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DCPS  >  Forklift Batteries & Industrial Batteries  >  Forklift Battery History

History of Forklift Batteries

Electricity Meter, Voltaic Pile, Electric Battery (Leyden Jars)

The forklift battery didn't arrive on the scene until the early 1900's and it's roots are in some strange and fascinating scientific investigations and experiments that brought us electricity and made stored energy (batteries) part of our everyday world.

Sparks of Recognition

Battery history goes back thousands of years if you look to the Parthian Battery (better known as the Baghdad Battery) which dates back to around 248 BCE, but there is debate if it's really a battery. It does seem strange that references to electricity don't begin to appear until the mid 1600's, hundreds of years later. There are other anomalies in history that would require an electric current, for example, some claim that they've found lightbulbs in the hieroglyphics created in ancient Egypt. Rather than wading through the conspiracy theories and arguments, lets go right into what we do know, that while the United States was just being settled by colonists, in 1663 Otto van Guericke was investigating the effects of friction using a sulphur sphere and the resulting electrostatic build up and release.

Before Forklift Batteries
Lightning Strikes

In the autumn of 1745 Ewald Georg von Kleist invented the Kleitian jar later named the Leyden jar which our own Benjamin Franklin used to catch electricity with his kite flying experiment during a lighting storm. Within fifty years, Alessandro Volta had invented the voltaic pile (1799) and the first battery, a simple electrochemical cell; two electrodes (zinc, copper) and electrolyte of sulfuric acid or brine.

Ingenuity of Forklift Pioneers

While electricity was being studied across the world people were moving along with business, travel, explorations, and life using chains, winches, trailers and trucks to aid in moving materials. A battery similar to the flooded battery was ready for production in 1802, created by William Cruickshank and in 1859 Gaston Plante invented the rechargeable battery—and the lead acid battery in 1860 (a nine-cell). In 1880 Camille Alphonse Faure then stepped up the game by patenting a way to coat lead plates in a paste, using sulphuric acid and H2o (electrolyte) which improved what the lead acid battery could do. People were experimenting with the technology all over the globe from Porsche's electric car in 1898 to the pioneers of battery powered forklifts (1906) and what may indeed be the first loosely called "forklifts." The Pennsylvania Railroad put together battery-powered platform trucks to help move luggage at the Altoona Train Station.

Motive Power of Forklift Batteries

The invention of forklifts required fuel and energy, be it the lead acid battery traditionally known as the forklift battery, or forklifts run by electricity, propane, or natural gas. The Clark Tructractor, an invention for their axel plant in 1917 caught on and in 1920 Yale and Townelow released the lift platform truck and just three years later the electric truck (rising forks/elevated mast). With the development and drive for battery driven motive power, Crown Battery opened in Fremont Ohio in 1927. The development driving design, the wooden pallet was standardized in the 1930's to help with the warehouse experience. Ergonomics and forklift battery safety concerns followed with operator cages, ergonomics (back rests) and restraints. Forklift batteries relying on that initial invention of the rechargeable lead acid battery by Plante a century earlier.

DC Power Solutions Forklift Batteries

Companies like C&D (Frank Carlile and Leon Doughty) Technologies out of New York state developed automotive, communication and industrial batteries for over a century. In 2003 Darrin Rolfe split off forming DC Power Solutions (Utah) focusing on industrial batteries. The industry has evolved allowing us to refurbish lead acid batteries and/or recycle up to 98% of the materials in lead acid batteries. DC Power Solutions offers these services working with recycling facilities in the United States. We also help maintain battery fleets with preventative maintenance plans, providing testing, battery data and care.

Works Cited:
"Forklifts - Backbone of the Industry." The MHEDA Journal. Web. 6 April 2016.
Neiger, Christopher. "How Forklifts Work." HowStuffWorks. Web. 6 April 2016.
Leblanc, Rick. "History of the Fork Truck." Packaging Revolution. Web. 6 April 2016.
"BU-101: When Was the Battery Invented" Battery University. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Gaston Plante." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Forklift." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"History & Innovation." Crown Battery. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Thomas Edison, Electric Trains and the Railroad." National Park Service. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Our History." Yale. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Parthian Battery (Ancient Iranians, The Inventors of Battery)." Iran Chamber Society. Web. 6 April 2016.
Buchmann, Isidor. "When Was the Battery Invented?" (Apr. 2001) Web. 6 April 2016.
"Otto von Guericke." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Ewald Georg von Kleist." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Alessandro Volta." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
Motavalli, Jim. "Porsche's long-buried first vehicle was an electric car, and it was built back in 1898." Mother Nature Network." Web. 6 April 2016.
"Thomas Edison." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Nikola Tesla." Wikipedia. Web. 6 April 2016.
"Camille Alphonse Faure." Wikipedia. Web. 5. May 2016

Forklift Battery Timeline

1660 Otto van Guericke generated sparks that were electrical
1744 Ewald Georg von Kleist developed Leyden jar, stored static electricity
1752 Benjamin Franklin, kite struck by lightning, catches electricity in Leyden jar
1800 Alessandro Volta invented the voltaic cell, battery
1800's Hoists (chains/winches), platform trucks/trailers in use
1802 William Cruickshank, electric battery (like flooded battery) for production
Late 1800's - Early 1900's AC/DC development - Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison
1859 Gaston Plante invented the lead acid rechargeable battery
1860 Gaston Plante invented nine-cell lead acid battery
1880 Camille Alphonse Faure patented a way to coat lead plates
1906 Pennsylvania Railroad, Altoona PA. Used battery power to baggage wagon
1898 Porsche's electric car
1901 Thomas Edison, nickel-iron-alkaline battery, Edison storage batteries
1906 C & D Technologies founded
1914-18 World War I - Platforms used to raise and lower
1917 Tructractor developed by Clark Company for use in axle plant
1920 Industrial truck
1920 Yale and Towne launched battery powered low-lift platform truck
1920+ Forklifts that run on propane, compressed natural gas, hydrogen fuel cells, lead acid batteries developed
1926 Crown Battery opened in Fremont Ohio
1923 Yale produced the first electric truck (considered first fork lift truck)
1930s Standardized pallet developed
19?? Forklift batteries further developed to allow longer work shifts without recharge
1930-50s Warehouse narrow aisles, higher storage, safety worries
1950-60s Forklift backrests and operator cages
1980s Restraint systems, ergonomics
2000 Parthian Battery found in Baghdad
2003 DC Power Solutions founded with roots in C & D Technologies
2003 Dunn Right Battery founded

Let's Keep batteriesout of the landfill

Using electric equipment is a responsible step toward going green, but you can take it a step further by recycling your lead acid batteries which are 98% recyclable. We are an EPA certified Battery Disposal Facility and send all batteries to US processing facilities.