This form of battery, Fig. 38, is in very general use for electric bells, its great recommendation being that, once charged, it retains its power without attention for several years. 2 jars are employed in its construction : the outer one is of glass, contains a zinc rod, and is charged with a solution of ammonium chloride (sal ammoniac). The inner jar is of porous earthenware, contains a carbon plate, and is filled up with a mixture of manganese peroxide and broken gas carbon. When the carbon plate and the zinc rod are connected, a steady current of electricity is set up, the chemical reaction which takes place being as follows:-The zinc becomes oxidized by the oxygen from the manganese peroxide, and is subsequently converted into zinc chloride by the action of the sal-ammoniac. After the battery has been in continuous use for some hours, the manganese becomes exhausted of oxygen, and the force of the electrical current is greatly diminished; but if the battery be allowed to rest for a short time, the manganese obtains a fresh supply of oxygen from the atmosphere, and is again fit for use.
After about 18 months' work, the glass cell will probably require recharging with sal-ammoniac, and the zinc rod may also need renewing; but should the porous cell get out of order, it is better to get a new one entirely, than to attempt to recharge it. (Dyer.)