Dan – did you leave the battery in – or did you remove it ? – if its still there you might be able to rejuvenate it – check the forums for details on how to do it. if you do a google search on bias cells you’ll find all kinds of info – keep your eyes open for a Canadian version of the Mallory-Yaxley encyclopedia – they are great books – there’s info in them on bias cells – I’ve seen them in different versions – some of the newer ones contain a lot of information – I haven’t checked – but maybe someone has scanned them and made them available online as well. Here’s a good article that directly relates to your post https://www.antiquewireless.org/otb/biascell.htm
Maybe someone reading this could provide us with some "hard" facts about what placing a "clip" across the bias cell socket is doing to the circuit in terms of distortion and current draw – it would depend on the circuit – but it would be good to know.