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THE TESLA HIGH FREQUENCY COIL

Plate

1.

Complete

12" Apparatus.

Frontispiece.

THE TESLA HIGH FREQUENCY COIL


ITS

CONSTRUCTION AND USES


BY

GEORGE

F.

HALLER

AND

ELMER TILING CUNNINGHAM

S6

ILLUSTRATIONS

NEW YORK
D.
23

VAN NOSTRAND COMPANY


1910
27

Murray and

Warren

Sts.

INTRODUCTION
In presenting
this

book on the Tesla


filled

coil to the
felt

pubhc the

authors hope that they have


practical library of science.

a long

vacancy in the

No

attempt has been

made

to

give a mathematical explanation of the oscillation transformer,

and other parts of the high-frequency apparatus,


simple reason that the theory
is

for the

too complex,

and when

obtained of no practical use.


tried to lead the
bells
cell

Neither have the authors


is

amateur,

who

just learning

how

to string

and connect up
to

batteries,

from the elements

of the galvanic

the working of a high-potential, alternating cur-

rent,

but have merely

made an

effort to place in the

hands of

advanced amateurs

in electrical science

a practical working

manual on

the construction of high-frequency coils,

now

so

useful in scientific investigation.

The
coil

attention of the authors

was

first

called to the Tesla

when

they were fortunate enough to be given the use of

the 7" standard coil described in the last chapter of this

book.
it,

systematic line of experiments was carried on with

in

order to study the effects of a change in the constants


All the mechanical

of the various circuits.


details of construction

and
out,

electrical

were carefully worked

and

the
coil.

authors finally decided to design and construct a larger

The

coil,

as

first

constructed,

was a decided

failure,

due

to

VI

Introduction

too small a condenser capacity.


further

For about

five

months they

experimented on the details of construction and


book.

finally arrived at the 12" coil described in this


coil

This
It
is

they feel assured


to

is

as efficient

as can be made.

especially designed

give a

high-frequency discharge of

great volume.

This

latter fact

makes

it

useful for wireless

telegraphy.

In conclusion they have to thank Mr. G. O. Mitchell

for

many
this

suggestions

and

for the kindly interest he has taken in

work.

They

feel that

without his help the writing

of.

this

htde book would have been impossible.

G. F. H.
E. T. C.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I.

PAGE

General Survey

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.
VII,

The The The The The

Transformer
Condenser

4
. .

20
24

Oscillation Transformer

Interrupter

32

Construction of the Boxes


.

60
.

Assembling

64
72

VIII.

Theory of the Coil


Uses of the Coil
Dimensions of
. .

IX.

84
.

X.

7"

Standard Coil

Appendix

.......

97
iii

LIST OF PLATES
FACING

PLArE
I.

PAGE
Complete 12" Apparatus
Transformer for 12" Apparatus
Oscillation Transformer and Glass for Condenser of 12' Coil

Frontispiece
.

II.

20 20

III.
I\'.
\'.

Motor-driven Interrupter

....
. . . . .

52
52

The

Electrolytic Rectifier

VI.
VII.

Discharge from the 12' Coil

96

The

7' Standard Apparatus

....

...

96

LIST OF FIGURES
FIG.
1. 2.

Method

of Fastening

Primary Terminals

Completed

PAGE
Primary
8
ii

Secondary Bobbin of Transformer

3. 4.
5.

Hand Winder
Wire-spool Holder
.

13

14

Frame

for Secondary of

Transformer
.

18 18 22
25

6.
7. 8. 9.

Section of Completed Transformer

Condenser Frame and Brass Condenser Sheet End Support for Secondary of Oscillation Transformer
Fibre Strip

25

10.
11.
12.

Rod End Support


Centre

25
for

Primary

28 29

13. 14.
15. 16.

Primary of Oscillation Transformer . Completed Secondary of Oscillation Transformer Bushings for Support of Oscillator Standards
.

29
.

30 30 34
37

Hard Rubber Block on


Simple Primary Air-gap

Oscillation Transformer

17.
18. 19.

Magnetic Interrupter

Motor Interrupter Fan


Brass Angle Piece

38 39 40

20.
21.
22.

Hard Rubber Block Section of the Motor


Patterns of Base

Interrupter

41

42 44

23.
24. 25. 26. 27. 28.

Patterns of

Yoke
Molor
.

Section of Completed

45

Rotor Disc Rotor and Clamp Nut


Stator Disc

46 48

49
.

Frame

for Stator Coils


.

51
. .

29.

Self-starting Device
Rectifier Plates

52 58
61

30. 31.
32.

and

\\'iring

Diagram
.

Transformer Box
High-tension

Box

63 65

33.

Connections for Primary of Transformer

xil

List of Figures

FIG.
34. 35. 36. 37.

PAGE
High-tension Bushing
Oscillators

38.
3940. 41.

and Standards Wiring Diagram Waves on Wires Primary and Core of Transformer Secondary Bobbin of Transformer Plate and Frame of Condenser
.

.....
. -

^
^7

08
92

of 7' Coil of 7" Coil

98 99 loi
.

Oscillation

Transformer of 7' Apparatus


Apparatus
.

104 106
107
.

42. 43.

Box

for 7"

44.
45.
46.

Wiring Diagram Oscillators and Standards for 7' Apparatus

109
113
115

Transformer of Small Coil Completed Transformer of Small Coil


Oscillation

47. 48. 49.

Primary Spark-gap Wiring Diagram Wiring Diagram

117

118 118

THE TESLA COIL


CHAPTER
I

GENERAL SURVEY
By
is

far the largest for

and most

interesting

branch of science

electricity,

Maxwell has proven mathematically, and


light
is

Hertz verified experimentally, that

an ejectromagnetic

disturbance in the ether, and thus added that subject to the

realm of
electricity,

electricity.

Amongst

the various

phenomena

of

those of the high-tension current are the most

interesting

and

instructive.

With such a current

all

the

wonders of the Geissler and Crookes tubes may be seen.

With
space,

it

waves

for wireless

messages

may be

sent out into

and a great number


purpose of
this

of other experiments carried out.

It is the

book

to

show how a

satisfactory

apparatus for producing these currents

may

be constructed,

and

also to describe a few of the uses for such a coil.

The
known

apparatus, as described in this book,

is

most commonly

as the Tesla High-Frequency Coil, and consists, in


:

general, of four parts

i.

The Step-Up Transformer;


4.

2.

The

Interrupter;

3.

The Condenser;

The

Oscillation Trans-

former.
chapters.

Each

of these will be fully considered in subsequent

Before entering upon the description of the Tesla high-

frequency apparatus, however,

it

would be well

to

make a

few general remarks which are of the greatest importance.

The Tesla Coil


of construction the

Throughout the whole work


ing care

most

exact-

must be given

to the

matter of insulation.

All the
in
in-

wire used must be carefully tested, and each layer of wire


the transformer

must be thoroughly shellacked,

and then

sulated from the next layer, by two turns of carefully oiled

paper.

In the condenser, which

is

really the vital part of

the apparatus, the glass should be of the best grade obtainable.


It

must

also be free

from

all

air bubbles.

It is in

the

high-frequency apparatus, howe^'er, that the greatest

care as regards both construction taken.

and

insulation

must

be

The

secondary consists of one layer only of No. 32

B.

& S.

gauge, double cotton-covered wire,

wound on

an

octagonal frame, formed of strips of vulcanized fibre fastened


to

two end pieces of wood.


that

When When

winding the wire,

care

must be taken

no two adjacent wires touch,


circuit.

for that

would cause a short wound,


it is

the wire

is

completely
act

given about five coats of shellac, not only to

as an insulator, but also to prevent any slipping of the wires,

The primary
and a
secondary.
are

consists of a thin

band

of copper,

making

two
the

half turns

around a circular frame surrounding


the primary

The frames on which


\'ery

and secondarj

wound must be

firm

and

sulDstantial, so that ai
the

occasional jar will not displace any of the wires on

secondary.
All

connections must be soldered,

and the

connecting

wires run through glass tubes.

When

the apparatus

is

finished,

two carefully made box6


oil

must be constructed.

These must be

tight.

This

iii

General Survey

accomplished by mortising
boxes,
shellac.

all joints,

and then giving


five

the
of

especially

the joints,

about four or
fits,

coats
into

Into one box the transformer

and

the the

other the condenser

and

oscillation transformer.
oil,

Then
is

boxes are

filled

with pure paraffine

which

the only

efficient insulator for these high-tension currents.

Some who

intend to build this coil will think that

all

these

precautions regarding insulation are extreme, but

it

will

be

found

that, in

dealing with high-frequency, high potential


care cannot be taken, for

currents, too
lation
is

much

"Good

insu-

the key to success in high tension work."

CHAPTER

II

THE TRANSFORMER The


transformer

sometimes
coil that is

called

converter

is

merely an induction

connected directly to the

alternating-current mains, without the use of

an

interrupter,

and
the
the

is

used to raise or lower the voltage.


of watts

In a transformer

number
number

in the primary equals approximately

of watts in the secondary.

In the case of any step-up transformer, the ratio of the

number
ondary
in the

of volts in the primary to those set


is

up

in the sec-

nearly the

same as

the
in

number

of turns of wire

primary to the number

the secondary;

but the

amperes decrease

in the inverse ratio.


is

The
of

transformer used in the coil described in this book

the

common

induction-coil

type,

oil-immersed, step-up

transformer.
at

It takes the alternating current

from the mains


volts.

no
The

volts or 55 volts,
efficient

and steps

it

up

to

about 10,000

working of a transformer depends largely

upon

the design of the core.

The

iron used

must be

of high straight

permeability and should have


core
its

little

retentivity.
fall

is

always best to use;

for,

on the

of the current

from
its

maximum value to zero, the magnetic flux falls maximum value, not to zero, but to a value which

from

depends

The Transformer
on the residual magnetism.
open
circuit is

The

residual

magnetism

in

an

much

less

than in a closed magnetic

circuit,

so that

when

the current suddenly becomes zero, the

mag-

netic flux drops lower in

an open

circuit

than in a closed one.


is

As

the electromotive force in the secondary

proportional

to the fall in the

magnetic

field, it is

greater with a straight

core than with a closed circuit of iron.

