Plante rechargeable battery, c 1860.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The secondary cell (or rechargeable cell) in which the positive active material is lead peroxide, the negative active material pure lead and the electrolyte dilute sulphuric acid, was introduced French physicist Gaston Plante (1834-1889) in 1860. It was the first practical storage battery. The battery shown here consists of 20 cells of an early type, arranged in a form used for experimental and laboratory purposes, with a switch for connecting the cells either in series or in parallel.