Monday, October 21, 2019


I found this Eveready Black Cat bank years ago at a garage sale.  While it's not strictly Halloween, hey, Black Cat. And I do use him to decorate for Halloween.

This plastic cat bank was a 1981 promotion by Eveready. You had your choice of the bank or 50 cents.

Batteries were always a hot commodity in our home growing up.  My dad never threw them out, convinced he could drain every last amp from them.  I even recall him putting them into our freezer claiming they would magically recharge. They would roll around in our junk drawer waiting for the moment you needed them.  It was like the Island of Misfit toys.  I don't recall my dad ever buying new batteries either.  Heaven forbid you got a present for Christmas that required batteries (the were NEVER included).  We would scavenge drawers, flashlights and old radios trying to come up with the required voltage and size.  And we had no way of measuring the remaining voltage, so it was a shell game of exchanging the batteries until you eliminated the bad one.  One Christmas, I needed 3 C batteries for my Ghost Gun and we only had two.  My dad rigged a spring between the middle battery and the contact to close the circuit.  The projected image was weak, but hey, it worked.

The Eveready company began life as the American Electrical Novelty and Manufacturing Company in New York in 1890.  In 1899, they bought the patent for the newly-created "Electric Device".  Real original name.

Of course you recognize it and the company also quickly recognized "flashlight" was much better name, except in the UK where they preferred "torch".

The history of the 9-Live Cat logo is a little vague.  Difference sources place it's origin in the 20's or 30's.  I always assumed it was hype implying it would last longer than other batteries, though the choice of a black cat and its bad luck connection makes it an odd choice.  According to one person:
"Eveready batteries, unless they are marked “alkaline,” are carbon-zinc piles. You can use one to exhaustion, and then switch it off. After about a day the depolarization process will restore the battery to full strength. Hence, “nine lives.” Eventually the depolarizer will be used up, rendering the battery drained for the last time."
Maybe my Dad was on to something.  This does corroborate observations I've made with old batteries I've found, like those in this radio I found several years ago. I actually have another old Eveready battery sitting at my desk just because it reminds me of those battery-scavenging days.

I tested this one and it's sitting at 1.43 volts which is pretty darn close to its original 1.5V.  

In 1957, 2 Eveready employees invented the alkaline battery.  While it wasn't an instant hit, it would eventually replace the common zinc-carbon battery.  Eventually marketed as the Energizer battery, the company even renamed itself Energizer Holdings, Inc. in 2000.


  1. There is a lot to know about batteries. I hated getting battery operated toys as a kid because there were never any in my house either.

    1. I learned to play with a lot of toys minus their electronic functions.

  2. Never knew they made this! Very cool!

  3. i think keeping batteries in the fridge (or freezer) is a real thing that works (it also works to help candles burn cleaner and more evenly, too).

    and let's not dwell on the fact that i have a ziplock of batteries with various amounts of charge left, because they are still good for things that take very little power -- like clocks, etc. it sounds a lot like your dad. i chalk it up to "creeping old man-ism."

    1. Yes, it always bothers me that so many batteries are unusable after losing a few fractions of a volt. If you could just combine all of those "used" batteries into new ones, think of how much more use we could get out of them.

  4. I had completely forgotten about the black cat logo


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