In Honor of Battery Day

In looking over the list of 2012 observances, I noticed that tomorrow is Battery Day.

As I reached for my quarterstaff (yes, I have one), I realized that I might have read that wrong. It turns out that Battery Day actually celebrates the handy devices that power our toys, computers and automobiles. It also appears that no one knows exactly when the observance originated, or why (and there’s no act of Congress establishing the observance as an officially recognized event).

February 18 is the birthday of Alessandro Volta, who invented the first electrical battery (and shocked a lot of frogs along the way). His name gives us the word “volt,” now used as a measure of electric potential, difference, and electromotive force.

The battery seems a small invention, but most modern technologies would be impossible (or at least much more complicated) without it. Look around. You’ve probably got at least one battery-operated device within arm’s reach, and at least a dozen more in your house or apartment.

So tomorrow, give thanks for that battery – and even more for the fact that we’re celebrating the invention and not the verb.