Collecting batteries is a little like collecting matches. They were meant to be consumed and discarded. Consequently, though millions were made, few survive. How can you find old batteries? I’ve found most of mine inside electronics items I collect. But now increasingly I find old batteries in antique stores.
To those who collect only from the standpoint of technology, it pays to remember this: a battery may be a very specific technology-related thing to you, but to antique dealers generally it isn’t technology at all, it’s package design. Or what they will group under the broad heading of “advertising collectibles.”
And so, in searching for batteries, you may find yourself exposed to other vintage packaging, and liking it. Makes sense to me. There are lots of good examples to enjoy in these pages: kitchen and bathroom collectibles, “The Box it Came In” page, and more. And don’t miss Collecting Batteries Part One.
Top picture: Coronado All American (Gamble-Skogmo Inc.) NEDA 1604, 9V, Whiz 006P (9V, Taiwan), Key Max 006P (9V, Japan) Kanda Dry Battery Co., Ltd, Novel 006P (9V Fuji Electrochemical, Japan), Global Chargeable 006P-8V (8V, Japan), Sony 006P (9V, Japan).
Second photo: Several of these are still unopened. SSS 006P (9V, Saigusa Dry Battery, Japan), Key Max “TR Battery” 006P (9V, Kanda Dry Battery, Japan), Key Max BL-M106 (9V, Japan), Raleigh 006P (9V, Japan), Marathon (of Wausau) NEDA 1604 (9V, USA) “Approved Quality Since 1923,” Vanguard 006P (9V, Japan).
Batteries are one of those things where the package is the product. Both in the sense that they could, and were, sold without any packaging around them. And in the sense that the product is inextricably linked with the brand and design it bears and derives much of its perceived value from those graphics.
Third photo: Radio Shack 006P (9V, Japan), Novel UM-3A (1.5V, Japan), Tadiran R15 (1.5V, origin not visible), National UM-3-HE (1.5V, Matsushita Electric, Japan), Yuasa Diamond UM-1 (1.5V, Japan), Nobility “D Size" (1.5V, “Made in Japan for U.S. Glass Corporation, New York”), Solar (Ash Flash) No. 924, (1.5V, Hong Kong).
Fourth photo: Ray-O-Vac “Cell No. 2,” (French Battery Co, USA), Bell Products NEDA 1604, No. 26 (9V, Japan), Golden Tone 006P (9V, Hong Kong), Golden 006P is still in its cellophone wrapper (9V, Japan), RCA No. VS 036, Size D (1.5V, USA), X-Cell Super-Life No. 11 Flashlight Battery, Excell Battery Co., Pasadena, Calif., USA. “For best results put in service before August 1943.”
Burgess 2N6 Activator NEDA 1602 VS305 246 (9V, USA), Sears Silvertone 6421 mercury (9V, USA), Eveready No. E177 mercury (9V, USA), Eveready E640 mercury batteries (2) with box “For Transistor and Electronic Applications” (1.4V, USA), Eveready E133 mercury (in box), (4V, USA), Bell System, I can't see much on the label except “October 22, 1955. Dry Cell.” Eveready E233 Mercury Energizer (4.2V, USA).
Ray-O-Vac 1604 (9V, USA), Mallory M14F Size C (1.5V, USA), Thrifty NEDA 15, size AA, “distributed by Thrifty Drug Stores Co., Inc. Los Angeles, California” (1.5V, USA), Bright Star No. 59 “Single Cell Penlite Battery” Bright Star Battery Co., Clifton, NJ. “4-40” is stamped on this battery which may be its date of manufacture (1.5V, USA), RCA AA, RCA VS 335 (1.5V, USA, Eveready No. 1015 penlites (1.5V, USA). AKA penlights.
The huge Eveready No. 563 (4.5V, USA). This monster is rechargeable but the chemistry isn’t stated. “For portable television and other electronic applications.” Behind is an old Eveready D-cell 950 for size reference.
At the top of the page, helping sell out the 1960s, are flamboyant Flower Power "D" batteries in their original package (1.5V, USA), distributed by a division of the toymaker Transogram.
Also above are a pair of very early Sony batteries. These little N cells bear the original Sony logo. And shown here is a Ray-O-Vac sticker. It’s an original, unused clear sticker intended for a store window. It is inscribed “Goodstix” by the Goodren Prod. Corp. Englewood, N.J.
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