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Amateur Radio Quiz: Cell-a-bration!


By H. Ward Silver, N0AX

I just finished reading The Battery -- How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution by Henry Schlesinger and found it a very interesting read. It’s not too technical, it's filled with lots of fascinating historical detail -- and ham radio even makes an appearance or two! I thought incorporating some of the book’s historical surprises into a shocking quiz would give you a charge.

1) What fossil material can be used to generate static electricity?
a. Coprolyte
b. Lodestone
c. Amber
d. Coal

2) What animal contributed to Galvani’s discovery of electrophysiology?
a. Cat
b. Frog
c. Electric Eel
d. Cow

3) Which World War II device depended on a miniature battery?
a. Atomic bomb
b. Depth charge
c. Heliograph
d. Proximity fuse

4) What was the original name of the battery company now known as Duracell?
a. Ray-O-Vac
b. Mallory
c. Burgess
d. Eveready

5) Whose co-worker coined the terms “anode” and “cathode” to describe the electrical polarity of terminals?
a. Franklin
b. Faraday
c. Davy
d. Henry 

6) Who came up with the terms “charge” and “discharge”?
a. Franklin
b. Volta
c. Priestly
d. Newton

7) When were the standard battery cell sizes used today, such as “D cell,” first published?
a. 1919
b. 1927
c. 1941
d. 1955

8) A Leyden Jar is an early example of what type of electrical component?
a. Vacuum tube
b. Inductor
c. Transformer
d. Capacitor 

9) What company first marketed a portable transistor radio to consumers?
a. Sony
b. I.D.E.A.
c. Sharp
d. Motorola 

10) What is the chemistry of a Planté Cell?
a. Carbon-zinc
b. Lead-acid
c. Zinc-air
d. Nickel-cadmium

Bonus: For what was the original “energizer” battery designed?



1) c -- When rubbed with a cloth, the surface of this non-conductive mineral could hold a charge.
2) b -- Frog legs in a metal pan twitched when touched with metallic surgical instruments.
3) d -- Built into the tip of artillery and anti-aircraft shells, the battery powered miniature range-finding electronics.
4) b -- Its founder, P. R. Mallory, was an heir to the Mallory Line, a 19th century shipping firm.
5) b -- William Whewell worked closely with Faraday and helped develop a standardized electrical terminology.
6) a -- During his study of electricity, Benjamin Franklin contributed many words still in use today.
7) a -- The National Bureau of Standards and representatives of the battery industry created the designations.
8) d -- Invented in Leyden (or Leiden), the Leyden Jar can store a lot of energy.
9) b -- Called the Regency TR-1, it contained four Texas Instruments transistors and debuted in 1954.
10) b -- Gaston Planté invented the widely-used lead-acid cell in 1859

Bonus answer: The first electric watch, made by the Hamilton Company.