The

coil

designer

is

obliged to determine the length of


others, as the

the iron core

from the experience of


it is

mathe-

matics for calculating

too complex, although simple

and

useful in the case of closed circuit transformers.


is

If the core

made

too long
if

the primary magnetizing current will be

too large, while

made

too short the secondary coils


to

would There

have
is,

to

be made of too large a diameter

be

efficient.

therefore, a certain length

which

will give the best results.

In the case of

this

transformer the length of the core was


all

determined after having gained

possible

information

from certain eminent


matters; in fact,
this special use
all

men who had made


in this

life

study of these

the dimensions of the transformer for

were determined
is

way.

The

iron core

made up

of pieces of

No. 20 or 22 B.
is

& S.

gauge iron wire 18" long.


size

The

wire

first

cut nearly to
the ends of

with a pair of

pliers, and,'

when assembled,

the bundle are

sawed

off

square with a hack saw.


little less

An

ordi-

nary piece of iron pipe, a

than 18" long, and having


is

an internal diameter
with these wires.

slightly less than 2",

tightly filled

When

putting the wires

in,

stand the pipe

on end on a smooth

surface,

and

force in each wire until

6
it

The Tesla Coil


hits this surface.
is

When

the bundle

is

finished, the

upper

end

sawed

off -ith

a hack saw to exactly i8."


is

The
or coal

tube containing the iron wires


fire

now

placed in a coke

and

left

there until the fire burns itself out, thus

insuring slow cooling.

This heating and subsequent slow


is re-

cooling so softens the iron wires that their retentivity

duced

to

a minimum.

When

cool, the wires are

taken out

and sandpapered to ^emo^'e any superfluous oxide.


then, one

They

are

by one, dipped into boiling water, wiped dry, and

while

still

warm
is

are coated with thin shellac varnish.

When

the shellac

dry they are again packed, as tightly as possible,

in the pipe, to hold


still

them

in the desired shape.

Then, while
out
of

packed

closely together, they are forced slowly

the pipe; starting at the

end thus released, they are

tightly

bound with a narrow cotton bandage, which can be obtained


from any surgical supply house.

The bandage

should be

between one and two inches wide, but no more.


entire core
is

When

the

wrapped with

this cloth, the cloth

should be
filed flat

hea\ily shellacked.

The ends
it is

of the core are

now

and smooth;
oughly,

after this
it

put in a

warm

place to dry thor-

when

will

be ready for the primary winding.


is

The

use of the insulating varnish on the iron wires

to arrest
iron

eddy currents as much as possible, thus preventing the

wire from becoming heated and energy wasted, which would

lower the transformers

efficiently.

The primary
covered

is

wound

in

two sections of two layers each,


&l S.

one above the other.


copper wire

No. 12 B.
is

gauge, double cottonwill

used.

About 2\ pounds

be

The Transformer
required.

The primary may be wound by hand, by


17"
apart,

erecting
2" hole

two wooden supports


bored in each,
the core by
as
it it

and having a

to receive the iron core.

Then, by turning
fairly well.

hand the wire may be wound

But

is

rather difScult to wind the wire tightly in this way,


satisfactory to
to one.

would be more

wind

it

in a lathe,
it,

if

the

amateur has access

To mount

cut a half-inch

piece from the end of the pipe in which the core

was formed,

and
ring

slip
fit

it

over the extreme end of the core.

Make
it

the

as tightly as possible

by placing between

and the

core a few strips of tin or other thin sheet-metal.


it

Now clamp

firmly in the chuck.


fitted

The

other end of the core should also

be

with a half-inch piece of pipe and supported at this

place in the steady rest.

The one

piece of pipe

is

used to

prevent any of the wires from being forced in unequally at


the points

where the chuck clamps

it,

and

the other to afford


rest.

a smooth bearing surface for the steady

If there is

any tendency

for the core to slip out of the chuck, the tail

stock, with the centre

removed,

may

be pressed up against

it.

About

I ft.

from

the end of the copper wire take a couple


it.

of turns of tape

around

At
its

this point

bind the wire to


several turns
tightly

the iron core, about i" from


of tape

end,
to

by taking

around

it.

Proceed

now

wind the wire

and
of

closely to within i" of the other end.

Here the winding

the primary

is

stopped for a short time in order to give the


After the shellac has dried,

wire a good coat of shellac.

another coating

is

given

it,

and then
wet.

the second layer

is

wound on

while the wire

is still

When

the winding

'

The Tcsla Coil

point, a has come to within about six turns of the starting

piece of tape doubled back

on

itself is laid

on the

first layer,

with

its

ends projecting beyond the

unwound

portion of the
the

second layer.

The looped end

of the tape
i.

must be on

outer side of the winding.

See Fig.

/I

kf''')

Sji-ix^rams showing rnar^rter oC CasientTn^

la^t "tuTYt.

Fig

I.

Method

of Fastening Primary Terminals Primary.

Completed

The winding
tape.

of the second layer

is

finished over the piece


the

of tape, the last turn being

brought through the loop in

The

loop

is

drawn

tight

by pulling on the other


is

pro-

jecting ends.
off.

In

this

way

the last turn

kept from slipping

By

using this method or fastening

it is

unnecessary

to

use any bobbin heads for the primary;

this is

a decided

advantage,

as,

with a removable primary, bobbins are always

getting loose.

The

wire

is

cut off about

2'

from

this

ending

The Transformer
in order

to allow

plenty of wire for


will

making the various

connections,

which
layer
is

be described in a later chapter.


first

When

this

is

thoroughly shellacked, the

section

of the primary

complete.
is

The second
starting at the
direction.

section

wound

directly

on top of the
to

first,

same end, and being sure


layer
is

wind

in the

same

Each
turn

when wound

is

thoroughly shellacked,
as before.

and the

last

fastened in the

same manner

If the wire in the 16"

has been put on carefully 164 turns can be

wound

and the

total
is

diameter

will

be 2|".
It will first

The secondary

wound

in four sections.

be

necessary to procure two micanite tubes,


tightly within the other.

the one fitting

The

inner diameter of the smaller

tube

is

trifle

greater than 2!", the external diameter of the

larger

one being 35".


-J".

The

length of the tubes

is

18"

and

their

thickness

Now
around

turn out a
it

wooden rod

so that the larger

tube will

fit

tightly.

Mount

the rod in the lathe

with the tube on

it,

clamping one end of the wood in the

chuck, and supporting the other end on a centre.


thin parting tool, cut off seven rings, three i" wide,

With a
and
four,

3^" wide.
off in

If

the amateur has no lathe the rings may be cut

a mitre box.

Out

of

some quarter-inch

sheet-fibre,

cut eight circular pieces, 6" in diameter


in the centre.

and having a 3" hole


on the smaller tube,
extreme end of the

Slip one of the 1" rings


it

and with Le Page's glue fasten


tube.

to the

Next

slip

on one

of the circular discs of fibre,

and

then one of the 3J" rings, fastening them with glue.

Two
After

more

discs are put on,

and then another 3^"

ring.

10
this

The
comes another
3,{" ring.

I'rsld

Coil
ring, followed

disc

and a i"

by a disc

and a

Then put on two more


This
is

discs

and the remain-

ing 3 1" ring.


ring.

followed by the remaining disc


is

and

i''

Be

sure that each ring

carefully glued

in

place.
in

Before putting on the discs, small holes should be drilled

them, through which to carry the wires.

The The

romijlcted
discs

bobbin for the secondary


bered
drilled
2,

is

seen in Fig.
fcjr

2.

num-

3,

6,

ha\'e

the holes

the connecting wires

on
\"

their inner edge, while the others their outer edge.

have them

drilled

about

from

Obtain a wooden rod upon


lit

which the secondary bobbin


i8i" long.

will

tightly.

It

should be

If the coil builder is skilled in

winding wire

in the lathe,

the winding

may

be done there

much more

rapidly than by
little

hand; but for an amateur,

who has had but

experience
lathe,

with lathe windirig, or for one


the following

who does

not possess a
in

method

is

given.

In winding
is

the lathe,

great care

must be taken
is

that the wire

not snapped off when


is

the end

of the layer

reached, and while the jjaper


is

being

wrapped on before the next layer

wound.

For the hand winder, the wooden rod, on which the secondary bobbin
fits

tightly, is drilled in at

both ends for about

4" with a litde less than a {" hole.

Pieces of |" iron are then


axh,-.

driven into these holes, to serve as an


fit

They

should

tightly, so as to turn

with the cylinder.


is

About 6" should


1

project at one end,

which

bent into a handle.

!/'

at the

other end

is sufficient

for a bearing.

The

standards are

made

of

'("

oak, fastened jg|" apart,

The Transformer

II

^
r
-I*

-^

1-^

-Id-

<5^

f
-I*

"1

4e-

^
:,f^i^,^^-J^.?/-^

12
to

Tlie

Tesla Coil
piece of

a baseboard
is

2' long.

oak f" square and 2"

long

fastened with two screws to the top of each standard,

to serve as a cap.

I" hole

is

then bored with


to

its

centre

on the
its

joint.

This allows the cylinder


necessary.

be taken out of

bearings

when

Two

iron washers are slipped

over the shaft at the short end to act as a thrust bearing,

and two washers, with an open,


them, are put on the other end.

steel-wire spring

between

This

will give the friction

required to enable the amateur to stop the winding at any


time,

and

still

be sure that the cylinder will not rotate and so

loosen the turns of wire.

The dimensions

of the winder are

seen in Fig.

3.

As
it is

the wire

must be wound under some

tension,

and

as

tiresome to give the required tension by letting the wire

run through the hand, the holder shown in Fig. 4 was


devised.
It consists of
is

an axle which

fits

the spool tightly,


is

and which

4" longer than the spool.

There

a thread cut on one

end of this axle for about 2"

It is

then mounted in two Iron washers


for the spool
is

wooden standards fastened


are put between the spool
to

to a

baseboard.

and the standards

bear on.

