Batteries don't seem to last long these days. Even if you have rechargeable batteries, they lose life the more you use them. My information on batteries is a little outdated, as I haven't graphed circuits since college.
But my batteries days don't go back quite as far as The Baghdad Battery, which is believed to be about 2,000 years old, according to the Smith College Museum of Ancient Inventions. When the jar is filled with vinegar, it produced 1.1 volts, due to the iron rod with a copper cyclinder in it.
The online museum contains a fair amount of other random artifacts, including a folding stool, decoding device, crossbow and catapult. I haven't used any of these recently, unless you count the folding card table I have upstairs.