How Batteries Changed the World Around

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Trying to imagine the world around us without batteries would be a difficult task. We might have to start our auto with a hand crank, or a pull cord. Or even a gunpowder cylinder if we could borrow one from an airship museum. The first electric auto starter was on an 1896 Arnold motor car . However, the electrician who owned it used a dynamotor on a flywheel. Thus, the story of how batteries changed the world around us was not yet ready to begin.

How Batteries Changed the World We Live In

how batteries changed the world

Cadillac Model 30: Greg Gjerdingen: CC 2.0

The first electric starter motor as we know it appeared on Cadillacs in 1912. Behind the scenes, these starters were actually hybrids. Because they charged the lead-acid batteries once the engines were running.

By 1920, dedicated starter motors were in common use, as production volumes brought economies of scale. The story of how batteries changed the world around us was ready to begin.

The Arrival of the World’s First Miniature Batteries

Until the late 1950’s, most Americans associated batteries with the lead-acid ones that started their cars. Then Eveready invented small alkaline batteries so people no longer had to wind their watches. After that, the story of how batteries changed the world accelerated. Suddenly everybody had a portable battery radio that they could take everywhere they wanted.

how batteries changed the world

Three Gorges Hydro: Rehman: CC 2.0

Within a few decades, portables seemed everywhere. Factories produced huge volumes of battery flashlights, boom boxes, and pocket calculators. Thanks to lithium batteries, wearables are increasingly common now.

Most Americans boast at least one laptop and one smartphone. However, the revolution is not over yet. The story of renewable energy and electric cars has hardly begun.

Batteries Are Changing the Way We Generate Electricity

Someday soon we may look back, and marvel how batteries changed the world of electricity. Revolutionary technology already allows us to store amounts of electricity impossible a few years before. Much of this energy comes from renewables. Could the humble battery become the savior of a carbon-saturated world? We hope we are already seeing the signs of this recovery.


Batteries Have Different Shapes for Various Reasons

Battery Costs are Catching Up Faster

Preview Image: Wind Turbines


About Author


I tripped over a shrinking bank balance and fell into the writing gig unintentionally. This was after I escaped the corporate world and searched in vain for ways to become rich on the internet by doing nothing. Despite the fact that writing is no recipe for wealth, I rather enjoy it. I will not deny I am obsessed with it when I have the time. My base is Umtentweni in South Africa on the Kwazulu-Natal South Coast. I work from home where I ponder on the future of the planet, and what lies beyond in the great hereafter. Sometimes I step out of my computer into the silent riverine forests, and empty golden beaches for which the area is renowned. Richard Farrell

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