Western Electric D-166852 Volt-Amp-Ohm Meter (1940s)
The Western Electric D-166852 multimeter is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.
It is battery operated and it measures resistance, AC/DC voltage, and amperes.
I try not to accumulate too much old test equipment, but I got this free
from a fellow collector who sold me a few other choice items, including my
RCA CT-100 color TV and
Philco 444 "People's set" radio.
The front view shows the compact black Bakelite case with rings for a carry handle.
The markings on the dial and front panel are pretty self-explanatory. A battery
adjustment knob is common on old battery-powered radios and meters. It lets you
compensate for the battery's decreasing voltage as it ages.
The chassis shows the outstanding build quality that one expects from
Like many old battery devices, this one takes a battery that's
no longer available, so I haven't tried it out yet. A few years after
I first published this article, a fellow collector sent me a photo of
his meter including a 4.5-volt battery (thanks, Clif!).
He also sent a photo of the schematic. In that diagram the 4.5-volt battery is
It should be a simple matter to connect three 1.5-volt cells to make a substitute battery
pack. One of these days, I may actually get around to it!