Joffe's pot: how partisans got electricity from a fire
Joffe's pot: how partisans got electricity from a fire

Today, the Internet is literally inundated with all sorts of tips and suggestions for ultra-modern devices for charging mobile technology in the wild. People even learned to get electricity from boredom from lemon. But our not so distant ancestors, who fought on the fronts (and behind their line) of World War II, also charged electronic devices while in the forest.

True, these were by no means smartphones or laptops, but walkie-talkies for communication with the headquarters. So where did the guerrillas get their electricity from among the trees and bushes?

Cauldron for charging station

In times of war, communication is often the thing that separates you from death, and an operation from failure. Their own radio stations were not only in military units, but also in partisan formations. Communication with the latter was especially important. Both at the front and behind his line, the radio was protected like the apple of an eye, and the radio operator was always one of the most valuable specialists in the military formation.

Much depended on the radio

In the 1940s, radios were used with very low energy efficiency by modern standards. We ate so much, fed on huge and heavy (and absolutely not capacious) batteries.

To operate the walkie-talkie, a high voltage power source of up to 10 volts was required. In general, the then radios were still gizmos! The main problem was that the then radios sat down very quickly. And most importantly, it was extremely difficult to charge such a setup in the field.

Initially, it was proposed to use dynamos for this: a friend turns, you work with a connection. Extremely impractical, noisy and difficult.

Head of the research team Abram Yoffe

Domestic physicists came to the aid of Soviet troops and partisans. At the Leningrad Physics and Technology Institute, since the beginning of the war, work was underway to create a thermogenerator capable of replacing dynamo machines for charging a walkie-talkie.

Academician supervised the research team Abram Yoffe, in whose honor the famous "partisan bowler hat" will later be named. The compact thermogenerator was developed by a physicist Yuri Maslakovts… The device is based on the Seebeck effect.

Without communication it was not like

The principle of operation of the pot consisted in the use of several series-connected dissimilar conductors, which formed a closed electrical circuit. In this case, the contacts of the conductors were located so as to be in different temperature zones: one part of the generator was heated, and the second was cooling down at that moment.

As a result of the simultaneous heating and cooling of the circuit, electricity was generated. For the production of conductors, it was necessary to use constantan (an alloy of copper, nickel and manganese), as well as antimony with zinc. Officially, the device was named TG-1 (Thermogenerator-1).

Produced thermogenerators until the 1990s

At the output, the TG-1 gave a power of 0.5 amperes at a voltage of 12 volts. This was enough to charge the radio station from the fire. Improved models of such generators TG-2 and TG-3 were produced for the needs of the army and the national economy in the USSR until the early 1990s.

Popular by topic