The history of Burgess Battery Company began in Madison, Wisconsin in 1917. This was just in time to help the United States power their military radio communications in World War I. University of Wisconsin professor, Charles Burgess, started the company.
Charles Burgess and Batteries – a Natural Fit
Burgess, born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1873, studied chemistry at the University of Wisconsin. He graduated in 1895. Burgess then went on to earn a master’s degree in chemistry from Harvard University in 1896. After graduating from Harvard, Burgess returned to the University of Wisconsin, where he was a chemistry and chemical engineering professor.
In 1910, Burgess co-founded the Northern Chemical Engineering Laboratories. In 1915, the firm became C. F. Burgess Laboratories, and was the nexus of various Burgess enterprises. Burgess Battery Company was one of them.
The Burgess Battery Company was initially a small operation, but it grew rapidly during World War I. By the end of the war, Burgess Battery was one of the largest battery manufacturers in the United States.
After the war, Burgess Battery expanded its product line to include a variety of batteries for consumer and industrial use. The company developed new battery designs and manufacturing processes.
In 1926, Burgess Battery moved its headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin, to Freeport, Illinois. The company expanded during the 1930s and 1940s.
Death of Founder
However, following the sudden death of the founder in 1945, Burgess began to decline in the 1950s. Competition from Japanese and Korean battery manufacturers increased.
In 1989, the company’s battery manufacturing operations shut down, and the Burgess Battery brand name soon ceased to exist.
The Burgess Battery Company was a pioneer in the development of the battery industry. It thrived during the early days of radio and the First World War.
Here is a timeline of the ownership of Burgess Battery Company from 1917 to 1991:
1917: Charles F. Burgess starts Burgess Battery Company in Madison, Wisconsin.
1926: Burgess Battery Company moves its headquarters to Freeport, Illinois.
1945: Founder suddenly dies of heart attack.
1958: Servel, Inc. acquires Burgess Battery Company.
1967: Servel, Inc. becomes part of Clevite Corporation.
1969: Clevite Corporation joins Gould-National Batteries, Inc.
1974: Burgess Battery operation is acquired by Charles Pindyck, Inc.
1991: Battery manufacturing operations are shut down.
1992: Burgess Battery brand name is retired.
- Year Started: 1917
- Year Ended: 1989
- Origin Of Name: Name of Founder / Descriptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Charles Burgess
- Owner While In Use: Several
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Duracell
- Naics Code: 335910
- Location Headquarters: Freeport, Illinois USA