This original set of "Type S" Edison-Lalande cells was sold for use
either with the Edison bi-polar fan or the Edison Class M Phonograph. The word "battery"
originally referred to a set of individual cells, wired in series as shown here.
This was a very large and very heavy battery, consisting of four porcelain jars each
measuring 11" tall and 6" in diameter, in a wooden box 25" long and
15" high. The battery set cost $25, a lot of money at the time, and would power
a fan for 125-150 hours before the owner would be required to replace 8 zinc plates,
8 copper plates, and 24 pounds of caustic potash and water, at a cost of $5. As a
result batteries for fans or phonographs were expensive to operate, as well as noxious,
dangerous, and enormously heavy.
Originally the main power cord passed through a hole in the front of the box and connected directly to the battery terminals at each end, as seen in the engraving below. On this box the original owner installed a lever switch into the hole, and mounted brass binding posts onto the front for the power cord. This made it much easier to connect or disconnect, as well as allowing the current to be conveniently shut off by simply moving the switch.