Archive for Thursday, December 2, 2010

We love our gadgets

December 2, 2010

Today my caller I.D. stopped working, I checked the batteries and sure enough, they were bad. I had to replace them and now it works fine. Then I went to the sunroom to watch television and discovered the remote no longer changed the channels. So I changed the batteries in that too. It worked. Later in the day I needed a flashlight, and lo and behold, it wouldn’t work either. You’re right, it was the bad batteries so there was another replacement. My camera needed to be recharged and thank goodness it has a rechargeable battery so that was easy but just took time.

My alarm clock has a backup battery that needs to be checked once in a while. Our smoke alarm started beeping and there again it needed a new battery. What’s going on? We are so dependent these days on so many gadgets that are so much a part of our lives. I have so many flashlights around the house and invariably, when I need one, I have to go through several before I can find one that works. Thank goodness for good batteries.

Many countries claim to have invented the first dry cell batteries. Many types of jars and liquids were experimented with over the years. The first known dry cell was invented in 1887 and there were so many people working on the project that it is really hard to find out who and what really took place. Many battery cells date to the 1800s. There were wet cells and dry cells, but the dry cells were more practical for our collection of gadgets.

In 1899 a Swedish scientist named Waldmar Jungner invented the nickel-cadmium battery, a rechargeable battery that had nickel and cadmium electrodes in a potassium hydroxide solution; the first battery to use an alkaline electrolyte. It was commercialized in Sweden in 1910 but did not reach the United States until 1946.

The average household in the United States throws out eight various batteries a year. I have a battery tester and make sure the batteries are bad before I discard them. Many states have recycling codes for dry cell batteries, which should be recycled because they do contaminate the landfills.

What would we do without our gadgets?

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