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 Western Electric.

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 labeled B1.

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!

©1995-2023 Philip I. Nelson, all rights reserved