Duracell Inc. is an American manufacturer of alkaline batteries, specialty cells, rechargeables and smart power systems, owned by Berkshire Hathaway. The company has its origins in the 1920s, through the work of Samuel Ruben and Philip Mallory, and the formation of the P. R. Mallory Company.

Duracell Inc.
Founded1924; 98 years ago (1924) (as P.R. Mallory Company)
FoundersSamuel Ruben
Philip Mallory
HeadquartersBethel, Connecticut, U.S.
Geneva, Switzerland[1]
ProductsBatteries and smart power systems
RevenueUS$2 billion (2015)
Number of employees
ParentBerkshire Hathaway
SubsidiariesDuracell (UK) Limited
Duracell China Limited
Duracell Batteries BV
Duracell Batteries Limited[2]
Typical Duracell 9V battery

Through a number of corporate mergers and acquisitions, Duracell came to be owned by the consumer products conglomerate Procter & Gamble (P&G). In November 2014, P&G reached an agreement to sell the company to Berkshire Hathaway through a transfer of shares. Under the deal, Berkshire Hathaway exchanged the shares it held in P&G for ownership of the Duracell business.[3]



A Mallory Duracell Battery from the 1970s

Duracell originated via the partnership of scientist Samuel Ruben and businessman Philip Rogers Mallory, who met during the 1920s. The P. R. Mallory Company of Burlington, Massachusetts, United States, relocated its headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1924. The company produced mercury batteries for military equipment,[4] trumping the carbon-zinc batteries used then in virtually all applications. In 1956, P. R. Mallory & Co. acquired General Dry Batteries, Inc. (GDB) with headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. GDB was then the third-largest U. S. manufacturer of zinc-carbon batteries and had made mercury batteries under license from P. R. Mallory during World War II and after the war until its acquisition in 1956.[5] During the 1950s, Kodak introduced cameras with a flash. The design required a new zinc-carbon cell size, and size AAA was developed.[4]

A Duracell flashlight from the 1980s

In 1964, the term "Duracell" was introduced as a brand, from "durable cell". Until 1980, the batteries also bore the Mallory brand.


P. R. Mallory was acquired by Dart Industries in 1978, which in turn, merged with Kraft in 1980. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts bought Duracell in 1988 and took the company public in 1989. It was acquired for $7 billion by The Gillette Company in 1996.[6]

In 2005, Procter & Gamble acquired Duracell's parent Gillette for $57 billion.[7]

In September 2011, Duracell and Powermat Technologies Ltd. started a joint venture, called Duracell Powermat, to make small wireless chargers for mobile phones and small electronics, with P&G owning 55% of the joint venture shares and Powermat 45%.[8]

In March 2012, along with Powermat Technologies, Duracell, under the Procter & Gamble corporate umbrella, founded the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), an alliance of leading industry and governmental organizations that is dedicated to advancing smart and environmentally sound wireless power.[9] AT&T and Starbucks joined the board later that year.[10]

In 2013, the company released a new "Duracell Quantum" line as their top-performing product series.[11]

P&G spin-off and Berkshire Hathaway ownershipEdit

On October 24, 2014, Procter & Gamble announced it would spin off Duracell in 2015 as part of a wider restructuring scheme.[12] On November 14, 2014, Berkshire Hathaway declared its intent to acquire Duracell in an all-stock deal, consisting of $4.7 billion worth of P&G stock then owned by Berkshire Hathaway.[13] The acquisition received regulatory approval from the European Commission in July 2015.[14]

The transfer was completed on February 29, 2016, with P&G investing $1.8 billion in cash into Duracell, and Berkshire Hathaway giving P&G back 52 million shares.[3]

In September 2016, Duracell announced plans to move its executive team and 60 employees to Chicago.[15]


A Duracell AA battery

Duracell manufactures alkaline batteries in many common sizes, such as AAA, AA, C, D, and 9V. Lesser-used sizes such as AAAA (primarily for pagers, penlights, and blood glucose meters) and J size batteries (for hospital devices and photographic strobe flash units) are also manufactured along with a range of "button" batteries using zinc-air, silver-oxide, and lithium chemistries, used in calculators, watches, hearing aids, and other small (mostly medical-related) devices. Duracell entered into a brand licensing agreement with flash memory manufacturer Dane-Elec in 2008 for a line of products including memory cards, hard drives and USB flash drives with the Duracell brand mark and in the brand's trademark "copper top" coloring.[16]

Duracell also manufactures specialty batteries, including NiMH rechargeable batteries and batteries for cameras, watches, hearing aids, etc. Their two main battery brands are "CopperTop (Plus)," marketed as longer-lasting, and "Ultra," directed mainly at users of digital devices and devices that need more power. Duracell also has a line of lithium batteries and products, now manufactured outside of the U.S.

