The Baghdad Battery Mystery

Probably won't work with your TV remote

Probably won’t work with your TV remote

1938 Baghdad, Iraq –  Measuring only 13 cm long (5 inches), archaeologist Wilhelm Konig found the most curious looking object around an ancient Mesopotamian ritual site.  The object was oval in shape and made of clay but what shocked Konig was discovering a copper encased iron rod at the center.  Once the clay jar with the copper rod was brought back for testing, it showed signs of corrosion as if wine or vinegar were held inside.

From this point Konig had a light go off in his head (pun may or may not be intended) that what he actually found was not a decorative item but a battery.  Replicas were made using the exact same materials used in what is know called the “Baghdad Battery” that could produce electrical currents.  But some historians are not convinced the clay pot was a battery.  Some of the critics say the Baghdad Battery lacks wiring and couldn’t transmit a charge.

There is no doubt that it served some sort of practical purpose.

What truly puzzles most researchers and scientists is what the heck the battery was used for?  Some theorize it was used for medicinal purposes which was seen in acupuncture techniques in China.  Ancient Greeks recorded that “electrical fish” probably eels had medicinal powers on injured feet.  The most likely use for the Baghdad Battery was electroplating.  This is the process of layering a thin sheet of metal onto another sheet of metal.

No one is quite sure except the batteries actually produce electricity.  In fact there’s even wild theories the batteries were used in a “Wizard of Oz” type fashion.  Dr. Craddock from the British Museums thinks it’s possible the batteries could have been linked together and been used in the Mesopotamian temples.  When subjects would come in if they did something that displeased the gods a simple touch from their hand to the idol could produce a tiny electrical shock.

604 Battery

This will not shock you

The only thing scientists agree on is they don’t really know what the batteries were  used for.  But one thing we know for sure is the descendants of those batteries allow us to be lazy on the couch watching football, power our cars and of course, power our heated clothing like this:  Men’s Battery Heated Fleece Vest.


Riddle of Baghdad’s Batteries

Smith College Museum – Ancient Inventions

Do I Need To Buy A Battery With My Gear?

Secret Lair In Los Alamitos Office of Venture Heat – Present Day

Lithium Ion Battery

I come with no strings attached

So there’s a little secret we’re going to let you in on…

Now many companies sell battery heated gear…  but did you know that VentureHeat doesn’t make you buy extra batteries or controllers?


нет! (no in Russian)

Negative Ghost Rider!  (no in my cubicle neighbor’s lingo)

OK but you’re probably going to ask do I need to buy a charger?  Let me think about that one….NO!

When you buy VentureHeat gear, everything is ready to go once you open the package.  You’ll get the batteries you need, charger and a full set of instructions so your stuff lasts a long time.

So let’s sum it up:

Gear… battery… charger with no additional purchase!

Now go do some shopping will ya:  Jackets… Vests… Gloves… Oh MY!

The Power and Glory of the Heated Robe

5th Century B.C. – India

If looks could kill..

If looks could kill..

If you were to take a trip back to Ancient India you’d see something quite remarkable.  Young men walking around with long, flowing robes of bright orange colors.   The robe signified the man’s rank as a Buddhist monk with one shoulder being exposed but what’s spectacular about the robes is the material they were made of.  Buddhist monks would take everyday garbage consisting of used up fabrics and create a robe that measured six by nine feet with the most amazing colors.

Literally one person’s trash was another’s treasure.  Buddhist monks turned the robes orange by cleansing the trashed fabrics in a mixture of leaves, roots, flowers and sometimes spices.  From India the trend caught on with the Shaolin Monks of China.  One of the major differences is instead of having one shoulder exposed both were covered.  This was one part traditional custom and another part for practical purposes.  China gets much colder in winter time than does India… much colder!

Now it could be argued the everyday plain old boring bath household robes we think of today took a major turn in terms of their use.  Instead of being mainly for show they were also used for home heating as well.  Ottoman Sultans in Turkey wore them not only to show their rank but because they were on military campaign in Eastern Europe they needed warmth as well.  Here is a picture of Sulieman the Magnificent (or Lawgiver) in a traditional Turkish Robe.  Known as kaftans, these robes can still be seen in the Topkopi Palace in Istanbul and resemble the robes we wear sipping cocoa by the fire today.

Sulieman's Magnificent Robe

Sulieman’s Magnificent Robe

Even in film the robe took on an important role in everyday life.  In “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy Gandolf used the powers of his robe to not only defeat the oncoming orcs but taught the hobbits life lessons all while never changing his robe once.

As the use of robes expanded into religious ceremony and academia, they began to become more useful for keeping warm in one’s home.  In the 1870s tea gowns became ultra popular among women featuring a blend of style and comfort during indoor tea time.  Now we know the robe as something we throw on when it’s cold in the home.  Most people feel the thick, furriness of their robe and head immediately to the couch and start watching their favorite TV program.

But still there was something missing.  Every time you needed to change channels, get a drink or chase away the magazine salesman at the door you got cold all over again.  Of course, now that we’re in an era that thrives on technology you can get a classic robe combined with an electric blanket.

Meet the Huggy Buddy!  Click here

The Weird History of Long Johns


victorianerawomenLong Johns… A Fashion Statement?

