Camille Alphonse Faure

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Camille Alphonse Faure (21 May 1840 – 14 September 1898) was a French chemical engineer who in 1881 significantly improved the design of the lead-acid battery, which had been invented by Gaston Planté in 1859. Faure's improvements greatly increased the capacity of such batteries and led directly to their manufacture on an industrial scale.[1]


He was born at Vizille and trained at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers at Aix.[2] From 1874 until about 1880, he worked as a chemist at the new factory of the Cotton Powder Company at Uplees, Faversham, Kent, England.[3] While there, he and the factory manager, George Trench, took out patents for Tonite (a new high explosive) (1874), and an improved dynamite detonator (1878).[4]

In 1880, Faure patented a method of coating lead plates with a paste of lead oxides, sulphuric acid and water, which was then cured by being gently warmed in a humid atmosphere. The curing process caused the paste to change to a mixture of lead sulphates which adhered to the lead plate. During charging the cured paste was converted into electrochemically active material (the "active mass") and gave a substantial increase in capacity compared with Planté's battery.[5] This was a significant breakthrough that led to the industrial manufacture of lead-acid batteries, as now used for starting motor cars.

Towards the end of his life Faure was granted further patents,[6] among them ones for the manufacture of aluminium alloys and improvements to hot air engines and motor vehicle steering mechanisms.


  1. ^ "Battery History". Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  2. ^ Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology / ed. by Lance Day and Ian McNeil. London; New York: Routledge, 1996
  3. ^ Breeze, John (2008), Faversham Explosives Personnel Register 1841-1934, Part 1, Faversham Society, ISBN 1-900214-55-5
  4. ^ Patent Nos 106148 and 125752: copies in Bibliotheque Nationale de France
  5. ^ Dell, Ronald; David Anthony James Rand (2001). Understanding Batteries. Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 0-85404-605-4.
  6. ^ Swiss Patent Nos 3698 (1891) and 3855 (1891) and UK Patent Nos 15152 (1894), 11341 (1896), 11342 (1896), and 21587 (1896)