Who Invented The Battery & How Did Car Batteries Evolve?

who invented the batteryA common search online is the question, “Who invented the battery? We show you some interesting historical facts about the Baghdad Battery and how car batteries eventually were created.

Thanks to batteries, people can enjoy various items that make life easier or more enjoyable. Even though it seems like a new invention, history shows its roots in the ancient past.

Archeologists and scientists discovered an ancient device that seemed to work on the same principle of a modern battery, invented by the Parthian Empire, which occupied the area where modern-day Baghdad sits.

The first items that can suggest that ancient people had batteries can be dated back to 200 BCE. They were discovered in the 1930s, during work to dig a new railway in Baghdad. Pots that archeologists discovered there literally had the form of a battery. Just like modern batteries, they had two ends: positive and negative. The positive one was made with an iron rod, while the negative had a copper cylinder.

Researchers believe that some solution, probably a vinegar-based one, was poured inside the pot. Thanks to this, ancient people could create a chemical reaction that allowed them to enjoy this invention.


the baghdad battery


A similar device was created by researchers and tested. It allowed generating power between 0.8V and 2.0V. Because of this, there is no certainty if those items were used primarily as a battery or not. There is no doubt that many people believe it was a prototype of batteries that people know nowadays.

It took hundreds of years to make any progress regarding this invention. The remains of the first mass-produced batteries can be back to the 1800s. Around that time, Alessandro Volta, a scientist interested in energy, discovered that particular liquids could conduct electricity better than others. He also verified that some metals could produce electrons faster than others.

William Cruikshank put this theoretical knowledge to practice. In 1802, he designed the first mass-produced battery. It was very effective, but it could only be used once and then replaced due to its composition.

When it comes to car batteries, they appeared on the scene in 1912. In that year, Charles F. Kettering, with Henry M. Leland, designed the first electric starter for a car. This invention quickly became a prevalent solution. By 1920, all new vehicles had electric starters, which means that automotive batteries became a necessary part of every vehicle.

The first vehicle batteries had the power of 6V, which was sufficient to perform their function. The significant change in the automobile industry came in the 1950s when different types of cars were required. That meant that there was also a need for a change in batteries.

Vehicles became more prominent, and most of them had much stronger engines and added electrical auxiliary features were placing a higher output. Since then, 12V batteries had to be re-engineered with higher durability and capacity.

Nowadays, most vehicles use 12V batteries, but it doesn’t mean that they haven’t changed over time. Since the 1990s, electrical demand has grown. Cars started to have extra internal features to provide better comfortable drivability and technologies that were unknown before. This demand brought in Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) batteries. In the past, these batteries utilised by the military and are currently mass-produced and used in most cars.

Imagine not having these automotive accessories:

  • Airconditioning for cold and heat extremes.
  • Apple Play and GPS systems for entertainment and navigation.
  • Dash cameras to keep us safe and for insurance purposes.
  • Video players to view our favourite movies and shows. (passengers only, not drivers).
  • Reversing cameras, parking sensors and alarm systems, e.t.c.

AGM batteries are more efficient than standard ones and allow for larger electricity output to crank the vehicle’s engine and operate onboard computers. They are a genuine maintenance-free battery making them convenient for all drivers.

There is a higher demand for fully electronic and Instant Stop-Start vehicles to create more sustainable clean energy to help the environment. Specialised batteries are required to operate these systems, which include the Traction and ever-increasing popular Stop-Start Batteries.

Technology has come a long way from a simple configuration to highly advanced engineering that powers all our “Creature Comforts” we could not live without. We are certainly grateful for knowing who invented the battery and how it evolved.


Key Note:

Imagine a World without batteries; our lives would be completely different and difficult to imagine. The invention of the battery is a “God Send” and cannot be taken for granted.

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