to make lithium-ion batteries practical and why lithium-ion batteries have become as popular as they have.
Supervisor: Ryoji KannoInstitute Professor , Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology
In 1980, he completed his masters degree in inorganic and physical chemistry at the Graduate School of Science, Osaka University. In 1985, he became a Doctor of Science. After working as an associate professor in the Faculty of Science at Kobe University, he became a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering in 2001. In 2016, he became a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology School of Materials and Chemical Technology. In 2018, he became a professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology Institute of Innovative Research and a leader in the All-Solid-State Battery Unit. In 2021, he became an Institute Professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology Institute of Innovative Research and director of the Research Center for All-Solid-State Battery.