An

open spring made of piano wire

slipped

up on

the threaded end of the shaft, outside of the standards.


to give the required

washer and a nut are now put on

tension to the spring.

lock nut

is

put on to keep

this

nut from turning.

Care must be taken


in the wire.

to detect

any breaks that may occur


it

When

winding the wire

quite frequently

The Transformer

13

c
o "n

-a

F\

C5

14

The Tesla Coil


little

happens that a
it is

kink

will

cause a break; but because


it

covered by

the cotton insulation,


to the coil builder.

will

be

wound on

the

bobbin,

unknown

To

detect these breaks

immediately, the authors used the following method.


is

ring

cut out of a piece of sheet brass or copper.


3" in diameter.

It is

}" wide

and

This

is

fastened by several flat-headed


is

brass screws to one side of the spool on which the wire

^
Fig. 4.

\\'ire-Spool

Holder.

bought.

If the

wire has been bought from a reliable dealer,


the
reel.

the inner end will be found projecting outside of

This wire

is

soldered to the ring on the outside of the spool.

strip of sheet
it will

copper or brass, which


is

is

of such a length
of

that

bear on the ring,

fastened to the upper end


is.

the standard,

on the side on which the ring


one pole of a dry
cell.

From

here

a wire

is

led to

The Transformer

15
is

On

the winder a strip of sheet metal


It
is

fastened to one of

the standards.

best to fasten
is

it

to the

one farthest up

from the handle.

It

bent so that

it

presses firmly on the

projecting axle, which has been polished to


trical contact.

make good

elec-

wire

is

then led from the brush on the

standard to a binding post on the baseboard.


receiver
is

telephone

now connected

in series

with the binding-post and

the other pole of the

cell.

watch-case receiver, with a


If the

head attachment,
the Bell receiver,
easily

is

the best to use.

amateur has only


to his

an attachment

to hold

it

head can

be arranged.

If the

amateur

prefers he

may

use a sensitive

galva-

nometer.

Everything

is

now ready
i'

for the

winding of the secondary.

To

begin, pass about

of the wire through the hole in the


2, 3,

bobbin heads numbered

from the side on which bobbin

head 2

is.

The

insulation should be scraped off of the end

of the wire for about 2",


tightly

and then

this

bare part should be

wrapped on
cylinder.
all

the axle between the washer

and the

wooden
circuit

It will

now be

seen that there


spool.
if

is

a complete

through

the wire

on the

The diaphragm
a galvanometer
the wire should

in the telephone receiver is


is

drawn down or
If

used, the needle will be deflected.


its

break, the diaphragm will return to

normal position and

a click

will

be heard, or in the case of the galvanometer the

needle will return to the zero position.


the break should be located

When
little left

this

happens
Acid

and

the wire

soldered.

should not be used in soldering, as a

on the wire

6
1

The Tesla Coil


it

will corrode
is

and

spoil the electrical

connection.

Rosin

the best thing to use as a flux.

The
I, 2, is

first

layer in the section between the bobbin heads


2 to
i,

wound from

and

after

it is

wound

it is

given
layer,

a good coating of shellac. a


little

Before winding the next


is

over a turn of paper

taken around the pre\ious

one.

The edge

of the paper can be held

down with a

little

shellac.

Parafiine

wax must not be used

to increase the inis

sulation, as the transformer

when

finished

immersed

in

paraffine

oil,

which acts as a partial solvent to paraffine wax,


its

thus spoling
the
first

insulating properties.

All the layers after

should start about \" from the inner face of the discs

and stop the same distance from them.


each layer after
it

Be sure

to shellac

is

wound and then

take a turn of paper


in place.

around

it.

Continue winding until 61 layers are

The

last layer

should be wrapped over with a narrow cotton


is

bandage which

thoroughly shellacked to keep

it

in place

About two
section for

feet of wire

should be

left

projecting from the

making the various connections.


the hole in disc
i,

This wire
its

is

then brought through

and

end

is

connected to the axle.

Unwind

the other wire from the axle and, after polishing

the uninsulated part with a piece of

emery

cloth, t^vist

it

around the end of the wire from the spool, which has
been polished, and then solder the connection.
bare part of the wire with some
insulate
it.

also

\\'rap the

silk thread, so as to thorou'^hly

The

section

between the bobbin heads

3, 4, is

now wound.

The Transformer
;

17
4,

The

first

layer

is

wound from

towards

the winder being

turned in such a direction that the direction of the current


in the wire of this section will

be the same as in the one just

wound.
the

That means

that the winder

must be rotated
in

in

opposite

direction.

For convenience, howe\er,


off of the

the

winding the secondary bobbin can be taken


rod and put back in a reversed position,
the winder
is

wooden
is

^^hen

this

done

rotated the

same

as predously.

The same

instructions hold for this section as for the pre\"iou5 one.

Each

layer

must be shellacked and wrapped with paper and


must stop before getting
71 layers are
to the

the winding

bobbin heads.
2'

In

this section

wound

on.

About

of wire

should be brought through the hole in disc 4 to allow for


;

connections.

The two remaining


-

sections are

now wound

in the

same

manner, there being 71 layers in the section between the


bobbin heads
the discs the
7, 8.

5, 6,

and only 61
to

la\ers in the section

between

Remember

keep the direction of the wire

same

as in the previous coils.

This method of winding


it

has several advantages, one of them being that


static strains.

relieves

practical reason

is

that

all

the leading out


it

wires are from the outer layers, thus


;

making

ahvavs easy

to bring

out a

new

piece of wire

if

an}- are ever

broken

off.

The reason
middle
.

for ha^'ing a greater

number

of la}-ers in the

coils w-ill readily

be seen from a consideration of the

direction

and

intensity of the lines of

magnetic force around

a solenoid.

Leave the completed secondary

in

warm

place to thor-

The Tesla Coil


<t'V----7f"

^'V

7i

ff

Fig.

5.

Frame

for Secondary of Transformer.

oughly dry, and in the meantime construct the frame


secondary.

for the

Working drawings are given

in Fig.

5.

The

base

is

made

of a piece of i"x 9" pine 20^" long.


to give
it

The

comers
Three

and edges are rounded

a better apgearance.

supports of i"x7" pine, 4V' high, are erected at the points

m.
1!

,.r,r...nm-rrrr-g^

!lbi'Anm(Trn-F-n-3T^"'T:::r;

Fig. 6.

Section

of Completed Transformer.

The Transformer
shown
in the figure.
is

19

At the top

of each a half-round hole


fits

3j" in diameter
the secondary
is

cut.

Into these

the tube

on which

is

wound.

The

distance between the supports

7r.

The two
are
silk

terminals from the middle coils of the secondary

now

soldered together, and the connection wrapped with


it.

thread to insulate

The

other two terminals are

left

alone at present as their connections are described in a later


chapter.

The

reason for using a cotton cloth instead of tape in the


is

construction of the transformer

that

oil

almost immedi-

ately spoils all the adhesive qualities of the type.

CHAPTER

III

THE CONDENSER

CONDENSER

is

an apparatus

for accumulating a large

quantity of electricity on a small surface.

The form may

vary considerably, but in

all

cases

it

consists essentially of
dielectric,

two conductors separated by a non-conductor or

and

its

action depends entirely

upon

induction.
the
greater
its

The

thinner

the

dielectric

and
is

specific

inductive capacity, the greater


denser.
potential.

the capacity of the con-

thin dielectric, however, cannot withstand a high

Besides the thickness, the dielectric strength

de-

pends on the character of the material.

The condenser used


for

in this

apparatus

is

especially designed

long continued use on high voltages.


is

The

dielectric

used

glass

and the

plates are
is

made
in

of sheet brass.

When
oil.

finished the condenser

immersed

pure parafi&ne

For the
in size,

dielectric 95 sheets of glass,

yV thick and

io"xi2"
cut

should be obtained.

These sheets may be had

to size for

about nine or ten cents apiece.

In purchasing
if

them each sheet should be examined


are any air bulAles.
it

carefully to see
in

there
glass

If

any are found

a sheet of

should be rejected.

The

brass used

is

number 32

or 34.

Forty-six sheets

Plate

II.

Transformer

for 12" Apparatus.

Plate

III.

Oscillation Transformer

and Glass

for

Condenser of

12" Coil.

The Condenser
8"xio" are required.
side
is

21

In one of the corners of the shorter


i

a tongue 2" wide and

j" long.

A j"

hp

is

bent across
rolls 8"

the top of this tongue.

If the brass

can be had in

wide, a

little

more should be obtained and


cut 3"xi|".

the tongues cut extra i"


is

out of

it.

They should be
them
to the plates.

The

for

soldering as a flux.
position

Rosin, not acid, should be used


in the

These tongues should always be soldered


in the figure.
is

shown

As a
most
right

rule 12"

the only width that can be obtained in


this

places.

When
sheets.

width

is

used the tongues are cut

on the

The condenser
for
it

occupies the part that has been constructed

in the oscillation
is

transformer box.

The frame

in

which the condenser


pine.
long.

built

up

is

made

out of well dried

The The

base

is

made

of a piece of ]" x 11" pine, iif"


long.

sides are

cutout of y'xi2" material lof"

The ends
The
sides

are also cut from j"xi2"

wood and

are 11" long.

and ends should be planed up smooth on both

sides, so as to

make them
is

little less

than i" thick.

The

completed frame

seen in Fig.

7.

Place the condenser frame on a table or some other


surface, with

flat

one of the ends down.

Before putting any of

the glass sheets in the frame, they should be carefully

wiped

clean so as to

remove any dust or moisture.


in the

Commence

by putting two glass sheets


the

frame so that they reach

bottom of the frame.


is

Place a brass sheet on top of these


a i" margin of glass
If
all

glass plates so that there


sheet, except

around the

were the tongue comes out.

the lip

on the

22

The Tesla Coil


it

tongue has been bent carefully


sheets of glass.
of glass

will just

fit

up against

the

Without displacing the brass lay two


it.

sheets
this

on top of

A brass

sheet

is

next put

in,

but in

case the tongue comes out on the reverse side.

There should
case.

be a

i"

margin around the brass as in the previous

After
is

the brass

come two more

sheets of glass.

