Camille Faure Creates Lead-Acid Batteries in 1881

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Most attempts at electric vehicles relied on Gaston Planté’s primitive lead acid cells before 1881. The batteries that start our gasoline cars still follow the same principles, although they are safer and smaller now. You see, Planté’s original versions of what became modern starter batteries later, were huge and difficult to move around. However, they could generate large currents over extended periods. Then along came Camille Faure with a smaller, more elegant version.

The Extraordinary Value Camille Faure Added to Batteries

camille faure

Gaston Planté’s Cell: EU Commission

Camille Alphonse Faure’s lead-acid batteries were smaller and lighter. Hence, a person could pick one up, and use several to power a surrey or a cart electrically.

In this way, Camille Faure advanced the frontiers of battery science farther than John Goodenough did. Because he established the basics, on which that great man built.

Faure patented a method whereby he coated lead plates with a paste of lead oxides, sulfuric acid, and water in 1881. Then he cured this by gently warming it in a humid atmosphere. This in turn caused the paste to become a mix of lead sulfates that adhered firmly to the lead plates.

How Camille Faure’s Battery Worked

camille faure

Lead-Acid Starter Battery: Shaddack: Public Domain

When Faure applied an electric charge, the cured paste became electrochemically active material. This yielded a far denser battery than Gaston Planté’s primitive ones. His significant breakthrough made commercial manufacture practical. Indeed his batteries powered electric cars for many years.

So what made Camille Faure tick? Well for starters, he was a chemist at a factory making explosives from 1874 to 1880. So he understood the basics at an academic level and that clearly helped. This elevated the science of batteries to a new level. The world was on a technical march, and batteries had finally joined the new order. Roll on the next generation of electric cars.


Gaston Planté’s Lead-Acid Cell Battery

Camille Alphonse Faure (1840 – 1898)

Preview Image: Thomas Parker Electric Car 1895


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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