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Weird & Wonderful Facts That’ll Make You Love Batteries Even More

Date : 01 February 2019

Batteries are everywhere, and they’re responsible for powering many of our everyday devices, but rarely do we stop to give them thought. Could there be more to the humble battery than meets the eye? We went in search of some fun facts to find out. And, although Eveready has been in the business of batteries for over 80 years, we were still surprised to discover some of these weird and wonderful battery facts! Read on and let us know if you are, too.

1. Batteries have a curious history

The very first battery was invented all the way back in 1799 by Italian inventor, Alessandro Volta. Known as Voltaic piles, these batteries were made of alternating copper and zinc discs, separated by pieces of cardboard or cloth soaked in vinegar or salt water. Mr Volta’s batteries were about as big as a toaster but only generated a weak current. Still, they proved that electricity could be generated chemically, paving the way for the batteries of today.

There are archaeologists however who argue that batteries have been around for much longer than the 1800’s. This stems from a set of artefacts found by German archaeologist, Wilhelm Konig just outside of Baghdad in Iraq. The artefacts, which consist of a ceramic pot, copper tube and iron rod, are believed to be ancient batteries used over 2 000 years ago.

2. Batteries can be made from food

The ingredients you need to make a battery could be hidden in your very own pantry. According to livescience.com, the best foods to use are fruit and veggies with high levels of positively charged ions such as potassium or sodium. Potatoes and pickles are two good examples, and lemons are also often used for these kinds of experiments. Click here to see how you can make a potato-powered light bulb.

3. Batteries can last for generations

Unlike a pack of fresh lettuce, the best-before date on a pack of batteries doesn’t mean they need to be binned. While the performance of a battery does reduce over time, it may still release energy for a long while to come. Just last year we received a photo from one our loyal followers depicting an Eveready hearing aid battery from the 1970’s that still had some power.

Even more impressive is the battery-powered bell at Oxford University that has been ringing for almost 180 years! In fact, it’s said to have rung over 10 billion times already. Dubbed the “World’s Most Durable Battery” by the Guinness Book of Records, no one knows what it’s made of, and researchers are letting it run its course before taking it apart to find out.

4. Battery ingredients are good for soil

Batteries often get a bad rep for their ingredients, but the two key ingredients in consumer batteries can actually have a positive effect on soil fertility. These ingredients are zinc and manganese dioxide. When disposed of in a conventional waste method, they break down into various salts of zinc and manganese, which act as micro nutrients for soil. This in turn increases the effectiveness of soil fertilization. Take a look at this initiative where old batteries are being used to help grow corn.

A few more fun facts about batteries:

  • The battery industry is big business. Every year, over 15 billion batteries are produced and sold around the world. That’s a whole lot of power!
  • No matter how big or small, every battery only has four main components: a positive and negative electrode, separator and an electrolyte.
  • Eveready’s manufacturing facility is capable of producing 600 battery parts per minute.
  • Batteries have their own National Day! Celebrated every year on February 18th.


Learnt something about the humble battery today? Share your newfound knowledge with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.