Alkaline Battery Inventor Lewis Urry Dies

October 19, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Lewis Urry, the man who put the power in the alkaline battery, died at Southwest General Health Center in Eaton Township, in Middleburg Heights, OH, after a short illness. Urry, a chemical engineer, is credited with perfecting batteries that made cordless portable electronics like laptop computers, iPods and camcorders possible.

Urry's breakthrough at Union Carbide's National Carbon Co. used powdered zinc to improve on short-lived carbon-zinc dry cell batteries. He held 51 patents, including the lithium battery used in cell phones and digital cameras. Urry retired from Energizer Holdings Inc. (St. Louis, MO) in May.

"He took special pride around Christmas, when there was a rush for batteries," said Steven Urry, his son. "It wasn't until we got older that we realized what he had done."