Sunday, 29 March 2009

Flying Bomb - Secret Weapon

It was always a big thing for me when the clocks went forward. Then you could 'play outside' for a spell after school, visit friends, wander the streets and generally enjoy the novelty of going outside after your tea.

So what better thing to do then, way back in the late 1960s and early 70s, than to excitedly remember and rediscover those treasured toys you'd had for Christmas, what seemed like an age ago. Perhaps something like the Space Explorer, pictured above, yes?

OK then, let's see how the Space Explorer does on the nearly-lunar landscape of your back garden, or, why not play with it in the street for a while, to see how it copes with climbing up and down the kerb?

Why not? I'll tell you why not.

Because of these:

By the end of March, in those far off years, these bulging, bursting, running-sore Zinc-Carbon swine would have deteriorated, leaked, and discharged acidic zinc chloride all over the inside of the battery compartment of your prized possession, rotting the contacts and rendering the toy useless. Unless you were lucky and managed to clean the stuff out. Always a tricky business though, no guarantees of success there - they'd had a three month head start on their sticky sabotage mission.

I remain convinced that the Hong Kong battery manufacturers, probably owned by the toy makers, made the battery casings out of the thinnest possible metal, in order to ensure a steady sale of replacement toys. Not that we needed any encouragement to pester for something new, to be honest.

Ever Ready were a bit better, but not immune to leakage and ruination either - so no smirking at the back.

Even though batteries these days don't leak, at least not very often - not unless you buy 20 for a pound batteries in order to visit your own disappointment of years gone by on others - and why would you - it's still an automatic reaction in my head to say, "Don't leave the batteries in, they'll leak!".

It's a traditional mantra handed down through the generations, and I usually say it out loud, before I've thought about what I'm saying. If I'm lucky I get the chance to explain. Now and again though, I'm proven right. Ha.


Planet Mondo said...

I had a battery operated Lady Penelope FAB 1 , which got the ol' leaky battery treatment -

Ever Ready batteries, like Golden Wonder crisps were Kings in the seventies - what were those big block ones with a spring on the top?

office pest said...

I think you might mean a lantern battery PM, they are still used for big torches etc.

Bad luck on FAB 1. Not so fab that day I imagine.

But we can't have this Golden Wonder supremacy blipvert passing unchallenged. Walkers were and are the Imperial Majesty of Crisps; all others crumble before their mighty slices.

Peter Ashley said...

Just found your blog. Marvellous. I can't say anything about 'torrents' (wasn't that Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining?). Anyway, just love those batteries. I sigh with contentment at original Ever Ready packaging.

office pest said...

Many thanks Peter and welcome. Old time memorabilia is an addictive pastime round here.
This post might interest you.

Piley said...

love this post OP! Had forgotten all about leaky batts! and why-oh-why did you never learn??!! Having had one electronic game or toy ruined, you still just could be arsed enough to remove them from the next one... doh! Always ended up in tears, and my dad with a bit of sandpaper tyring to clean the terminals!

Forgot that striking (not always)ever ready logo too!

Good work fella!


office pest said...

Thanks Piley, I'd hoped it might strike a chord with others as well!

I shall look out some more Ever Ready memorabilia soon...stay tuned.