1959 Eveready researcher Lew Urry develops the first commercial alkaline in Parma, Ohio; it lasts eight times as long as zinc-carbon cells. His recipe remains the standard for disposables.
1960 Duracell introduces the AA alkaline.
1965 Proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells, introduced 10 years earlier by GE, power the Gemini 5 mission. Their questionable performance on this and subsequent Gemini spaceflights causes NASA to opt for alkaline fuel cells on the Apollo missions.
1967 Breakthrough research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on nonaqueous electrolytes makes possible batteries based on lithium, which reacts violently when exposed to moisture.
1974 Duracell is the first battery maker to advertise on TV. Ads feature pink bunnies with snare drums--the Duracell-powered toy lasts longest.
1980 Eveready brands their alkaline
1981 Battery-powered "laptops" arrive: Osbourne I weighs 24 pounds. Epson's HX-20 weighs four pounds and runs for 50 hours
on rechargeable NiCds; its performance is comparable to today's graphing calculators.
1987 Energizer introduces freshness dating on alkaline cells.
1989 DDB Needham's Energizer bunny campaign marches onto the scene, parodying former Duracell ads. It's later named one of the top five ad icons of the 20th century. It's still going.
1990 NiMH batteries go on sale, taking on NiCds in the rechargeable market.
1990 The Hubble Space Telescope takes rechargeable nickel-hydrogen batteries into space.
1990 To corral metallic lithium's volatility, Sony engineers use ionic lithium. Behold, the rechargeable Li-ion cell!
1992 Energizer markets the first disposable Li-ion AA.
1995 Duracell premieres the Smart Battery
system for rechargeables. A microchip assesses the battery's charge and condi-tion and communicates with the charger.
1996 President Clinton signs the Mercury-
Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act, which sets guidelines for the discontinuation of mercury cells.
1999 Lithium-ion polymer batteries hit the consumer market. The moldable plastic allows product designers to create slimmer-profile devices.
1999 The prototypes of Urry's alkaline battery are acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
2002 Get your batteries out of the cold. Consumer Reports confirms that refrigerating alkaline batteries doesn't do any good.
2003 Duracell launches primary prismatic batteries. A flat, rectangular shape makes these cells ideal for ever-
slimmer digital cameras and other high-drain devices.
MAY 2004 Gillette makes the first battery-
powered disposable razor--the vibrating handle, the company says, emits pulses to prop up stubble.
JUNE 2004 MTI Micro Fuel Cells introduces a proof-of-concept direct-methanol fuel cell that runs handheld devices, such as the prototype HP Pocket PC pictured here.
2007 The Hubble space telescope's 17-year-old nickel-hydrogen batteries conk out, dooming the satellite.