This process

A.

n." "Frame for

Condenser

B."Sha|3=
Dotted
tort4ue

o^

lines

brass jheet show size op

w^dn so\<ierG6 on.

Fig,

7.

Condenser

Frame and Brass Coxdexser Sheet.

kept up until the 46 sheets of brass have been put in

place.

Three sheets
If the glass

of glass are placed

on top of the

last brass plate.

and the brass used are the

size called for in this

book
last

the last sheet will just go


it is

tightly.

In forcing in

the
last

few sheets

a good idea to lay a cloth between the


pressure,

two, to take

up any excess

which would otherwise

crack the glass.

The Condenser
Set the condenser upright,
piece of

23
finished,
3'

when

and

solder a

No. 16 bare copper wire about

long to each of

the lips in turn,

down

the one side,

and

the

same

is

done on

the other side.

Two
frame

leather straps should be fastened to the sides of the


to
lift
it

by when lowering

into the oscillation trans-

former box.

The

object for building the condenser in a

separate frame, instead of in the division in the oscillation

transformer box,
ever require
shet
.

is

to facilitate

moving should the condenser


to

rebuilding,

due

the rupturing of the glass

AA'hen the condenser

is

placed in the box, the end which

has the three glass sheets should be placed against the partition, that
is,

nearest the oscillation transformer.

This

is

to

pre\-ent the spark

from the

oscillation transformer
its

breaking
air path.

through into the condenser, instead of following

CHAPTER

I\'

THE OSCILLATION TRANSFORMER


It
in
is

this part of the

apparatus, so simple in construction,

which the most care as regards insulation must be taken.


success of the whole apparatus depends on the care
is

The

with which this part

constructed.

The

least fault, such

as two wires touching, or

many

other small similar mistakes,


its

may
It
is

cause a short circuit and require

reconstruction.

not wise to hurry the work, as


it if

it

will

be necessary

to

reconstruct

careless.

The end
wood.
eter,

supports are

made out

of

any suitable piece

of

The two

supports for the secondary are 8" in diamto i" in thickness.

and from f "

Eight equidistant points


slots J"

are

marked

off

on the periphery and


See Fig.
8.

deep and

\"

wide cut at these points.


the fibre strips,

These
is

slots are for

on which the secondary

wound,

to

fit into.

These

strips are 17" long

and

\" square

and are cut from

the

best vulcanized fibre obtainable, eight being required.

In
to

each end of the strips a hole


recei^'e

is

drilled
is

and countersunk

a small brass screw, which

to fasten in

them

to the
is

end

pieces.

wooden rod about


and

i"

diameter

now

obtained and a shoulder turned on each end.


of the shoulder
is

The

diameter

\"

its

length just equals the width of


24

The
the supports,
i.e.,

Oscillation Transformer

25
if

|"

if

f"

wood

is

used, or i"

i"
all

wood

is

used for the ends.

The

length of the rod over

must be

Fig.

End Support for S. Secondary of Oscillation Transformer.

only 17".

See Fig. 10.

A h" hole

is

now

drilled in the centre

of each of the

end

pieces.

These pieces are now slipped on,

ITFig. 9.

Fibre

Strip.

one on each end of the rod.


supports, after fitting

Screw the

fibre strips

on the

them

in the slots
If

and seeing
any of the

that they
strips are

are parallel to the rod in the centre.

"TT

77"
Fig.
10.

Centre

Rod.

20

The Tcsia Coll

bent or warped they should be straightened before being


fastened in place.

good way

to straighten

them

is

to lay

them between two boards, placing some heavy weight on


the top board,

and lea\c them thus over

night.

About 4

or 5 ounces of Xo. 28 B. &: S. gauge double cotton


is

covered copper wire

required for the secondary.


\\'a\-s

There

are several equally good

in

which the wire can be wound


will

on the frame.

Two

of these

methods

be described,

as

the authors have found

them both

satisfactory.

The

first

method

is

intended for those that have a lathe


cylinder of

at their disposal.

wood
it

4" in diameter and

18" long

is first

turned out, and on

are screwed the eight


line,

strips of fibre, so that their

ends are in

and

that they

strike

one another.

If

the amateur has a couple of clamps


it

made

of strips of sheet iron with a bolt through the ends,

will greatly help

matters by clamping them around the

strips,
is

about 6" apart,


first
file

and moving them as needed.

light cut

taken

off the strips,

and then they are polished with


No. 18 thread
is

and sandpaper.
i"

now

cut, starting
the

about

from the end of the


It

strips to within

an inch of

other end.

should be cut just as deep as possible.


clean cut the tool

In

order to

make a

must be \cry sharp and

several light cuts should be taken instead of one.


strips are

When
lie

the

mounted on

the

frame again

it

will

be seen that
with-

there

is

a continuous groove in which the wires will

out touching one another.

The secondary frame


in

is

now supported between

centres

the

lathe so that

it

just turns easily.

Around one end

Till'

Oscillalion Transformer

~i

of one of the strips


to

wrap about

i'

of Xo. 2S wire.

This

is

be used for connections.

Starting at this point

wind the

wire tightly on the

frame, always
i'

keeping the wire in the


the end

groove cut for


for

it.

About

extra should be left at

making
is

the connections.

When
the wire

finished, a
rest

hea\y coat

of shellac
strips.

gi\'en to the wires

where they
is

on the

fibre

When

this

is

dry

all

heavily shellacked.

soft

brush should be used so as not to displace any of

the wires.

The secondary should now be

placed in a

warm
not

place to dry.

The

following method can be used in case a lathe

is

available.

spool of silk thread and some silk are resilk

quired.

There must be enough

to

make two

turns

around the secondary frame.


smoothl}'.

It is

wrapped on
It

tightl}',

and

and shellacked

in place.

might be mentioned
alcohol

here that shellac dissoh'ed in

wood

should

not

be used.

The

wire

is

then

wound

on, starting about i"

from the end up to within an inch of the other end.


silk

A
the

thread

is

wound on

at the

same time between


it

turns, to
is

keep them apart,

^^'hen

is all

wound

the wire

heavily shellacked

and the frame put

in a

warm

place to

thoroughly dry.

Get

t\vo pieces of

J"xi2" pine 12" long and find the centre


their diagonals.

of each

by the intersection of

With
4I''

these

points as centres describe two circles, with radii

and 5^'

on each board.

Di\"ide the circles ha\-ing the radius 5}"

into 36 equal parts.

These points can be located with a

protractor or mariner's compass, there being one e\ery 10.

28

Tlie Tesla Coil


drill

At each of these points

a \" hole.
i".

In each corner of these

boards cut out a piece i"x

See Fig. ii.


-]"

At a planing

mill

buy eighteen

dowels, 36" long.

These
cut

may
in

be had for one cent apiece.

Each one should be


\" rods,

two, which will

gwe you

thirty-six

18" long.

Fasten one of the 12" end pieces to each of the ends of the

Sb- ^ holes

\
o
\

Ai

-5i-

o \ o
I

\/,

,0^

^-o'

/^'
Fig, II.

End

Support for Primary.

completed secondary frame, by four flat-headed brass screws.


See that the circular end pieces of the secondary just
the smaller circles
fit

on

drawn on

the boards.

The

^" rods are

now

driven into place, thus forming a circular cage on which


is

the primary

wound.
8' piece of

For the primary get an


i" wide.

No. 36 copper ribbon AAYap the end of the ribbon once around the end

The
of

Oscillation Transformer
in

29
it

the dowel

shown

Fig.

12

and solder

in

place. here.

piece of copper wire should also be soldered

on

Starting

from

here

take

two and a half turns around

Fig. 12.

Primary of Oscillation TRANSrORMER.

the secondary frame. the

This

will

bring you to the end of


the

dowel

diametrically

opposite

dowel from which


this

you

started.
it

Wrap

the

ribbon once around

dowel

and solder

in place.

piece of wire should also be

Fig.

Completed Sec13. ondary or Oscillation


Transformer.

soldered on.

The

turns of the ribbon

should be equally
183"

spaced.
fasten

Get four pieces of

i"xi" pine

long and
to

them

as braces

from the one end of the frame

the other,

the pieces fitting in the corners that were cut

out for them.

The Tcsla Coil

I I

- Bushings for Support of Oscillator Standards.

^
4-

~^

""

-e

"^

Fig. 15.

Hard

Rubber Block on Oscillation Transformer.

The

Oscillation

Transformer

31

Turn two bushings out


They
are

of a piece of f" brass or copper rod.

shown
is

in Fig. 14.

The

length over
is

all is

V'

and
the

the shoulder
centre,
at

I" thick.
is

" hole

drilled

down

and

the shoulder

drilled

and

slightly

countersunk

two opposite points

to recei\"e

two small brass screws.

Two pieces of

vulcanized fibre or ebonite J"xi'', 2" long, with

a 5" hole drilled h" from the end, are fastened to the middle
of the top side of the

primary frame.

The bushings
in place.

just

made

are fitted into the holes

and screwed

The
and

wires from the secondary are soldered onto these bushings.


^^'hen this
all
is

done the

oscillation transformer
is

is

finished

that needs to be

done

to connect
is

it

up

properly.

The

completed oscillation transformer

seen in plate III.

CHAPTER V
THE INTERRUPTER
Let
us

now

consider that important part of the apparatus,

the primary spark-gap.


stated, is to provide a

The

function of

this,

as previously

path of high resistance until the conits

denser

is

charged to

full

capacity.

Then

it

suddenly
forth

breaks down, and allows the current to surge back and


across
it,

until the current in

is

damped
After

out by resistance and


the
oscillations
its

other factors

the

circuit.

have

ceased, the ideal spark-gap should return to

maximum

disruptive strength before the condenser can be charged by

the next cycle from the secondary of the transformer.

In practice

this

is

far

from being the

case.

The

air

between the discharging balls becomes heated, and


a comparatively low-resistance path for the current.
results in

offers

This

an arc being formed, which prevents the condenser


its

from performing

function.
is

The mechanical problem


to find

which confronts the designer


of
this

some way

to get rid

heated air and thus prevent the arc being formed.


is

The
tially

object of this chapter

to

show

several

ways

of par-

accomplishing

this result,

but in no case perfectly.

