[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ONDON – In the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University, there is a bell that rings without any pause, the reason being its power source a single battery that was installed in 1840 and is still running.
How does it work? Nobody knows. And scientists are afraid to open it, lest they spoil the running of the battery and subsequently the ringing of the bell.
The bell’s clapper oscillates back and forth and has approximately rung 10 billion times! It is made with what is called a ‘dry pile’ alternating discs of silver, zinc, sulfur, and other materials that generate low currents of electricity.
AJ Croft, a former researcher at the Clarendon Laboratory wrote in a paper in 1984,” What the piles are made of is not known with certainty, but it is clear that the outer coating is of sulphur, and this seals in the cells and the electrolyte. Piles similar to this were made by Zamboni, whose batteries were constituted of about 2,000 pairs of discs of tin foil glued to paper impregnated with zinc sulphate and coated on the other side with manganese dioxide.”
The bell was made London instrument makers Watkin and Hill, was not a part of any experiment and was set up in 1840.
Eventually, it was purchased by a researcher and allowed it to continue to ring. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the “world’s most durable battery.”
Doesn’t the continuous ringing get annoying? Apparently not. The voltage in the battery is so low that it is inaudible to the human ear.
The battery pulls a mere 1 nanoAmp each time it oscillates between the bell’s sides, which is almost negligible current.
So the bell continues ringing. But will it ever stop? Maybe when the clapper wears out. But the battery definitely won’t drain out