Side A: On April 29, 1879, using arc carbons from the forerunner of the National Carbon Company, the City of Cleveland was illuminated by the world’s first practical electric street lamp. The National Carbon Company was founded in 1886 and earned recognition for its lifesaving carbon-filtered gas masks for World War I soldiers and reentry parts for the spacecraft that captivated the nation in the 1960s. The company also received an Academy Award for its contributions to motion picture photography in 1956. At this location in 1956, The National Carbon Company opened its Parma Research Laboratory. This facility became global headquarters for GrafTech International in 2006. On the company’s 125th anniversary of pioneering innovation in advanced energy graphite material science, it owned nearly 800 patents and patent-pending applications.
Side B: In this facility in 1957, Lewis Frederick Urry invented and tested the alkaline battery, a device that outlasted its competitors (and just kept going and going). Eveready, a subsidiary of The National Carbon Company, began mass production of the new battery soon thereafter. In 1980, Eveready was renamed Energizer. Urry continued to innovate for The National Carbon Company, inventing the lithium battery there as well. Urry’s original prototype and the first commercially produced alkaline battery now sit next to Thomas Edison’s light bulb in the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. The National Carbon Company ultimately became GrafTech International in 2002.