History of Battery

In the modern era, we get electrical energy from mechanical energy, solar energy, and chemical energy etc. with the help of energy conversion prosses. A battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Alessandro Volta developed the first battery in the year 1800 which is also known as Voltaic cell. In the year 1836, John Frederic Daniell, a British chemist developed the Daniell cell as an improved version of the Voltaic cell. From that time until today, the battery remains a preferable source of electricity in our many daily life applications.

History of Battery

In the year of 1936 during the middle of summer, an ancient tomb was discovered during construction of a new railway line near Bagdad city in Iraq. The relics found in that tomb were about 2000 years old. Among these relics, there were some clay jars sealed at the top with the pitch. An iron rod, surrounded by a cylindrical tube made of a wrapped copper sheet was projected out from this sealed top.
Parthian battery
When discoverers filled these pots with an acidic liquid, they found a potential difference of around 2 volts between the iron and copper. These clay jars were suspected to be 2000-year-old battery cells. They named the pot as Parthian battery.

In 1786, Luigi Galvani, an Italian anatomist, and physiologist got surprised to see that when he touched dead frog legs with two different metals, the muscles of the legs contracted.
Luigi Galvani Experiment of Frog Leg
He could not understand the actual reason otherwise he would have been known as the first inventor of the battery cell. He thought that the reaction might be due to a property of the tissues.voltaic pile
After that, Alessandro Volta realized the same phenomenon on cardboard soaked in salt water instead of frog legs. He sandwiched a copper disc and a zinc disc with a piece of cardboard soaked in salt water in between them and found a potential difference between the copper and zinc. After that in 1800, he developed the first Voltaic pile (battery) constructed of alternating copper and zinc discs with pieces of cardboard soaked in brine between them. This system could produce a measurable current. We consider Alessandro Volta’s Voltaic pile as the first “wet battery cell”. Thus, the history of battery began.
Daniell cell

The main problem with the Voltaic pile was that it could not deliver current for a long time. A British inventor John F. Daniell solved this problem in 1836. He invented a more developed version of the battery cell which is known as the Daniell cell. John F. Daniell immersed one zinc rod in zinc sulfate in one container, and one copper rod in copper (II) sulfate in another container. A U shaped salt bridge bridges the solutions of these two containers. A Daniell cell could produce 1.1 volts, and this type of battery lasted much longer than the Voltaic pile. In 1839, Sir William Robert Grove, a discoverer, and the man of science designed the fuel cell. He mixed hydrogen and oxygen within an electrolyte solution and created electricity and water. The fuel cell did not deliver enough power, but it is helpful. Bunsen (1842) and Grove (1839) created enhancements to battery that used liquid electrodes to supply electricity.

lead-acid battery
In the year 1859, Gaston Plante; first developed the lead-acid battery cell. The lead-acid battery was the first form of rechargeable secondary battery. The lead-acid battery is still in use for many industrial purposes. It is still the most popular to be used as a car battery. In 1866, a French engineer, Georges Leclanche, developed a new kind of battery. It was a carbon-zinc wet cell battery known as the Leclanche cell. Crushed manganese dioxide mixed with a few carbons forms the positive electrode and a zinc rod forms as the negative electrode. He used an ammonium chloride solution as a liquid electrolyte. After some years, Georges Leclanche himself improved his design by replacing liquid ammonium chloride solution with ammonium chloride. Hence, he invented the first dry cell. In 1901, Thomas Alva Edison discovered the alkaline accumulator. Thomas Edison’s primary battery had iron as the anode material (-) and nickel oxide as the cathode material (+). The above content is just one portion of the endless history of the battery.

Step by Step Development in History of Batteries

Luigi GalvaniItaly1786Animal Electricity
Alessandro VoltaItaly1800Voltaic Pile
John F. DaniellBritain1836Daniell Cell
Sir William Robert GroveBritain1839Fuel Cell
Robert BunsenGerman1842used liquid electrodes to supply electricity
Gaston PlanteFrance1859Lead Acid Battery
Georges LeclancheFrance1866Leclanche Cell
Thomas Alva EdisonUnited States1901Alkaline Accumulator

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