The obituary of inventor Lewis Urry, whose breakthrough creation has powered millions of products, appeared just a couple days before the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled another version of Urry's technical passion.
Both events were pointed reminders about our reliance on portable power. Urry, a Union Carbide chemical engineer, is considered the father of the long-life alkaline battery. The CSPC recall of one million Kyocera mobile phones because of potentially explosive batteries is the agency's third such action this year and involves a newer breed of portable energy.
Of course, there was no connection (except timing) between the inventor's death at age 77 and the latest flare-up in portable power. Yet the smiling photo of Urry holding a benign Energizer bunny (going-and-going via his alkaline creation) offered a stark contrast to reports and pictures portraying scarred customers and severe battery problems.