Various Procell batteries from the Alkaline & Intense product ranges

In recent years, Duracell's innovations expanded to include new battery designs with their prismatic batteries, which are prismatic in shape rather than cylindrical. Prismatic cells were made available in both alkaline and lithium designs. In 2006, Duracell introduced "Power Pix" batteries with NiOx technology, designed to supply longer life in digital cameras and other high-drain devices by up to twice the number of photos typically achievable with alkaline batteries.

Duracell's professional batteries have been sold in the United States and Europe under the brand name "Procell" (previously "Industrial by Duracell" and "Duracell Procell"). Two main product lines are currently sold under the Procell brand, "Procell Alkaline" and "Procell Intense Power". These product lines aim to provide longer operational life by tailoring the power profile of the batteries to the requirements of the device. "Procell Alkaline" are designed for use in low drain applications such as clocks & remote controls, while Procell Intense Power, which is designed for use in higher drain devices such as security cameras.[17][18]

In the 1980s, the company briefly had a line of flashlights called Durabeam. The flashlights were marketed as being much stronger (the spokesperson turned the flashlight on, then spiked it like a football on the pavement to demonstrate), and brighter than an ordinary flashlight.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Coolidge, Alexander (March 1, 2016). "Duracell leaves P&G fold". Cincinnati. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved March 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Subsidiaries of the Registrant". www.sec.gov. Archived from the original on 31 May 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  3. ^ a b "P&G Completes Exchange of Duracell to Berkshire Hathaway". Business Wire. February 29, 2016. Archived from the original on March 1, 2016. Retrieved February 29, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-05.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Annual Report of P. R. Mallory for 1956
  6. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (September 13, 1996). "Gillette to Buy Duracell for $7 Billion". New York Times. Archived from the original on March 7, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  7. ^ "P&G to acquire Gillette for $57bn". BBC News. January 28, 2005. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  8. ^ Melanson, Donald (September 15, 2011). "Power mat and Duracell forming joint venture to 'globalize wireless charging'". Engadget. Archived from the original on April 26, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  9. ^ "AT&T, Google, Starbucks Back 'PMA' Wireless Power Ecosystem and Open Standard". PR Newswire. October 29, 2012. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  10. ^ Gilbert, Ben (October 29, 2012). "Boston-area Starbucks testing wireless smartphone charging; Starbucks, Google and AT&T back PMA standard". Engadget. Archived from the original on January 18, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  11. ^ "Duracell® Introduces Quantum™ The World's Most Advanced Alkaline Battery". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  12. ^ "P&G to shed Duracell". Cincinnati Business Journal. October 24, 2014. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  13. ^ Morris, Patrick (November 14, 2014). "Why Warren Buffett Just Bought Duracell". Money.com. Archived from the original on May 30, 2021. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  14. ^ Blenkinsop, Philip (23 July 2015). "EU clears Berkshire Hathaway's purchase of Duracell". Reuters. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  15. ^ Corilyn Shropshire (September 15, 2016). "Duracell to open Loop office". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  16. ^ "Duracell Advances 'Trusted Everywhere' Brand Name To Flash Memory Products". Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2013-08-25.
  17. ^ "Four ways to improve alkaline battery performance in professional devices". AVNET.
  18. ^ "An Examination of the Factors That Influence Primary Battery Longevity Performance Under Multiple-Cell Vs Single-Cell Testing Conditions". IOP Science.

Further readingEdit

  • Hintz, Eric S., "Portable Power: Inventor Samuel Ruben and the Birth of Duracell," Technology and Culture, 50 (Jan. 2009), 24–57.

External linksEdit