The

simplest form of spark-gap for the primary of the

oscillation

transformer,

one which has given


32

fair

results

Tlte Interrupter

^li

with the writers, consists of merely two adjustable brass


balls.

No

provision

is

made

for

blowing out the arc that

forms, so that considerable of the energy of the transformer


is

wasted.

Nevertheless sufficient oscillations are set up


its

to

bring the coil to within i" or 2" of

maximum

length of

spark discharge.

Most amateur
struction,
their

coil builders will, at this point in the con-

be very anxious
are.

to see

what

the possibilities of

work

good idea of the working value of the

apparatus
a designer
coil
is

may
is

be obtained with the simple air-gap.

When

more acquainted with

the workings of a Tesla

he can construct that one of the spark wipe-outs which

best suited to the current that he has at his disposal.

THE SIMPLE AIR-GAP

Two

standards of brass J" in diameter and 4" long are


of

mounted on a piece
5" apart.

hard rubber.
is

They should be about


from the upper end of

-^^" hole
is

drilled J"

each rod and

taped with a standard \" machine screw tap.


in line.

These two holes must be

Next two pieces


for the

of \" brass rod 3!" in length are threaded


fit

whole of

their length to

the holes tapped in the

standards.

Two

balls

in

diameter are turned out of


in physical
fit

brass or are procured

from a dealer

supplies.

These

balls are drilled

and threaded

to

in the brass rods.

Two

vulcanized fiber rods are turned out of f" rod, 3" in

length,

and a

\" shield 2" in diameter

is

screwed on one

end of each handle.

The handle

is

drilled

and tapped

for

34
i" to
is
fit

The Tcsla Coil


the brass rod

on which

it

is

screwed.

The

shield
the

to

safeguard the operator's hand

from sliding

off

fibre

handle and coming into contact with the transformer

current,

which would probably be

fatal.

Connection can
drilling

be made to the brass standard near the bottom by

-6

-*Afcl*'

an

!_

IEHIImQ)
-^

'

0/-/'A/-)'/'/-,

<-

e
.f

c
Fig. i6.

Simple

Primary Air-cap.

a small hole through them, and then drilling and tapping


another hole at right angles to the
to
first,

for a

thumb

screw

bind the wire.

set

screw at the top of the standards to clamp the rods

in place after they to the operator.

have been adjusted

will

be a convenience

See Fig. i6.

The Interrupter

35

THE AIR-BLAST INTERRUPTER


In order to
of

make

the air-gap

more

efficient,

getting rid

much

of the heated gases

between the spark terminals, a


air,

mechanical means can be used of forcing in cold


driving out

thus

the

heated gases and keeping the resistance


efficiently
is

much

higher.

To

accomplish
into

this

a piece of f"

hard glass tubing

drawn out
This
is

a nozzle having an

opening ^\" in diameter.


ard and
is

mounted on a brass standto a foot

connected by means of a rubber tube


is

bellows such as

used in the laboratory to operate a blast


air.

lamp or any other suitable supply of compressed


good blast of air
to form,

will effectually

wipe out any arc that tends

thereby increasing the disruptive length of the bright

oscillation

transformer discharge.
it is

The

operator will find,


a foot bellows,

however, that

a tedious task to

pump

occupying so

much

of his time as to handicap

him

in per-

forming experiments with the high-frequency discharge, and


he will soon decide that the best policy
is

to construct either

a magnetic wipe-out or a motor-driven interrupter.

THE MAGNETIC INTERRUPTER

The magnetic blow-out

is

well suited for those

who have a
no- volt

source of direct current at their disposal; either the


lighting circuit or

a suitable battery current.

For those who


to use the

have only the alternating current and

who wish

magnetic wipe-out the writers have added to this chapter


a simple

home-made

electrolytic rectifier of their

own

design

36

The Tesla
will give

Coil

which

a current suitable for magnetizing the magnet

of this interrupter.

Two standards of the same


interrupter, but 6" in length

form as those used

in the simple

and having spark

balls I" instead


7".

of J" in diameter, are mounted on a hard rubber base 10" x

The

fibre

handles and shields are also necessary for

this in-

terrupter.

Two

electromagnet bobbins 5^" long and having


fibre

an iron core |" in diameter with


are procured.

heads 3" in diameter


7" long

An

iron
it

yoke made from i"xj" iron


in the

has 2 holes drilled in

middle i^" from both ends, and

the bobbins are fastened to

it

by a screw

in the core.

Two

polar pieces of f " square iron, filed into an egg-shaped point


are screwed to the upper ends of the core.

The

bobbins

are wound
wire,
if

full

of

No. 14 B.

&

S.

gauge cotton-covered magnet

they are to be operated on a battery current of from


If

eight to ten volts such as a plunge battery.

a direct curIf the

rent of
rectifier

10 volts

is

available No. 24 should be used.


is

described at the end of this chapter

used No.

22

wire should be used as the voltage of the rectified current on

no

volts alternating

is

about 90

volts.

The magnets

must

be thoroughly saturated in order to

give the best results.


to

After the magnets are finished they should be fastened

the hard rubber base, at right angles to the rods carrying

the spark balls,


balls of the

by two screws through the iron yoke.

The

spark-gap should be between the projections

of the magnet.

sheet of mica

is

bent around the polar

projections of the magnets in order to prevent the spark

from jumping

to the cores of the

magnets.

Fig. 17.

The Interrupter

37

The ends
will traverse

of the coils are so connected that the current

them

in opposite directions.

The

outer ter-

minals are brought out to


interrupter
is

suitable binding-posts

and the

finished.

Fig.

17.

^Maonitic

Inieehupter.

The

principle of this piece of apparatus

is

based on Da\'y's
is

experiment in which he found that the electric arc


guished upon the approach of a magnet.

extin-

THE MOTOR-DRIVEN INTERRUPTER


This interrupter
is

the one the writers used in their earlier


coil

experiments with the 7" standard


part of this book.
It

described in the latter

consists

essentially of a fan

motor
a brass
its

run on the alternating current at


disc
face,

no

volts, driving

having a number of projections bolted

around

and a brass
it

oscillator so

mounted

that the distance


disc

separating
at will.

from the projections on the


of

can be varied

The motor may be

any suitable design that the

builder

may

possess.

small battery motor rimning on


if

direct current

can be pressed into service

the amateur does

38

The Tesla Coil

not care to go to the expense of purchasing a fan motor or has not the facihties for building one.

The

directions for

building a suitable induction motor are given at the end of


this chapter.

/bbei"

Fig. i8.

Motor

Interrupter Fan.

To make
able
it

the disc for this interrupter turn out of \" sheet


If

brass a circular piece lo" in diameter.

no lathe

is

avail-

may be
on
its

procured at a model maker's quite reasonably.


face

Lay
eter

off

two concentric
Di\ide
the

circles, 8"

and 9}"
these

in diamthirty

respectively.

inner

of

into

equal divisions and draw radial lines from the centre of the
disc through each of the points

marked

oF,

thus dividing

The
the outer circle into the
Drill a hole
circles

Interrupter

39
of equal divisions.

same number

through each of
to
jQt

the points laid off

on both

and tap them

a standard 4-36 machine screw.

number

of brass angle pieces

made by bending
coontersunk

j'g"

brass

I,

->i^

Brass Angle Piece.

into the

form shown

in the figure are procured. in

Two

holes

are drilled
flat'-headed

and tapped

each one to

fit

a standard 4-36
are screwed to

machine screw.

These

pieces

the brass disc with j" screws.

\" hole

is

drilled in the centre of the disc

and

three ig"
|".

holes are drilled

on a

circle

having a radius of

Next

40

The Tesla Coil

turn out a circular block of hard rubber 2" in diameter and


the
to
is

same shape as
it

in

Fig. 20.

The

brass disc

is

screwed

with three brass wood screws {" long and the whole
to

fastened

the
it.

shaft

of

the

motor so as

to

be well

insulated from

To

mal<:e electrical contact with the brass

&

Fig.

20,

Hard

Rubber Block.

plate a brush to bear

on the back near the centre

is

cut out

of a piece of y^" sheet spring brass. 10" long

This piece should be


piece of hard

and

wide.

It is

mounted on a

rubber with a suitable binding-post, so as to press against


the back of the disc.

For the other side of the spark-gap a standard mounted

on hard rubber similar


spark-gap
is

to the

one described

for the simple


it is

used, but instead of being 4" long

6" in length

The Interrupter
and the brass
diameter.
ball
is

41

best

if

it

is

slightly less

than \" in

The

fibre

handle and shield are necessary in


is

order to adjust the length of spark-gap while the coil


operation.

in

The Interrupter

43

A SiLVLL SELF-ST.\RTIXG SDsGLE-PHASE IXDUCTIOX

MOTOR

To

build a motor, to run on the single-phase alternating

current of
is

no

volts, suitable for


difficult.

running a fan interrupter,


builder will require
of

perhaps

ver}'

The

more

tools

and a much greater knowledge

machine shop pracall

tice to

construct an efficient motor than to build

of the

parts of Tesla apparatus combined.

For those who have

had but

litde experience in

motor construction, the writers

suggest that the amateur purchase

an alternating-current fan
batter}-

motor or a suitable

direct -current

motor.
is

The
given

following description of the building of this motor


in order that this

book may be complete


have
all

in itself

and

so that

the coil builder will

the necessary data to build the

complete apparatus without reference to other works.

The

first

step in the construction

is

to

make

the necessary

patterns for the base


required.
is

and yokes.

There are two castings

The

base supporting the punchinss for the stator

cast directly

on the standard which supports the motor.

The
It

drawint;. Fig. 23. will give the required dimensions.


is

assumed that the amateur pattern-maker


is

is

aware

that
the

an iron casting

smaller than the pattern from which

mould was made,

therefore shrinkage

must be allowed
will

for

in the pattern in order to

be sure that the casting


is

be large

enough.

One

eighth of an inch to the foot

about the proper

amount.

Turn out a

circular piece

"

in diameter

and

i" in thick-

44
ncss.

