Italy's Alessandro Volta is largely credited with inventing the first modern battery in 1800. His voltaic pile was an electrochemical battery utilizing copper, zinc, and brine-soaked paper. The lessons he learned developing the battery laid the foundation for our modern technology. Thank goodness he succeeded. Life without batteries is almost unimaginable.
Batteries have been around for so long that very few people living right now remember not having them. But rest assured there was life before they existed. It was just different. People did things without electricity. And when electricity was required, whatever device one was using had to be attached to an outlet.
Have you ever wondered what life would be like without batteries? If not, here are a few things to think about:
1. Driving Would Be Different
The first mechanically powered vehicles were small carriages with steam engines. Internal combustion engines didn't arrive until Germany's Carl Benz patented his revolutionary invention in the late 19th century. Benz is largely credited for inventing the modern car. But believe it or not, the earliest cars didn't have batteries. They did not need them.
Prior to the 1920s, electricity was considered unnecessary for automobile transportation. Cars were started by manual cranking. Headlights were little more than gas lamps. And instead of an electric horn, a car's only warning system was a bell. Imagine driving that kind of car today. If batteries didn't exist, that's exactly what we would be left with.
Our cars wouldn't have headlights or horns. Forget about media systems, GPS, and all the electronic bells and whistles that make a modern car what it is. Without the battery, all of that is gone.
2. Landlines Would Still Be a Thing
A world without batteries would be a world without cell phones. Imagine that. Some of you reading this post are not old enough to remember when landline telephones were the only game in town. They would still be a thing if it weren't for efficient, fast charging lithium-ion batteries.
Back in the day, the only way to make your landline portable was to extend its cord. Buy a long enough cord and you could stretch the handset clear across the kitchen. It was an amazing thing. Today, very few homes have landlines anymore. It is all cell phones now.
4. Games and Toys Would Be Different
Even the games and toys kids play with would be a lot different without batteries. This Christmas, you are probably going to buy the kids in your life one or two gifts that require batteries. Hopefully you'll choose Pale Blue Earth USB rechargeable batteries. That notwithstanding, have you ever wondered what kids played with before batteries existed?
Some of the toys our grandparents and their parents played with as children were simple wooden toys. Metal was also a material of choice among toy makers. But by and large, kids didn't have manufactured toys purchased down at the local store. They played with things they found around the house. For example, an enterprising boy could turn a stick into a bat and a stone into a ball.
Imagining life without batteries is challenging. Batteries are something we just take for granted. Indeed, perhaps we take them for granted too much. Maybe that's why the world still produces, sells, and throws away millions of alkaline batteries every year. That's too bad because USB rechargeable batteries last longer and reduce waste.
As long as modern life requires batteries, we might just as well make the best of it. From our perspective, this means abandoning alkaline batteries in favor of a more sustainable solution, USB-rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.