Electric Dreams—Morrison Electric & The Birth of the Electric Car
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hough Detroit is world-famous as the capital of American auto production, when it comes to electric cars, Des Moines, Iowa beat the Motor City to the punch. A Scottish immigrant who settled in Des Moines, in 1880, William Morrison began as a chemist, but his main interest was in electricity, and specifically, batteries. Laboring in an obscure basement workshop below Lumbard Jewelry, on Fifth Avenue between Locust Street and Grand Avenue, Morrison focused on the chemistry of electric storage batteries and sought to make a battery that was portable, yet powerful. By extension, Morrison’s battery experiments led the inventor to create the first successful American electric car in 1890.
Born circa 1850 and educated at a Scottish university, Morrison had a passion for inventing and had been fascinated with electricity since he was a boy. He was quiet and usually preferred to work in silence and solitude. Tall and clean-shaven with dark hair, Morrison was a hefty man and a vegetarian.
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