The Clarendon lab in Oxford is home to the battery with the longest battery life this world has ever seen. It’s the battery that powers the Oxford Electric Bell, and it’s been running continuously for, wait for it, 178 years!
The battery was brought in 1840 by physicist Robert Walker. It was just 40 years after the Italian pioneer of electricity Volta, invented the first battery in 1800 but surprisingly, it still works. If you think of it, it actually outlived every single battery humanity has ever produced and it holds a Guinness World Record for that. But how come it still works? What makes this battery last so long?
Well, the truth is nobody knows. Because it’s a dry pile battery, we know that it contains a paste with water so that the electrolyte can get the water needed and that the water is kept in a solid sulfur coating. Far from that though, we know nothing of what’s inside. And there’s a pretty good reason for it. (the article continues after the ad)
In order to find out what’s exactly hidden in this 178-year old battery, we would need to cut it open and end its run. And nobody wants to do that. For as long as the battery works, we won’t know what its actual components are.
By the way, the voltage between the bells is 2 kV. To put that into perspective and understand how amazing it is, that’s nearly 10 times the voltage of the main electricity in the UK.
How impressive is that?