You’ve seen electric cars from past and present, but there are more progressive era inventions that have made a comeback. One of these surprising inventions is the rechargeable battery. This now commonplace object was originally invented by Swedish inventor Waldemar Jungner in 1899 and was improved upon in 1901 by Thomas Edison, a well known American inventor.
The original battery (made by Jungner) is made of nickel and cadmium. Although this battery is very durable, it does not last very long. And there is the added problem of potential cadmium poisoning which happens when you inhale any cadmium particles. Edison’s rendition is meant to be an improvement on Jungner’s and also to replace the common lead plate and acid batteries. Edison made his using nickel and iron which lasts much longer than the nickel-cadmium battery. However, Edison’s battery is not as durable as Jungner’s and it is too expensive to replace the lead plate and acid batteries.
Edison submitted his patent for this battery in 1901 and the first working battery premiered in 1903. This battery was used mainly to run electric cars, similar to the Milburn Electric currently on display in Wilson House’s historic garage
Fairly recently, other types of rechargeable batteries have been used in consumer goods. These include the batteries in your camera, cell phone, mp3 player, computer, etc.
The nickel-iron battery is still being used in some capacities today, such as: storing energy from solar panels and as a power source when working/living in remote areas such as rural China.