Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

"The last two decades of the 20th century can be considered as a transition time for the methods of energy production, storage and conversion. The fossil fuels, coal, oil and natural gas, which were responsible for the - now in retrospect - nearly unbelievable development of technology in the Western world and increase of mobility of mankind are now considered as dangerous for the survival of the natural environment as we know it."

Karl Kordesch and Günter Simader. Fuel Cells and Their Application. 1996.

Karl and Erna Kordesch Papers, 1906-2011

Karl Kordesch, 1941.
Erna Bӧhm, 1940.
Erna and Karl Kordesch, about one year after their marriage, ca. 1947.
Karl Kordesch, ca. 1954.
Battery powered motorcycle designed and built by Karl Kordesch, ca. 1970s.
Hydrogen powered car designed and built by Karl Kordesch, 1970.
Erna and Karl Kordesch, August 1997.
Karl Kordesch, ca. 2008.

Information and Credits

MSS Kordesch

Karl Kordesch (1922-2011) was a distinguished Austrian-American chemist widely recognized for his contributions to battery and fuel cell research and technology. Kordesch was jointly responsible for the invention of the alkaline primary dry cell battery, significant developments in fuel cells, and the successful creation and operation of hybrid vehicles. During his career, Kordesch was responsible for more than 100 hundred patents as well as numerous papers, articles, and books on the subject of electrochemistry, effectively revolutionized the battery industry, and pioneered electric/fuel cell vehicles. The Karl and Erna Kordesch papers contain records of much of Karl's research and publishing efforts as well as biographical records, photos, and ephemera documenting the Kordeschs' life in Nazi-occupied Austria and the United States.

Timeline for Karl and Erna Kordesch

Biographical Note 

Content Description


14 linear feet; 36 boxes; 11 gigabytes


The Karl and Erna Kordesch Papers are arranged by medium, subject, and chronology.

Related Papers

Oral history interviews conducted in 2011 with Erna Kordesch and her son Albert are available in the History of Science Oral History Collection (OH 17).

More Information