77/r

'Icslii

('nil

Then a rod

i" in

diameter, and 6" long, swelling into


enrl,
is

a graceful enlargement at the lower

turned out and


<

fastened with glue and nails to the centre of the

in iilar disc.

-^
1-

-,'^

D-^

for jiUUifr heads

I'lO,

23,

PAn;.i':.'s oi'

YoKE.

piece of

wood

is

cut out of ;" stock to the form

shown

in

the figure.

The

radius of curvature of the arr


fit it

must be 2\"
glued
is

so that the stator will

accurately.

This

jjiere is

and nailed

to the top of the upright.

The whole

pattern

The Inlcmipter
iliilllllllilMI'Hliii

45

A
Fig.
;:4.

Section

of Completed Motor.

46
gi\cn two coals of

Tlic

Tcsla Coil

l)csl
it

shellac \'arnisii, containing suOicicnt


'I'his

lampblack

to

make

jet black.

tompktt's

llic

pattern

for the base.

In order to pro\i(le a su|)porl for (he bearing

of the rotor shaft

we must make we

a pattern lor a yoke.

To make

this pattern

turn out of \\" sloik a circular

disc 5I" in diameter

and

of the

same form

as in the drawing.

Two

castings are

made from

this palleni,

one

to

lit

each end
for

of the stator.

They

not only ser\e to furnish bearings

the rotor, but also to enclose the entire

motor and thus keep

out moisture and dust.

Vie.

25,

Rotor

Disc,

After the patterns arc shellacked they should be sent to a

foundry where the castings can be obtained quite reasonably.


It requires

one casting of the base and two of the yoke


the castings

or

journal.

When
all

arc obtained they should be


off.

chipped and

the roughness filed

The

rotor consists of a

number

of iron discs 2\" in diameter

The

Interrupter
drilled

47

and having twelve f " holes


j^g"

around the edge and a


of iron about
pile

hole in the centre.

They should be made

j^|Q-" in

thickness; about forty of


discs can be

them making a

i"

high.

These

made by

the coil builder wfith the

help of a lathe

and

drill press,

or they can be obtained already


in electrical sup-

stamped out from any of the large dealers


plies.

sufficient

number

of

them are mounted on a

shaft,

turned

down from a

f" rod of cold rolled steel to the size

shown
motor

in the figure, to

make
them

a pile 2v" in height.


it,

As
it

the
will

will not

have a very heavy load thrown on


to the shaft.

not be necessary to key


fit

good driving

is

sufficient to

keep them from turning.

They can be

clamped

in position

by the nut shown

in the figure.

The One

conductors consist of twelve s" copper rods 2f" long.


of these rods should be driven in each of the holes

around

the edge of the discs

and should

project J"

beyond them on

both sides.

To

short-circuit them,

two heavy rings made


circle

by bending two pieces of \" copper rod into a an outside diameter of if" are soldered
rods.
in

having

to the

ends of the
connections

Use

sufficient

solder

in

making

these

order to prevent heating at the connections by the induced

current in the rotor.

This completes the


is

rotor.

The

next thing to consider

the stator punchings.

In

this case

they will not be punched out, but will be cut out

on either a shaper or milling machine, or cut out by hand


after as
drilling.

much metal

has been removed as


of these discs
is

is

possible

by

The diameter

given in the draw-

ing on Fig. 27.

To make

them, cut roughly out of tHtt"

48

The Tesla Coil

hi

%k -%%.

"T
)i
I

o
s

The Interrupter

49

JO

The Tesla Coil

iron about loo pieces 6" in diameter, with a pair of snips.

A I" hole is drilled in the centre of them and the whole number
are clamped on a mandrel between two nuts

and turned

down

in

a lathe to si".

Next four

Y' holes are drilled as in

the figure,

and a

fibre
is

tube i" in external diameter and J"

internal diameter

driven in each hole.

J" stud 3I" in

length, with hexagonal nuts


discs together.

and

f" iron washers, binds the

After tightening up the nuts the bolts can

be slightly riveted to guard against possible loosening.

The
to

whole

is

clamped

in

a chuck and the centre


slots are

is

bored out

2f" in diameter.
either

Next the

cut as in the figure,


of a hack

on a milling machine or shaper or by the use


file.

saw and
drilling.

large bulk of the metal can be

removed by

When

the stator

is

complete

it is

mounted on

the pedestal

with four cap screws which screw into the bottom edge.

The two ends


way between

are fastened to the stator with four l"

fillister

screws i" long.

The

holes for these screws are drilled mid-

the nuts binding the stator discs together.


fit

In

order that the heads

up against the

stator four holes should

be drilled

to allow the nuts to project into the heads.


is

The

rotor

next wrapped with paper until

it

just

fits

into the stator

and the heads are bolted on


It is well to

in the

way

they

are to be permanently.

mark them
place.
is

so that they
the space

can always be put back

in the

same

Then

between the shaft and the journal


grade
of

filled

with the best

Babbit

metal

obtainable.

Cardboard washers

slipped over the shaft prevent the babbit from running out.

The

Interruptef

51

The
used
is

next thing to do

is

to

wind

the stator coils.


in a

The

wire
of

No.

22.

The
in

coils are

wound

wooden frame

the size are

shown

Fig.

28.

After the coils are

wound
to

they

wrapped with

tape, shellacked,

and allowed

dry by

thoroughly baking.

Before the coils can be put into place,


for

means must be provided


This
is

making

the

motor

self-starting.

accomplished by means of a short-circuited copper

'

52
pieces.

The Tesla Coil

The

six coils are in series, the


to suitable

end terminals being


to the

brought out
pieces

binding-posts fastened
it.

end

and suitably insulated from

coating of black

paint completes the motor.

Although the induction motor


at varying loads,

is

a constant-speed motor
slight

we can

secure

some

speed regulation,

4Short circuited
of Wo,
14-

cortduc/br

Bare

Cof>(>er

Wi>,

showing haf]e of wire


bff[ore alijj^in^ into slots

Fig.

29

Self-starting

Device.

which

is

a great advantage in operating the

coil,

by

inter-

posing a liquid resistance in series with the motor.


resistance consists essentially of

This
such

any suitable glass


cell,

jar,

as

is

used in a Daniell or Gra\'ity

ha\'ing

two metal

plates

suspended

in

an

electrolyte, so that the distance bewill.

tween them can be varied at


erally

Copper sulphate

is

gen-

used as the electrolyte.

Plate

I\'.

Motor-driven

Interrupter.

Plate

\'.

The

Electrohnic Rectifier.

The Interrupter

53

AN ELECTROLYTIC CURRENT RECTIFIER


It

was only

at the last

moment

that the authors decided

to

make

public the results of their experiments on an electrorectifier,

lytic

current

which has proven highly


it

satisfactory.
built,
it

Its

advantages are that

is

easily
its

and cheaply
is is

re-

quires only slight attention,

efficiency

very high, and

the current which a small set will rectify

very large.

To

a great

many

it

may seem
The

out of place in putting in


is

this description

of a rectifier,

which

entirely foreign to

the Tesla apparatus.

reasons

for so doing,

however
if

appeared, to the authors at


the

least, sufficiently great, for

amateur constructs the magnetic wipe-out he

will

need

a source of direct current at


since this current
circuits

about 80 or go volts pressure,

can hardly be obtained from the lighting


batteries.

which are generally alternating or from


this source of direct current

Then having
to substitute

he

will

be able

a D. C. motor

for the induction

motor de-

scribed in this chapter.

The
the

greater

number

of rectifiers

now on

the

market use

method

of choking out the one half of the alternatingit

current
is

wave and

is

to this fact that their

low efficiency

due.

The

high efficiency of the apparatus devised by the

authors depends on what might be called the alternate path

connection or method; that


current to traverse, one of

is,

there are two paths for the


resistance

enormous

and one

of

very low resistance.

The

idea of this form of rectifier

came

to the authors in

54
the

The Tesla Coil


following

way.

They were experimenting on some

cathode tubes of peculiar construction, using a 12" induction


coil.

The

current from the secondary of this coil


It
^-ery

is

oscil-

latory in character, of course.

was observed that the


unsteady, especially

dis-

charge through the tube was

when

the interruptions were not very rapid.

line

of experi-

ments was carried out


effect,

to

determine the cause of this unusual'

with the result that the resistance was found to be


in the

enormously greater for currents

one direction through

the tube than in the opposite direction, due entirely to the


difference in the forms of the

two

electrodes.
if

After discovering this fact they wondered


lytic cell

some

electro-

might not be made which would possess the same

properties

and could be used

to rectify the

ordinary

alter-

nating currents.

From

a previous study of the

effects of

various electrodes on the electrolysis of certain solutions

we

arrived at se\'eral cells which exhibited these properties to

a marked extent.
It
tial

was found that an aluminium electrode was the


thing in every
cell,

essen-

together with

some acid

salt

capable

of forming

an oxide with aluminium.

The

other electrode

might be any conductor unaffected by the solution.

Some

of the conductors suitable for the other electrode

are iron, carbon,

and

lead,

and the following

solutions

all

gave more or
bonate,
acid

less

satisfactory results.

Acid sodium

car-

sodium phosphate, acid potassium

tartrate,

potassium alum, and in fact most of the ionizable,


acid sulphates, carbonates, tartrates,

slightly

and phosphates.

The Interrupter

55
the circuit, the one
out.

By merely
But

putting one of these

cells in

half of the alternating current


this

wave may be choked


than 50%.

method

gives

an

efficiency of less

Thus
up
is

the authors were led to devise the alternate-path method.

Before describing this method, however,


in detail the properties of a single cell.

we

will take

After a current
cells,

passed for a few minutes through one of the


of oxide
tically
is

a coating
is

formed on the aluminium electrode which


While
this

prac-

a non-conductor.

does

not prevent the


cell,

difference of potential from being maintained across the


it

does prevent the ions from giving up their charge and in

this

way

it

acts like a polarized copper plate in a single gal-

vanic

cell.

This

condition of
is

enormous resistance

exists

when

the aluminium

the anode.

