The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

3 August 2006

From C to shining C

Winston remembers this sample of George Carlin's brain gases:

Why are there no B batteries? There arenít even any A batteries.

Being the old electronics person I am — and "old," I suppose, could modify either "electronics" or "person" — allow me to tell you where the A and B batteries were.

Back in the Pleistocene era, we had vacuum tubes, and it took two batteries to power them: the A battery, usually a "wet" cell, to provide juice to the filament, and the B battery, usually a "dry" cell, to provide plate voltage. (Here's an excerpt from a Crosley radio manual from the middle 1920s, showing both of them.)

Carlin, I note, is older than I am. Then again, he presumably never sat through a circuit-theory course.

Posted at 7:34 AM to General Disinterest


"Carlin, I note, is older than I am. Then again, he presumably never sat through a circuit-theory course."

Umm...then maybe he stood through it? I believe he trained as a radar technician.

Of course, I was never in the Air Force, either.

Posted by: Craig Ceely at 3:04 PM on 3 August 2006

On the other hand, if he knew this, and suppressed it for the sake of a punchline — well, I'd like to think I'd have done the same. :)

Posted by: CGHill at 3:21 PM on 3 August 2006

Thanks for the plug...
Yeah, another commenter also mentioned the A and B batteries, and that sparked some old synaptic connections that had been long dormant. As a kid I fixed old radios for little old ladies in town, including some Crosleys, and I do remember the bigassed batteries that some of them had. Seems like some of them used one just to keep the filaments in the tubes at half mast so they were instant on. Worst part of that job was hauling some of those babies back to my house. Huge furniture cases with 10 or 12 inch speakers with magnets big enough to pickup a pickup. I even had one with an electromagnet on it instead of a permanent magnet. Talk about heavy...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane...

Posted by: Winston at 5:02 PM on 3 August 2006

I'm still waiting for a good explanation for those goofy 9-volt boxes.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:17 AM on 4 August 2006