A WWII era battery showed up today. It's made of wood.

A WWII era battery showed up today. It's made of wood.

Ahh! An actual B battery from when radios had an A battery with a low voltage and a high voltage B to run the tube excitation.

I'm old enough to remember these puppies.

And when most big grocery stores had a vacuum tube self-test station with a bazillion plugs. :)

I'm old enough to remember

And when most big grocery stores had a vacuum tube self-test station with a bazillion plugs. :)

C was bias supply , for fixed bias point operation.Cathode bias came later. Wow, I'm old

If the customer doesn't want it back, I'd start calling museums and ww2 historical sites and see if it can be donated. You don't see many of these anymore so surely someone would want it for display.

I have absolutely no idea what either or those things are. I think you are officially old.



And to this day I get so many customers telling how your not suppose to set a battery on the cement. Even if I do it for a second, I'll get someone saying "aren't you not suppose to do that because it'll discharge it". Drives me insane and I don't know why.

That's where it comes from the wood cased ones would leak acid through the wood then when put on concrete the acid would react with the concrete

Haha....Not exactly. Warning...nerd alert:

In the dry cell world, you initially had the "bell battery" like /u/nspectre posted earlier. Batteries didn't really have designations other than the manufacturer's model number at this point, like "Eveready 302".

"A" and "B" batteries were designated arbitrarily by the radio manufacturers in the 1920s to differentiate the two different type of battery needed in those days. They hadn't figured out how to do AC line powered radios yet at that point and it was easier to do everything under battery power. AC power wasn't yet ubiquitous either. (source: I restore antique radios, including 1920s battery sets.) Bonus: PHILCO as in Philco radio originally began as PHILadelphia COmpany battery manufacturers, making radio batteries!

The "A" battery was for tube filiments, usually a repurposed lead acid battery absconded from the car (very common practice) and 6 Volts. If you drained the battery, start the car with the crank and let the car's generator charge it - remember this was the Ford Model T era when cars still had manual crank starters in addition to any electric starters. All early tubes were 5 volt filimants and a rehostat was used to temper voltage for newly charged batteries and adjust as the battery weakened and voltage dropped. It needed to be high current, around 2-3 amps, to run the filaments, hence the use of car batteries.

The "B" battery was what OP showed, usually paired together to make the 90 volts that vacuum tubes want on their plates to conduct properly.

Some radios wanted a "C" battery, to bias some parts of the circuitry. HOWEVER, this has NOTHING to do with the "C" batteries we know today. I've seen "C" batteries that looked like button cells, some that looked like a square lantern battery, all different kinds of forms. The voltage for a radio "C" battery can be anything from 1.5V to 22.5V.

The "modern C" dry battery didn't really come into being until the 30's or 40's with standardization of flashlight dry cells. And this begins the era of standardized battery sizes - AAA/AA for "penlights", C and D for flashlights. It wasn't until the late 50's that transistor radios developed to the point they could use plain flashlight/penlight batteries. Mid-50's radios had some WEIRD battery requirements, so flashlights were the most common use of dry cell batteries to that point.

Dont set it on concrete.

My brother in law swore I ruined his battery by placing it on the driveway when I took it out of his truck the six years of starting a power smoke in northern Alberta was not a factor in his mind

I would love to ave one in my collection of batteries.

Volkswagen fan, huh?

Whoops. I guess I shouldn't have used one for a door stop a few years back. Those things are heavy. Either I tossed them or they are back in the radio they came in (stored at my mom's house)


Whoops. I guess I shouldn't have used one for a door stop a few years back. Those things are heavy. Either I tossed them or they are back in the radio they came in (stored at my mom's house)

My lawn, get off it!

Yes, one

Does it still have voltage?

The string, as you have found out, connected the knob you turn to the part of the radio that does the tuning. In most radios this is a tuning capacitor.

It does not sound like you are confident with electronics and old tube radios are much more lethal than modern low-voltage devices, so I would ask you do a bit of reading before you start poking your hands inside. Namely: learn how to use a multimeter and about identifying & discharging capacitors. Never ever assume big metal things like a chassis, heatsink or tuning capacitor are not being held at lethal voltages. Always assume that the designer was out to kill repairmen until you can prove otherwise (source: I repair electronics).

Now that the obligatory 400VAC paragraph is out of the way: you can restring your tuning knob to your tuning cap. You'll need to work out where the original string went (often there are nearby rollers/things the string ran on) as there an infinite number of ways to run a string. Don't worry about over-turning your tuning cap when you first use your new string: the string will slip.

There are lots of online radio communities. I have found that some of them are more open than others. Have a look around and see what you can find.

Probably a nick name for the powerstroke diesel engine.

Is that a challenge?

It doesn't affect modern batteries.

6 years is a hell of a good life in 'berta.

I'd be happy with 3 or 4.

Not sure if serious

I would love to see your collection!

We're a battery shop so we're definitely keeping it for display.

My favourite thing to do was when we were getting a pool installed outback and the foundation was being dug up.

HUGE dirt clumps that were hard as hell were everywhere. I used to pretend they were huge space ships and threw rocks at them like lasers to "destroy" them.

I was 10. Dirt was the best game.

Huh... I had forgotten that style of electrical terminal existed. When I was a kid my dad made me a little "science kit" that had terminals like that wired up to a PVC pipe full of D cells.

Flashlights, initially, then into other sorts of things.

