Possible battery? What is this?

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I recently got into metal detecting and dug this up on my parents property after discovering an old farm dump. The only records I've found of people here before my family owned the property was 1900-1928. I assumed it was an old battery but I'm not certain. Anyone know?
 

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CanadianBottles

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Looks like an old aerosol can to me. No idea what sort of congealed substance that black stuff is, but I assume it was the original contents. Hopefully it's old spray paint and not something more toxic.
 

east texas terry

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I recently got into metal detecting and dug this up on my parents property after discovering an old farm dump. The only records I've found of people here before my family owned the property was 1900-1928. I assumed it was an old battery but I'm not certain. Anyone know?
Yes it is a old battery i dig them up in the sawmill ghost town
 

5 gallon collector

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Terry's got it right -- eg Columbia Dry Cell Battery -- see....
I suppose the shiny black material is an insulating/sealing glassy / ceramic material, or something tarry? Copper in the center electrode, corroding green -- perhaps you will find the location of the other electrode under the adhering muck on the other side?
Pretty cool. 1 1/2 volts - I wonder what it might have powered back then -- might be interesting to better establish age --- that type top seems, on quick internet search, to date from as early as the 1890s.
1658559579592.png
 
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Terry's got it right -- eg Columbia Dry Cell Battery -- see....
I suppose the shiny black material is an insulating/sealing glassy / ceramic material, or something tarry? Copper in the center electrode, corroding green -- perhaps you will find the location of the other electrode under the adhering muck on the other side?
Pretty cool. 1 1/2 volts - I wonder what it might have powered back then -- might be interesting to better establish age --- that type top seems, on quick internet search, to date from as early as the 1890s.
View attachment 238578
Thank you so much! That looks exactly it. The black appears to be a glassy hard ceramic material or something and the back does match the front electrode after removing more dirt. Perhaps they brought it with them when they moved up here somewhere between 1892 to 1900. The first record I have of them in this location is 1900. Pretty cool.
 

embe

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Curious what's the size? interesting find, haven't seen or heard of one before. Without the size I can see how it could be mistaken for a spray can
 

willong

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Thank you so much! That looks exactly it. The black appears to be a glassy hard ceramic material or something and the back does match the front electrode after removing more dirt. Perhaps they brought it with them when they moved up here somewhere between 1892 to 1900. The first record I have of them in this location is 1900. Pretty cool.
I'm pretty sure that black material sealing the top of the battery is asphalt.

I've found similar dry cell batteries in depression-era dumps in western Washington State. Powering radios in homes not serviced by electrical utilities was a common purpose.
 
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Curious what's the size? interesting find, haven't seen or heard of one before. Without the size I can see how it could be mistaken for a spray can
It's a similar size to a spray can I'd say. But definitely not a spray can. It's too heavy and feels very solid. Definitely matches the Columbia Dry Cell description. It is roughly 6 inches in height , 7 including the electrode on top. I am attaching a picture of the other side after cleaning it up a bit. The black is definitely some sort of seal cap substance.
 

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