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Last sync:2024-06-15 18:00
A monthly show where we endeavor to answer one of your big questions. This week, spdyrel asks, “Where do the naming conventions for batteries come from? AAA, AA, D, etc.? Also why no B batteries?”

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Hi, I'm Craig, I swallow two triple A batteries every morning to charge myself and this is Mental Floss video. Today I'm going to answer Spadiro's ? big question where do the naming conventions for batteries come from? Tripple A, double A, D, etc...and why no B batteries. Let's get started. (Bzzzp) Sorry, I burped. 
The word battery and the concept of a battery have been around for a long time but for our purposes the first real one was invented in 1800 and by 1836 a practical battery had been developed that could help people in their day to day lives. It took awhile before people decided that there need to be a standard for battery sizes and characteristics. They needed a way for all manufactures to make similar batteries so that they would be similarly compatible with various electronics. Tell that to the phone companies with their stupid charger chords! There are actually multiple standards organizations that do this type of thing. There's the International Elctrotechnical Commision, my nickname in high school. Which is an international organization that comes up with standards for tons of technologies, including power generation, solar energy, and you guessed it, batteries. The IEC was formed in 1906 and they're the ones responsible for the battery naming conventions that many countries use today. But not the ones Spadiro ? was talking about. IEC batteries have names like R6 or RO3. Which are double A and triple A respectively. In the US, standardization happened around World War One when the manufacturers collaborated with the war industries board and a couple of other government agencies. In the 1920s an organization called the National Standards Institute jumped in to name the different types of batteries and they went in alphabetical order. So there were A batteries, B batteries, C batteries, and so on. Eventually, smaller batteries were invented. So they were given double A and triple A. The American National Standards Institute has since replaced the National Standards Institute now they're responsible for keeping battery standards in the US. They're also really boring at naming things. And as for why there are no B batteries there actually are, you just don't often see regular A or B batteries anymore because double A and triple A are way more convenient. C and D still have a space in the market but we don't have much of a use for A or B anymore. We are ending on a sad note here. Geeze. Thanks for watching Mental Floss Video which was made with the help of all of these A or B batteries. If you have a big question of your own that you would like answered, leave it in the below in the comments. See you next time. Just kidding. We have a use for you guys. You're not A or B, you're triple A in my book.