When on

the reversal
is

of the current the

aluminium becomes the cathode there

merely the resistance of the electrolyte encountered.


cell

Any
in the

possessing this property

is

called asymmetric.

As stated
circuit

before, a single cell

by being merely put

would choke out the one

half of the alternating wave,


is

but as this gives an intermittent current, the following


the

method devised by the authors.

Three

cells

are needed

in all.

Two

of these consist of one electrode of

aluminium

and one

of iron, with a solution of

sodium acid carbonate.

The

third has

two aluminium plates and one iron plate

between them.

The same
30
it

solution

is

used.

On looking at Fig.
the current can flow

will

be seen that when

E is positive
of

from

either plate 2 or 3 across the elec-

trolyte to plates I or 4.

The path from

3 to 4

is

enormous

56
resistance, as the
I

Tlic

Tcsla Coil
is

aluminium

the anode, but the path from


this

to 2

is

of

low resistance and hence the current takes

path.

AA'hen

H becomes positive the current can flow from


It

6 to
is

or from s to 4.

takes the path from 6 to 7 as this

of low resistance.

In this way both waves of the alternat-

ing current are used


of the electrolyte.

and the only

loss

is

due

to the resistance

Thus
in

the direct current


all

from

this set

has a sine wave form,

which

the negative values in the alternating have been

made

positive.

The
directly

following are plans for a rectifier suitable for use

on

the

no- volt-alternating-current
measurements.

light

mains.

The

rectifying cells have glass containing jars. 7"

The

jars are all

X 6" X 4" inside


-J"

The aluminium
the

plates

are cut out of

sheet

and are

all

same

size

and shape.

They

are

5" x 7"

and four are required.

The aluminium

should be comparatively pure to prevent deterioration of


the plates due to local extent impure
rectify
it

action.

If to

the plates are to any

the cells

may

fail

work, and

if

they do

will

be at a very low

efficiency.

The

iron plates
size as

are cut from I" sheet.


the

Two

of

them are the same


is

aluminium plate and the


is

third

8" x

5".

This larger
necessity for

plate

to
it

be used in the middle


larger
is

cell.

The

making
plates

that

it

goes between two aluminium


is

and the extra length


to.

required to

fasten the bind-

ing-post

The

plates are

held three eighths of an inch

apart in the following manner:


canite or hard rubber (fibre

Out

of

some f" sheet


it

vul-

must not be used as

swells in

TJic Interrupter

57

water) cut four strips

.1"

x 61".

Also cut out four washers

about

V'

in

diameter and a number of pieces h" square.

These

latter pieces are drilled

and tapped
-}"

to

fit

a standard

\" thread.

The washers have a


rod
is

hole drilled in them.

Some

\" vulcanite
fit

cut

up

into

about 2" lengths and

threaded to

a \" nut.

With

these strips

and washers and

the

plates are held the required distance apart

the bolts

firmly fasten

them

together.

The
and

strips of

rubber are used

across the tops of the plates

the washers at the bottom.

See Fig. 30.

This method of using hard rubber bolts and

nuts

is

far superior to using iron ones

and
is

fitting

them with

an insulating bushing.
of each

binding-post

fastened at the top

one of the

plates.

As the

strips across the

top of
the

the plates

are longer

than

the jars

are wide;

when

electrodes are put

in place

they will be suspended in the

solution

by the

strips resting
if

on the edges of the


is

jars.

The

electrolyte,

sodium acid carbonate

used, should
this

be a saturated solution.

Other solutions than

can be

used, although the authors obtained the best results with


this one.

Besides

it is

about the cheapest of

all

the possible

electrolytes.

In selecting an electrolyte the following factors must be

taken into consideration.

It

must have low

resistance,
is

it

must be a stable compound, and when no current


it

flowing
slightly

must not attack the aluminium plate and only


it

attack

when

current

is

passing.

To make
mounted

the set con\'enient to

handle the jars should be


the cell containing the

in a

wooden frame, with

58

The Tcsla Coil

-->fi'bai*

wojW

D.C,
A.c.
:;

r lauRE.

ehowr'tig

faos'ition

1fia

ce)/5

and eledrtdcs

Fig

30.

Rectifier

Plates and Wiring Diagram.

The
two aluminium electrodes
are

Interrupter
in the middle.

59

The

connections

shown

in the figure.

With

this electrolyte the


it

aluminium

plates will

form

in a

few minutes,

being merely necessary to short circuit the


rectifier

D. C. taps with a resistance and allowing the


take a
full

to

load current.

The

efficiency of the

apparatus will be somewhat increased

by using a cooling worm, as the electrolyte when cool has


the greatest current density.
It will

be necessary

to

renew the
set
is

electrolyte at intervals,

depending on the use the

given

CHAPTER

\T

THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BOXES

The
is

next thing to consider in the building of a Tcsla

coil

the boxes which contain the transformer

and high-tension

coil.

One box

for transformer, condenser,

and high-tension
weight would

coil

might be used, but for a

coil of this size the

be objectionable.

Two

separate boxes give the ideal result.


to handle,
if

They
and

ha\'e the

advantage of not being too bulky

the transformer in this

form can be used separately,

so

desired.

single box, however, has the

advantage of taking

up

less

room and

of having all the high-potential connections


safe, except those

inside

where they are


is

which lead

to the

interrupter which

placed on top of the box.


it

Oak makes
make
is

the

most substantial box, but

is

harder

to

tight,

owing
filling

to the fact that the shellac \'arnish

which

used for

up

the pores

in

the
it

wood does

not sink

into

oak with the same readiness as


is

does in a softer wood.

Pine

the best material to use as the joints will require


filling

considerable
oil,

up

to

make them

imper\-ious to paraffine

which

will

soak through almost anything in time.

Sugar
\-ar-

pine

may

be readily stained and looks very neat when

nished.

For the

sides

and ends

of the transformer
60

box

it

requires


The Conslniclion of
the

Boxes

6i

a piece of straight-grained pine free from knots, ij" x lo",


6" long.

The bottom
and

should be

made
i"x

of a piece of
11", 2' long.

J" x 14",

26" long,

the top of a piece of

Cut the

pieces to the size

shown

in Fig. 31,

and plane

the edges true.

The end
end.

pieces

must be mortised

into the sides i"

from the

These tongues and grooves may be cut with a saw


chisel
if

and

a rabbeting plane

is

not at hand.

After the sides

TOP

l/IEW-Tiivy rm^vtj

COVER

-i'i'

Zoi"

iA
zsi-

-iSif'
I! i| I
I

'l l@|

0000

I I
I

I'
i@|

W
SIDE VIEW
Fig. 31.

i@|

T
'

END VIEW

Teansfokmer Box.

and ends are


heavy coat of
hol,

finished the tongues


shellac,
still

and grooves are given a


in grain alco-

which has been dissolved


wet are put together.

and while

Six long brass

screws with round heads are to be used in each board to hold


the sides.

brass washer

l^i

diameter should be placed

on the screw

to prevent the

head from sinking into the wood.


if

Next the edges should be gone over with a plane


sary so that the

neces-

bottom board

will

fit

flush in all places.

The

62

TJic

Tcsla Coil

bottom board
that
is
it

is

to

be i" wider than the width of the box, so

laps over V'

on each

side.

\\'\\tn the

bottom board
gi\-e ilat-

cut to size,
finish,

the edges are rounded off with a plane to


it

and then

is

fastened to the box with long

headed brass screws, placed every four inches along the

sides

and ends.
box

coating of shellac

is

given to the edges of the


to help

just before putting the

bottom on,

make

it

tight.

The

screws must be forced in until they are flush with the

wood.

Next

the inside should be given five or six coats of shellac,


to get
it

paying especial care


each coat
to

into the joints,

and allowing

dry before applying the next.


is

A
it

small brass cock in the end near the bottom

a conven-

ience in emptying the


in so that the

box

of

its oil,

but the labor of putting


is

box

will not leak

such that a siphon


oil.

is

quick enough for an occasional emptying of the

The box

for the high-frequency coil


its

and condenser must

have the same care taken in


of the transformer box.

construction as in the case


are given in the
is

The dimensions

working drawings
the condenser

in Fig. 32.

partition

put in between

and

oscillation transformer,
it

but several holes


free

should be bored in
circulation of the

near the bottom to allow of the

oil.

This box must also have several

coats of shellac, as the insulating oil used will leak through


in spite of all the precaution taken.

After the boxes are finished they should be stained or

varnished to suit the taste of the builder.


looks well, and as
it is

Walnut

stain

dark

it

covers

up a multitude

of faults

The Construction of
in the

the

Boxes

63

wood working.
by

If the

boxes are well

made a good

ciling followed
finish.

several coats of shellac

makes a very good

TOV VIEW

COVER REMOVED
.1 "?+=

COVER

/?
ii

:=F^
J6i

-36?-

:^i

CHAPTER

VII

ASSEMBLING
It
for
if

is

not wise to hurry


the

when assembling
are

the apparatus,

high-tension wires

not properly insulated,


In

brush-discharge effects will

be noticed on operating.

nine cases out of ten poor insulation will result in puncturing his condenser

and probably burning out


to

his trans-

former.
First

Care should be taken

follow these directions.


its its

mount

the transformer in
its

box.

After lowering

the transformer into

box bring

four primary leads to

four heavy binding-posts on the end of the box.

The two
to

inner

terminals

of

the

two sections are brought

two

adjacent binding-posts, and the two outer ones to the other


two, in such a

manner

that connecting electrically the two


series

middle binding-posts puts the sections in


circuiting the

and

short-

two outer pairs throws the sections


This
is

in parallel.

See

the

diagram.

accomplished by means of a
it

piece of fiat brass with slots filed in

so that

it

just

fits

across two binding-posts, or

by a short piece of brass rod

which

fits

in the holes of the binding-posts.

The secondary

terminals are soldered directly to two brass

rods f" in diameter and 3" long, which extend through the opposite end of the box for ij".
64

These rods are insulated

Assembling

65

by two heavy hard rubber or


lows:
is

fibre

bushings

made

as fol-

2" piece of

hard rubber or

fibre
i^"

rod 2" in diameter

turned

down

to iV', except for a

flange
drilled

on one end the

full

diameter of the rod.

