Dry battery cells are composed of the same materials for the poles, but instead of the liquid commonly used a paste is formed by mixing sal ammoniac and other salts with water and packed in the cell so it cannot spill.
A cell of this kind can easily be made, and to make it the proper size a sheet of zinc 8-1/2 in. long and 6 in. wide will be required. This zinc is rolled into a cylinder 2-1/2- in. in diameter. This will allow for a lap of 5/8 in., which is tightly soldered only on the outside of the seam. Close one end of the cylinder by soldering a disk of zinc over it, making a watertight receptacle. All soldering should be done on the outside and none of the solder allowed to run on the inside of the seam. All seams on the inside should be painted with asphaltum in order to cover any particles of solder. Do not paint any surface, only the joints. Secure three carbon rods 1/2- in. in diameter and 6 in. long which are copper plated. Carbons used in arc lamps will do. File the rods to remove the copper plate, leaving about 1/2-in. of the plate at one end. Tie the three rods in a close bundle with the copper-plated ends together and make a contact with each rod by soldering a wire to the plated ends, allowing one end of the wire to project about 2 in. for a connection. The plated ends of the carbons should be covered with paraffin for about 1 in. This is done by immersing in a dish of smoking hot melted paraffin until the pores are thoroughly saturated.
The salts for filling are 1/4 lb. zinc oxide, 1 lb. sal ammoniac, 3/4 lb. plaster of paris, 1/4 lb. chloride of zinc mixed into a paste by adding 1/2 pt. of water. Form a 1/2-in. layer of paste in the bottom of the cylinder and place the ends of the carbon rods on this with their plated ends up. Hold the rods in the center of the cylinder and put the paste in around the rods with a stick. Pack the paste in, closely filling the cylinder to within 3/4 in. of the top. This space at the top is filled with a mixture of 1/2 lb. of rosin and 2 oz. beeswax melted together. This wax seals the cell and prevents any evaporation. Connection is made to the zinc by soldering a wire to the outside of the cylinder.