England 1879 – A new garment revolutionizes women’s fashion… and keeping warm during chilly nights.  Long Johns can be traced back to the 17th century but they gained prominence in the late 1800s.  Victorian era women in Europe and North America used the funny underwear with a trap door (for convenience) to enhance their looks.  Let the good professor explain…

Here’s how University of Alberta professor Anne Bissonnette tells it:

“With women, we traditionally had an accumulation of undergarments or underpinnings,” Bissonnette says. “It all accumulated at the waist.”

Professor Bissonnette explains that Victorian era women in terms of beauty were judged on how thick their waist lines were.  As the temperatures dropped and women needed extra layers for warmth Long Johns saved the day by keeping waist lines from expanding and women stayed toasty.

Don't make fun of  my Long Johns!

Don’t make fun of my Long Johns!

But where exactly did the name “Long Johns” come from?

Pictured here, Sullivan routinely wore garments that closely resembled Long Johns during his fights.  In fact John L would tuck the legs of his undies into his shoes stretching them out.  Is this where the name came from?  Who really knows?  Another theory of the Long John saga puts the name on a famous 17th century knife fighter with the nick name “Long John” who wore the trapped door garments.

But Long Johns continued making key contributions to our civilization during World War II.  If you asked soldiers in the brutal Ardenne Campaign what their trustiest piece of equipment was… almost hands down it was their Long Johns.  While keep the soldiers warm against the nasty winter weather they faced their Long Johns did give them two major issues:

1) They itched.  Some soldiers swore they would itch their skin right off (but they were glad for the warmth)

2) Sweat.  Long Johns made of wool were so warm they in fact got too hot and caused the soldiers to perspire which added to the discomfort

None the less the story of Long Johns continues on into the 21st century without the worry of itching, sweating and the thickness of waist lines.  Instead of itchy wool you can get a polyester blend material that even John L Sullivan could easily win prize fights in.

Take a look at the new Tri-Zone base layers:

Tops – Link

Bottoms – Link


The Unofficial History of Long Johns – The Toronto Star

Long Johns – World Wide Words

The Long History of Long Johns – St. Albert Gazette

Snow, Tragedy and Motor Sports at The Donner Pass

March 11, 1911 –  Just three years before 1911 a new craze had gripped the United States and Europe.  Automobile racing.

Picture from

People didn’t smile for pictures in 1911

In 1908 a race sponsored by the New York Times and a French newspaper created the “world’s most grueling race.”  This became known as the New York to Paris Road Race.  Thirteen cars were entered but only six ended up racing.

They would travel from Lincoln Square in New York City to San Francisco then to Valdez, Alaska.  From there cars were shipped to Japan then drove through the Siberia Tundra in Russia and then finally after 22,00 miles in Paris.

During the trip drivers faced bad weather, muddy roads and something we all face today:  bad drivers.

There is one really funny event that happened during the New York to Paris race.  Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, basically the guy that pushed World War I along put a car in the race.  He claimed it was superior to any other car in the field.  It was towed out of the mud by the American Thomas Flyer car driven by Schushter.

Did you think any era was immune to bad drivers?

The Donner Pass

Won't cost you a thing but your life..

Won’t cost you a thing but your life..

From the turn of the 1900s and beginning with the New York to Paris Road Race increasing numbers of people began to travel towards California.  Local hotels began seeing an economic opportunity and staged their own races where “gasoline buggies” and bikes would race.

So in the spring of 1911 the Tahoe Tavern in Tahoe City held it’s own race offering a brilliant silver trophy.  Mark McLaughlin who writes for the Tahoe Tribune writes extensively about the race and said (link):

When businesses realized future tourism dollars were going to arrive by car, not passenger train, they began to pressure the state and county governments to improve mountain roads. Years before the first highway was constructed over Donner Pass, intrepid drivers were fighting their way over this portion of the rugged Sierra, using block and tackle and tying ropes around their tires for traction.

This race would have a lengthy delay.  When the March 11th storm hit, it left 40 feet of snow drifts on the ground completely blocking the pass.  A winner of the race until June of that year.

Nature can create weather patterns of legendary proportions.  Just ask Napolean.  Or the residents of New Orleans.

Courtesty of

Courtesty of

But the racers in 1911 were lucky.  What they may have remember is another group of people who tried to get through the pass which at that time had no name.  But the story of that family and their companions gave rise to one of the most tragic episodes in the migration of humans from one place to another.

Nearly seventy years before, the Donner Family left their home to journey west in the hopes of finding riches in California.  The gold rush was one of America’s first get rich quick schemes and the Donner Party was one of its most tragic victims.  In February 1847 with no food, no hope of getting through the massive snow drifts…the Donner Party engaged in cannibalism.

Such was the mystique of this pass.  Massive movements of people, historical road races and yes…tourism.  Two things remain constant about the pass:  motorists and violent snow storms.

I can personally tell you that travelling through the Donner Pass you’re surrounded by beauty.  Even in June you can see snow capped mountains, sparkling waters and majestic pine trees.  In a place with such amazing beauty you tend to forget that much of the history in the west passed through the Donner Pass.

Here’s a question for you.  If you were to go on a winter road race in through the Donner Pass, what gear would you bring?

Here’s an idea:  12V Heated Jacket Liner with Wireless Remote:  Link


Donner Pass Race, New York to Paris – Tahoe Daily Tribune

New York To Paris The Hard Way

What the Donner Party Ate In The Final Days