Burgess Battery Company No. 232 Flashlight battery proxy graphic.
Creating graphics for the Burgess No. 232 Flashlight Battery of the early to mid 1920s

This is one of three 4.5 Volt flashlight batteries listed as acceptable for lighting the filaments of two type UV-199 vacuum tubes as used in the circa 1924 Radiola II portable broadcast receiver.

This receiver has been popular with collectors since the 1960s and remains so today.  (Douglas reports that RCA claimed to have sold just under 10,000 sets.)  However at this point, I do not know of any existing Radiola II sets that contain a set of the originally specified batteries.

There are two reasons for this…

1.Only a small percentage of portable radios were made during the early 1920s.  GE, in order to make the radio as compact as possible had virtually no other options to this battery.  The only other common dry cells of the day were the 3 Volt & 4.5 Volt pocket flashlight batteries ( 1/3 the capacity) or the 1.5 Volt #6 cell where three of them would occupy 4 1/2 times the volume.
2.The radio required two 22 ½ Volt ‘B’ batteries.  (Later adding two more of the batteries plus a ‘C’ bias battery for loudspeaker operation. These additional batteries were not installed inside the radio.) The batteries selected were originally designed for the Signal Corps for use in WW-I aviation outfits where minimal weight was essential.  (Designated: Type BA-2)  These batteries would power equipment long enough for sorties but did not really have enough ampere hour capacity to satisfy the hours of use that a ‘DX Hound’ would want to log on his little receiver.  Because of this low capacity, very, very few designers incorporated this miniature ‘B’ battery in their own sets.  This battery was therefore not commonly stocked in shops for more than a few years.

Current research indicates that no modern photographs of Burgess Battery Co. branded batteries for the Radiola II exist.  That being the case, my only alternatives for information are vintage publications, catalogs and pamphlets.  Before 1925, there seem to be no large format magazine advertisements in color for either battery.  Small pamphlets issued by the Burgess Company do show the batteries in color but the images are very small and completely lacking in detail.  To make matters worse, the graphics shown morph over time.

The largest advertising pictures prior to 1925 are in B&W.  During my research for recreating graphics for the Eveready Type 486 – 45 Volt ‘B’ battery I made a discovery.  While I had a number of original batteries I could scan and reproduce graphics almost perfectly with their proper colors, I noted that if I converted these graphics to half-tone (or gray scale) they looked nothing like the images printed in B&W advertisements. 

In the case of the Eveready battery, it has the image printed in slate blue/gray, red, royal purple, black and white inks.  The first three colors convert to gray scales that produce very little contrast.  (i.e. The images do not ‘pop’ on a B&W printed page.)  It becomes obvious that that they employed a graphic artist to create images that would look good in B&W.  Considering the red and black graphic used in the Burgess batteries, it is obvious that B&W images cannot be relied upon for many details.

As it turns out, I relied on eight different images to use as reference for what I will call, for now, a ‘proxy 232 graphic’.

Two other 4.5 volt flashlight batteries have been located of similar vintage.  They are the Eveready No. 705 and Cyclone No. 161.  In both cases, there is a space on the battery for a date code.  The Eveready battery has a Trade Mark and one patent date.  The Burgess images I have seen for their flashlight batteries do not show either feature.  The rectangular Burgess ‘B’ & ‘C’ batteries of the same vintage do have panels with patent dates and some indication of manufacture date.  So did the flashlight batteries have any information printed on the back side of the battery wrapper… I don’t know.

I am posting this graphic with these caveats.  Should more information become available, I will update the graphic.

Click icon to download high rez file to be printed on letter size paper.
Some of the images used as reference for my proxy graphic.
New download - 7-Dec-2014 - Graphic completely revised.  Still not verified with known vintage artifact.