Electrical batteries are much older than most people probably think, having been invented more than 200 years ago and possibly even longer before that. They are also surprisingly interesting in several other ways. For example, did you know that batteries produce direct current through chemistry and no moving parts are involved? Here are ten more surprising battery-based facts:
1. Alessandro Volta made the first battery in 1798, and the SI unit volt is named after him.
2. Some archaeologists believe that batteries date back to ancient times.
3. Nearly three billion batteries are sold each year in the US alone.
4. Rechargeable batteries have been around since 1859.
5. Although batteries have an official expiry date, they will still work after that date, but they will gradually lose their efficiency over time.
6. Conrad Hubert, who started the Eveready Battery company, also invented the handheld torch and the D-sized battery used to power it.
7. Ben Franklin first coined the word “battery” to mean multiple power cells back in the 19th century.
8. It took until the 1950s for the first miniature battery to appear.
9. UK inventor William Cruickshank produced the first mass market battery in 1802.
10. A potato can act as a very low-powered battery.
More battery facts
Batteries have come a long way since 1798. Today, several different types of battery are available with lead acid, NiMH, alkaline, LiPo, NiCd and Li-ion being the six most popular types. The first batteries produced very little power but were considerably larger than powerful modern batteries such as the Odyssey PC680 Battery. The first batteries were also expensive to buy and were reserved only for the wealthy.Today, a huge range of affordable batteries can be bought online from sellers such as http://www.grovesbatteries.co.uk.
Batteries are a potential environmental hazard and should always be disposed of properly. See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/waste-batteries-producer-responsibility for more details.
Technically, a single battery is called a cell and a battery is a collection of cells joined together to produce extra power. However, the word “battery” has come to mean any electrical cell in modern parlance.
Lead acid batteries, such as car batteries, produce large amounts of current and are used to power cars and other vehicles when the engine isn’t running. As the engine runs, some of the power generated is re-directed to recharge the car’s battery.