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] The patents were assigned to the Société La Force et la Lumière. The right to use these patents in the British Isles were sold to the Faure Electric Accumulator Company on 29 March 1881. Faure was a consultant engineer with William Edward Ayrton for this company.[2]


He was born at Vizille and trained at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers at Aix.[3] From 1874 until about 1880, he worked as a chemist at the new factory of the Cotton Powder Company at Uplees, Faversham, Kent, England.[4] 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).[5]

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 gentle warming 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.[6] 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,[7] 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. ^ "The Faure Electric Accumulator Company". The Railway News (4 March 1882). 1882.
  3. ^ Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology / ed. by Lance Day and Ian McNeil. London; New York: Routledge, 1996
  4. ^ Breeze, John (2008), Faversham Explosives Personnel Register 1841-1934, Part 1, Faversham Society, ISBN 1-900214-55-5
  5. ^ Patent Nos 106148 and 125752: copies in Bibliotheque Nationale de France
  6. ^ Dell, Ronald; David Anthony James Rand (2001). Understanding Batteries. Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 0-85404-605-4.
  7. ^ Swiss Patent Nos 3698 (1891) and 3855 (1891) and UK Patent Nos 15152 (1894), 11341 (1896), 11342 (1896), and 21587 (1896)