James J. Drumm

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James Joseph Drumm
Known forDrumm Battery
Scientific career

James Joseph Drumm (1897 - 1974) was an Irish chemist and the inventor of the Drumm battery.[1][2]


From 1914 to 1917 he studied at the Chemistry School of University College Dublin (UCD) and then worked in England at the Continuous Reaction Company. In 1922 he returned to Dublin as a chemist for research and production at Fine Chemicals Ltd. He then worked for various companies and participated in research projects. He modernized various processing methods, such as the conservation of peas, to keep their natural green colour in tin cans.[3]

His most famous research result was an electric storage battery, which was also known by his name. Drumm's original idea was to use a Hydroquinone Electrode in a battery cell for power generation.[4] After some experiments, he devoted his attention to alkaline cells. At Drumm's time the only available batteries were based on lead, lead dioxide and sulphuric acid. The iron-nickel alkaline battery was developed by Thomas Edison. Drumm created his first battery at UCD Merrion street and negotiation with the Government led to a prototype conversion of petrol railcar 386 in July 1930. Following successful trials[5] two trains were built at Inchicore and entered regular service on the Dublin-Bray route with charging stations being built at each end. Two more trains were built in 1939 and they continued in service until 1949.[6][7][8]

From 1926 to 1931, Drumm worked tirelessly on a new accumulator and finally presented the Drumm Traction Battery on the basis of nickel and zinc. In 1931 he was distinguished for his researches by the National University of Ireland as Doctor of Natural Sciences.

See also[edit]

  • Irish Chemical News Spring 1988


  1. ^ "Famous Irish Chemists: James J. Drumm (1897–1974) by Michael T. Casey". Chemistry in Action. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-16.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  2. ^ Buch der Synergie von Achmed A. W. Khammas
  3. ^ Oram, Hugh (1 February 2010). "An Irishman's Diary". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Storage battery - US 1955115 A". Google Patents. Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  5. ^ Pathé, British. "A Revolution Of Transport". Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  6. ^ Clements, Jeremy; McMahon, Michael (2008). "Battery electric powered units - Drumm Electric Multiple Units". Locomotives of the GSR. Colourpoint Books. pp. 308–317. ISBN 9781906578268.
  7. ^ "Flashback 1931 - first journey of battery-powered train". Irish Independent. 6 December 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  8. ^ "The Building of the State - Science and Engineering with the Government on Merrion Street - 1930-1939 - James Drumm". UCD. Archived from the original on 8 July 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2017.

External links[edit]