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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 12, 1914

They Are Among the Little Things That Affect Service.

Howard A. Matthews, general sales manager of one of the automobile companies, was discussing with some friends recently the "little things" that affect automobile service.  Some one mentioned storage batteries.

"Yes, indeed," said Mr. Matthews.  "A great many automobile owners are careless about renewing their battery solution—a sure way to run into trouble and poor service.  Batteries are properly filled with electrolyte when sent out," continued Mr. Matthews, "and, unless spilled by accident, acid should not be added.  In case it has been spilled, fresh solution should be added until the plates are covered to the depth of half an inch.

"Vent plugs should be removed and cells examined every week.  Plates must always be kept covered with solution.  The water in the solution evaporates, but the acid does not.  When examination shows top of plates uncovered, distilled water should be added.  Every owner of a car that is equipped with a storage battery should have a specific gravity hydrometer for testing electrolyte to accurately determine the condition of the battery.  If the reading is below 1.280 degrees the battery should be charged until the specific gravity rises to the proper point.  This may be accomplished by running the engine at certain intervals, if the owner does not have access to a charging outfit.  It is important to remember that, while a fully charged battery will not freeze, one that has been discharged will freeze at 20 degrees above zero.  A little care and attention will avoid a great deal of trouble and expense."

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