The Battery That's Lasted 176 Years


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In a laboratory at Oxford University sits the Oxford Electric Bell, which has spent 176 years constantly ringing. And no-one's quite sure what the battery that powers it is made of...

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Thanks to camera operator Mikayla Hunter:

And thanks to the University of Oxford's Physics Department for letting us film the bell!


Croft (1984) The Oxford electric bell, Eur. J. Phys.

Croft (1985) The Oxford dry pile, Clarendon Laboratory Historical Notes No. 3

The Clarendon Dry Pile, Department of Physics website

Channel:  Tom Scott
Topics:  Topic
Jay K 

just cut it open so we can have Tesla that lasts 176 years without charging

Gustarf X 

I already knew it, I am proud of myself


Although the battery is really impressive. Making a bell ring for 178 years is about the best way to drive your friends mad, for generations to come.

Tom Lynn 

is the actual noise it makes included anywhere?

Christopher Dibbs 


Chris Glass 

Baghdad Battery is older ;)


now, how do i get tit in my phone

Phoenix Grimm 

Cough. There are lightbulbs stil burning after 100 years but the makers of lightbulbs figured they wouldn't make a profit that way so now they make them burn out and waste resources.


They open it to find a duracell


Isnt this technically a perpetual motion machine?


I can't even get a AA battery to last a week.


shut up so i can hear it !!!!!!

Jacob Gamesbillion 

Energizer would like to know your location

Cida Faria Juliano 

Amazing! Astonishing!

Banter Shrimp 

God I wish my iPad had that battery life boi.

score fresh 

why aren't we powering the uk power grid with it?🌕

Panther Platform 

Looks like someone bludgeoned that chick in the side of the head...


apple should visit this place and learn how to make longer batteries

Angel The Mage 

maybe once it (at some point) stops, we can dissect it and discover what it was made of. then we will have never ending laptop life (not that i have a laptop)

Daniel Pierce 

Let’s be real tho, the Egyptians invented the battery, or at least that’s the oldest evidence of a human made battery existing we know of...


Um. Stick it in my phone now please?


What do they mean almost continuously what happened

Last Time 




OMG these British are something else !!!


Funny how the British always add an extra syllable to the word aluminum

Cael Pley 

holy cow 176 YEARS HOW??!?!??!

Zdravko Vila 

My gameboy lasted 1 year


She's awesome


There's a bit of a god in it... For science and the tiny gods are one in the same

Just Kidding 

Duracell hasn’t got *anything* on these those!

Ryan Park 

How do we know that no one has secretly replaced the batteries with new ones?

Sketchy Tiger 

Phone battery makers need to take note of this battery 😂

ddoogg88 tdog 

Where can I get one for my phone

Raul Alarcon 

Only if my iPhone’s battery lasted this long....

William Bogue 

So was it made in 1825 or 1840?


WTF Samsung / Apple? You can't even keep your batteries reliable for more than 1 year. I want this thing in my phone 🤨

Michal W 

"Baghdad battery" 6k y. b. c. Chinesse electric wase 1k y. b. c.

Scott Helms 

Just imagine having to maintain a warranty maintenance network for nine generations.

Tha Hoova 

batteries where made wayyy before this by the ancient egyptians

— ꧁꧂ — 

Why don’t we have this stuff in our phone?

hitter kitten 

i need one for my kindle fire!

Ison Reign 

Why dont we make a giant one?

Rup Ganguly 

Why the hell every host of this channel wear's red


Could you not xray it?

Adagio Leopard 

By the title I thought it stopped ringing...


So I think I got some math wrong 10 nano amps and 2kv is 20micro watts and if has done that 10 billion times and it only say 10ms a bell strike then that's is 100 million seconds at 20 micro watts or 2kwh of power


Wow the salt from people who want to crack it open in this comments section is real. Relax. The key to your cell phone lasting longer is not in there. If that's all you want, just disable updates around when a new version is being released.

Lee Fire 

Before you leave, can you check to see if the flat-earthers are right, or at least check for a giant hole that leads to the inner earth? I want to watch some conspiracy theorists cry.

I react to everything Everything 

178 years*

Kevin Morrison 

I think it is ignorant not to take it apart and learn what was done right. The possibility of discovering the why about this battery far outweigh the nostalgia of wanting to see how many more years it will run. Considering where we are today with battery technology and the critical importance they play in todays world you would think that science would be more interested to know the answers in the hope they can apply similar methods to improve what we clearly have failed to grasp about this technology. For me what I find amazing, more than the length of time this battery has been working is the utter ignorance of so called educated people who find it more important to want to know how long it will last and seem oblivious to the idea it may hold the proverbial key to what we have been doing wrong since the invention of this technology!