Edit: Yeah, yeah other sorts of things...very funny. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡-)

Are you sure it's made to test multiple at once? It looks like it has multiple different sockets to accept a variety of tubes. I'm not sure how the analog meter at the top would work with multiple tubes plugged in, and I don't see any kind of a signal for each base to indicate a bad tube.

Explosion in the distance

Disclaimer: Not an old person.

The first picture is just a set of old batteries - similar to our non-rechargables that you get today, just bigger and more dangerous.

The second is a machine used to test vacuum tubes - these acted as transistors/amplifiers, and when one blew in a whole system full of them, you had to test each one to see which one was the broken one and replace that. This machine is made to test lots at the same time for convenience.

Edit: Its more likely to test many different kinds of tubes 1 at a time

I never thought I would say it, but I actually want to see a battery collection, and what would be in it.

I'd like to know too..

Mostly lubricants and cuffs

The only thing I'm old enough to remember is a sliver of childhood right before the millennium where if you were bored, you went and got bored outside. Then you poked at bugs or something until dinnertime, I dunno, I was 6. I guess someday I'll be telling my kids what it was like to watch my dad open the family's first iPhone

My father has drilled it into my head since I was a kid not to leave car batteries on cement. I'm not even really sure if it does affect them but I'm now in my mid 30's and you can be damned sure I don't do it to this day.

Around here they just call tow trucks.

Dude. My great grandfatherther's (now mine) Philco radio Is broken. But the tubes and everything are still fine. Some peice of 70 year old string broke and now you can't tune it. Any clue where I could get it fixed or find out how?

What were the D and C cells for?

It's a carbon-zinc battery. Not rechargable.

Tubes ( or valves, in the UK) are alive and well in the modern world. They don't belong in cell phones but they have plenty of fans in audio electronics, and their ability to handle current makes them useful in other situations as well.

Wait. So THAT'S why they're called D/C/A/AA/AAA???

My head just exploded.

Totally unrelated, but you reminded me of a story one of the old timers on the 39-47 Dodge truck email list told one time.

He remembers being a youngster during WWII, and his dad would go out and crank start his mom's Chrysler in the morning so she could go off to work at the factory, thus saving the battery (which was a rationed item), while he used his Dodge truck to work the farm. (Side note: during the cold months, he'd fill a coffee can with sand and kerosene (I believe it was), put it under the oil pan and light it, then go in for a cup of coffee. By the time he came out, the oil was nice and warm, thus reducing startup wear)

At work, she and all the other ladies would park at the top of the nearest hill. At the end of the day, they'd take turns push starting each other down the hill, again sparing the load on the battery.

I found it an interesting little insight into the daily lives of folks who had to have common items, like car batteries, rationed.

put a slow trickel charge on that bad boy

Check this guy out with friends to throw rocks at ... STOP SHOWING OFF

They did indeed make batteries from wood- the wood obviously didn't hold fluid, the batteries had glass "cells" in a wood container.

Is it connected to a radio with at least 4 vacuum tubes?

Not 100% certain, but I think the batteries were for ring voltage. While the voice current was supplied by the central office.

When you picked up the handset to make a call you needed to signal the operator to engage your circuit. You could do this by either cranking a small generator to buzz/light the switchboard or, if you had a battery, it would supply the current to buzz/light the switchboard when you lifted the handset. 14 volts if I remember correctly. When the operator plugged in your line, the CO supplied the DC current for the voice call (and recharged the battery while you talked.)

In old movies when you see them jiggle the hook a few times saying "Operator? Hello? Operator!" -- over at the switchboard it's going "bzzzzzzzzz bzz bzz bzz bzzzzzzzzzz" pissing the operator off. ;)

Battery terminal protectant. Buy it and use it.

Because its stupid. It's like when my MiL comments on just about any ailment.

Fahnestock clips.

I had a battery once. It was a wooden battery with wooden terminals, wooden cells and a wooden electrolyte. The only problem was, it wooden charge. I'm sorry. I'll go away now.

I got 10 years out of my Acura ELs battery. Now, my Ford Expedition on the other hand... Just put a new one in 6 months ago and it already looks like blue rock candy. Yummy.

Its a play on Power Stroke, a Ford diesel engine.

Relevant flair.

What's the core charge on one of those?

I feel like it should be filled with animal cookies.

Yep, one at a time. You can make a tube tester that tests multiple tubes for one socket type (say, 9 pin minature), but you need multiple rotary switches to do so. You can simplify the setup procedure (and the need for rotary switches) by wiring multiple combinations of connections on various sockets on the tester.

-Technician, works on vintage gear and restores test equipment.

Instead of having a single cell, 9V are made up of multiple cells: https://i.imgur.com/FHJdhIK.jpg

Instead of having a single cell, 9V are made up of multiple cells:

Boomboxes was a big one, some toys (R/C cars?), and yeah flash lights.

Things were huge and I remember them disappearing around mid to late 90's.

Think I sometimes see them in the battery section but don't even know what uses them now-a-days.

PS: What is the 9v battery designation? E?

Power smoke?

Nope, batteries are acidic. And anyway, the acid is all neatly contained in the plastic case.

We just pelted eachother with them

They still use the big ones in RC glow plug starters.

A 9V Battery is a 9V battery. It does have ANSI and IEC designations, but those aren't commonly used. The reason it didn't get a special name like the others is that it isn't a cell. 9V Batteries are actual batteries as they are comprised of multiple cells in series to make 9V. AAA, AA, C, and D are cells. That's where the brand name Duracell comes from.