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Today I bought a steampunk battery!

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Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  JingleJoe on Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:20 am

Today I ventured to the venreable "Jim's Emporium" to buy a picture frame but instead I came back with this:



It's an old battery from the early 1900's Very Happy (cost me only 3 Razz) just the thing I need for my collection of old electronics!

More photos;


The image on the front is black outlines on gold depicting a naked man with an ancient roman army helmet and a cape on and a sword, riding a horse. Over a dragon.
... Why aren't our batteries this cool anymore!?








There was a single brass screw-down-style connector on the top;



This struck me as strange as batteries need both a + and - connection but I noticed there was a small hole in the top on the left (you can't really see it well because of the camera's inability to focus) but its there. I assumed this is where another connection had been rent from the battery's top, so I inserted a peice of copper wire into the hole, connected it to a milliameter at hand and voila! Long life it says? Long life it has! I got a reading of 0.02 milliamperes Very Happy (using an old analog meter I might add Wink )
Then I looked at the small tuft of what appeared to be string on the right side, I thought perhaps it was left there having had something to do with manufacturing, but no!
It was a stub of fabric covered wire! I connected my meter and got a reading of 0.15 milliamperes!

Something else I notice is it had two - connections (the hole and the fabric covered wire) or two + I didnt check which was which in my excitement! Anyone know why Smile?

Unfortunatley I do not have a voltmeter with a low enough range to measure what little voltage remains.

Well, that is my latest find Smile Jim had it in store for about 2 years before I finally decided to buy it Laughing


Last edited by JingleJoe on Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Prof. George of Chaos on Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:25 am

#Excitedly# I've seens some like this in our local Tip-Shop!
Do you know if they can be charged at all? If so...Hang on, what kind of connections/couplings are these batteries intended to make with the recievers of their power?

Perhaps we've become so used to battery tech that the producing companies no longer feel the need to glorify them. Perhaps our designers no longer have so much of the so necessary sense of the theatrical. Architecture gets more dramatic when imperialism is in vogue, and less so when not (or so a friend of mine tells me). Perhaps this unfortunate (and combattable!) state of affairs extends across the board.

Rather makes me want to print out stickers to better my batteries.

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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Siliconous Skumins on Sun Sep 21, 2008 3:20 am

Ooooohhh! Nice find! Smile

Looks like it's possibly a "B" battery from an early radio set. For those who don't know what that means, "A" batteries were used to power the valve's low voltage filament (1.5 - 6v typical), and another battery called the "B" battery supplied the high voltage side of the valve (typically 45 to 90V). Wish I could give more info, but I don't know of that manufacturer's history or products.
Typically "A" batteries were rechargable lead-acid cells, but single use dry cells were also used. So this caould be an "A" battery (though I dont think so due to the two positive connectors).


Sorry Prof, those batteries are primary cells (use once, then throw away), usually some form of zinc carbon cell. However, I can help with making modern batteries look a little better - there is a website that has scanned images of original batteries, which have been sized as exact replicas, and can be printed out on stiff, thin card and glued together to make an exact copy of the battery (for use by vintage radio collectors, who want things to look perfect). I'll have to have a look for the link though, will post it up when I find it. Smile

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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Gazongola on Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:03 am

Now does it keep going and going?
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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Mad Maxine on Thu Sep 25, 2008 4:50 am

The only thing I know about this kind of battery: do NOT stick your tongue on those terminals.

LOL.
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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Siliconous Skumins on Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:14 am

Mad Maxine wrote:The only thing I know about this kind of battery: do NOT stick your tongue on those terminals.

LOL.
M

Speaking as somebody who once stripped a pair of wires with his teeth.....and unknowingly they were still connected to a 48V SLA battery pack - no, NOT recomended! affraid

Actually, that reminds me - in some museum (science museum I think.....or some science lab...?) somwhere, there is a 'dry cell' battery pile that was used for WWII carbon arc search lights, it still generates around 2000V even after all these years! I wouldn't recomend licking the terminals on that either - there would just be a pile of ash left from you, and a black smudge that was once your tongue, left on the terminal... Laughing

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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Horse Brass on Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:38 am

I finally found a vintage radio article I knew I had around somewhere, and that battery looks a lot like the No. 6 dry cells in that article. They had two thumbscrew terminals on the top, the wire might have been a connection to a terminal that has since broken off. Google comes up with some details about them.
If it is a No. 6, they were designed to be able to supply high currents for telephones as well as radios, so you would definitely have wanted to keep your tongue off a new one. Shocked
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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  MaggotyAnne on Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:32 pm

Wicked! I wasn't able to find out what hazardous chemicals are in it though. Probably sulphuric acid, lead, mercurey, stuf like that. It will make a lovely orament.
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Re: Today I bought a steampunk battery!

Post  Prof. George of Chaos on Thu Sep 25, 2008 7:43 pm

Only not for the kitchen. Maybe the nursery...

Thanks Siliconous. Very Happy

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