- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lewis Urry, 77, battery inventor

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — Lewis Urry, who invented the long-lasting alkaline batteries that power Gameboys and other portable devices, died Oct. 19 after a short illness. He was 77.

Mr. Urry retired in May from Energizer, the successor to Union Carbide’s National Carbon Co., where he developed the first practical long-life battery in the 1950s.

National Carbon, which made Eveready batteries, transferred Mr. Urry in 1955 to its Cleveland laboratory to work on ways to improve carbon zinc batteries that didn’t last very long.

He came up with a practical, long-lasting alkaline battery using powdered zinc as the electrolyte.

An estimated 80 percent of the dry-cell batteries in the world today are based on the work of Mr. Urry, who held 51 patents.

“Here at Energizer, we refer to Lew as the ‘father of alkaline,’” said Dan Carpenter, Energizer’s vice president and technology chief.

“He took special pride around Christmas, when there was a rush for batteries,” said his son, Steven Urry. “He didn’t brag on himself. It wasn’t until we got older that we realized what he had done.”

Mr. Urry was born in Pontypool, Ontario. He served in the Canadian army and later earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto in 1950.

Mr. Urry became a U.S. citizen in 1993.

His wife of 43 years, Beverly Ann Carlock, died in 1993.

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