" hole

is

down

the centre
fit

of the bushing.

The

bushinsrs should be a driving

both

Fig. 33.

Connections
and
8"

for Primary of Transformer.

in the

end of the box and over the brass

rod.

The

rods

are 6" apart

up from

the bottom of the box.


oil,

This

brings

them

well above the level of the

thus assuring no

leakage at this point.

The

leads from the sections should be led to the brass

rods through glass tubing bent in the desired shape.


is

hole

drilled

and tapped

in the

end of each rod

to

fit

a standard

66
brass set screw.
the
first

The Tesla Coil


Another hole
is

drilled at right angles to


first

about \" from the end of the rod to meet the


efficient

hole.

This makes an

binding-post to hold the con-

ductor.

This

finishes the connections in the position

on the transformer, which


which
it is

can now be placed

to occupy.

The

box

is filled

with enough pure paraffine


oil

oil to

cover the trans-

former.
free

This

should be of the best quality obtainable,


is

from moisture and impurities, such as


It

used for insuall

lating purposes.

should be allowed to soak into

the

sections for 24 hours before using.

The primary

terminals

are connected to a source of alternating current by means


of a suitable switch

and

fuse capable of carrying 30 amperes.

The

next step

is

putting in the connections

and terminals

in the high-tension box.

FiG. 34

- - h-

--

High-tension Bushing,
to those

Three brass rods similar


box, with the
in the

used in the transformer

same form

of bushings, are driven through holes

end

of the high-tension

box next

to

one end of the


6"

oscillation transformer.

These holes should be about

from the bottom and 3" apart.

The

brass

rods project

Assembling
I" williin the box.
tight

67
rods can be

The bushings and

made

oil

by giving them a good coating of Le Page's glue before

driving

them

into place.

2" strip of

wood

is

glued on in the lower inside end of the


to

box below these rods,

prevent the end of the oscillation

transformer from coming in contact with them.

i!.;.c:

<J}

Fig. .35,

Oscillators

and Standards.

The condenser
wire
to
'

is first

lowered into place in the box and a


to the nearest outer brass rod,

is

run from one terminal


it

which

is

soldered.

The

wire should be enclosed in a


follow the lower edge of

*^

glass tube suitably bent

and should

the box.

wire

is

run from the other terminal of the con-

68

The Tesla Coil


It

denser in a similar manner to the other outer brass rod.


follows the other lower edge of the box.

tap wire

is

led

from

this

conductor at a point opposite

to

where one terminal


is

of the

primary band of the oscillation transformer


is

to be.
oscilla-

wire

also soldered to the


is

middle brass rod.


into place.

The

tion transformer

now lowered
is

Tlie tap wire

from the condenser lead

soldered to one end of the primary

band and

the wire from the middle brass rod to the other end

of the band.

These leads should be run

in glass tubes

and

as directly as possible.
oil.

They should

also be kept

under the

The

connections are shown in Fig. 36.

o o

Fig. 36.

Wiring

Diagram.

After
is

all

connections have been securely soldered the box


oil,

filled

with

so that the entire apparatus

is

completely

immersed.

The

oscillators

and standards can now be


in

constructed.
i.\"

Two

fibre or

hard rubber bushings 2]"


flange ]" thick

diameter and

in length,

and having a

and

3" in diameter
co\'er
oscil-

turned on one end, are set in two holes cut in the


directly

above the holes

in the brass
is

bushings on the

lation transformer.

J" hole

drilled

through the centre

Assemhling
of each bushing.
in fibre tubes f"

69

Two

J" brass rods 10" long are enclosed

in outside

diameter and gY'

lo^ig-

The

tubes should

fit

the rods tightly.

The ends

of the brass
fit

rods project from the fibre


the bushings

and can be

slightly tapered to

on the

oscillation transformer.

The

oscillators consist of

two brass

balls i" in diameter

screwed on the end of two

^f/' brass rods 12" long, which

are to slide easily in two holes drilled \" from the top of the

standards through both the fibre and the rod.


at the top of

set

screw

each standard

will

be of convenience in clamping

the rods in any desired position.

In order that the discharge gap


the coil
is

may be

adjusted while
in

in operation

two vulcanite handles f"

diameter

are screwed
for

on the ends of the

rods, carrying the oscillators,

about

li".

Slide

the standards through the bushings in the cover

until the rods

make good

contact with the bushings on the


in

oscillation transformer.

This completes the connections


should

the

second box.

It

now be
end
the
of

placed

in

its

final

position at the high-tension

the

transformer, leavthe

ing a space of about i^'

for

interrupter between

two boxes.

The
built
is

particular form of interrupter which has already been

connected to the binding-posts of the high-tension


wiring diagram.

coil as in the

These leads and those from


box should be of No.
in the heavi-

the transformer to the high-tension


12 B.

& S.

gauge hard copper wire and enclosed

est glass

tubing obtainable.

They should be

as straight

and

yo
as short as
is

The Tesla Coil


consistent with
safety in operating the
pri-

mary spark-gap.

suitable

panel switchboard, with the necessary fuses,


interrupter
sv/itches,
it

transformer and

makes a

desirable

acquisition to the apparatus, but

is

not essential.

This

matter

is

left to the taste of the individual worker.

When

the connections have


all

all
it

been made and the


can,

oil

has dri\en out

the air that

open the interrupter

gap about i" and cautiously close the transformer switch.


If

no

excessi\'e load is

taken by the transformer as manifested

by the 30 ampere
in series,
if

fuses or

an alternating-current ammeter

one

is

obtainable, the spark-gap can be slowly


it.

closed

until

the condenser discharges across

Then,

if

the directions have been carefully followed in building the

apparatus, a heavy, bluish white, snapping discharge of over


12" in length will pass between the oscillators,
further adjustment of the interrupter gap.

upon

the

When
in series.

the transformer

is

used on 55 volts the primary

sections should be connected in parallel


If the sections

and

for

no

volts
in

on the primary were connected

parallel

on

no

volts,

the voltage output of the secondary


it

would be about double what


denser
If

ought

to,

and hence the

con-

may

puncture.
fail to

by any chance a discharge should

take place, the


it

fault

may be due

to several things.

In most cases

will

be due

to the fact that the sections

on the primary or secondary

of the transformer are connected in opposition.

To

deter-

mine whether the transformer

is

working

satisfactorily or

Assembling
not, disconnect
it

-ji

from the

rest of the

apparatus and see

if

an arc discharge of at least 6 or 8 inches can be drawn out


bet\\"een

two electrodes.
easily

This arc

is

generally of a yellow
air.

color

and

extinguished by any draught of

If
if

you do not obtain a 6 or 8 inch arc

test the sections to see

they are connected in the right manner,

and

if

they are and

no arc

still

results,

which

is

highly improbable, then

some

error has

been made in the construction.


does not
lie

If the fault

in the transformer,

it is

most

likely

that

it lies

in the condenser;

To

test this
if

connect the transa condenser dis-

former up with the condenser and s;e


charge, determined by
in the
its

bluish white color, can be obtained


If there
is

primary spark-gap.
is

none obtained, your


even punctured,

condenser

most

likely short-circuited or
its

which can only be remedied by

reconstruction.
is

The

next place to look for trouble

in the oscillation

transformer.

Ring out by means of a magneto the primary


circuits to see that there are

and secondary

no open

circuits,

and then
and
due

see

if

there

is

any short

circuit bet'een the

primary

secondar}-.
to

If these parts are all right the fault

may be

poor insulation, in having the turns of the secondary

touching.

The remedy
and

is

ob^ious.

Finally look

see that

aU the

electrical connections are

as they should be, then the apparatus cannot fail to discharge

over a 15" air-gap.

CHAPTER

VIII

THE THEORY OF THE TESLA COIL


Although,
in the introduction,

the authors stated that

they would not attempt to give a mathematical explanation


of the coil,
still

they feel that a few facts regarding the theory


of place here, in that
it

would not be out


improvements
the

may

suggest certain
if

to the reader.

It will also

be of assistance

amateur wishes
first

to construct a coil of his


is

own

design.
Its action,

The
as
is

thing to consider
to

the transformer.

well

known

almost everybody, depends on

electro-

magnetic induction.

The

alternating current flowing in the


field,

primary

sets

up an alternating magnetic

which being
force

linked with the secondary induces an electromotive


in
it.

When

the secondary

is

open there

is

theoretically no
its

current passing through the primary, due to


induction,

high
the

self-

except
is

that

necessary

to

magnetize

core.

As a load

thrown on

to the secondary, the current through


itself

the primary automatically adjusts


is

as the self-induction

decreased by the opposing ampere turns of the secondis,

ary, that

if

the transformer

is

self-regulating for vary-

ing loads.

The normal
used

current through the primary of the transformer

in the 12" coil is

from 22
72

to 25

amperes, the secondary

Theory of

the Coil

73

voltage being about seventy-five hundred,

and thus

the amper-

age in the secondary

is

about

-3

oT-

To
to

get the required voltage of seventy-five


fifty-five volts

hundred
it

in the

secondary on

in the

primary

is

necessary

connect the two sections of the primary in parallel, as


has the effect of cutting the .primary turns in two.

this

On
is

one hundred and ten volts the sections are connected in

series.

The

use of the transformer in the Tesla apparatus


it is

merely to charge a condenser, and thus

seen that an ordi-

nary induction

coil or

even a

static

machine of the proper

dimensions could be used, but they are not nearly as handy.

Another important matter


tion of a transformer to be
tions
ary.
is

in connection with the construc-

used

for creating electric oscilla-

to secure

sufficiently small resistance in the secondis

The

reason for this

that the transformer

is

used to

charge a condenser.

When an

electromotive force
full

is

applied to the terminals of


is

a condenser, the

difference of potential

not created

between the terminals of the condenser immediately, but


rises gradually.

The time

required to charge the condenser

depends on

its

capacity (C)

and

the resistance {R) of the


the time constant
is

charging circuit.
of the condenser,
in a

The product
and

CR is called

practically the condenser

charged
time

time equal to ten times the time constant.


is

The

constant
in in

to

be reckoned as the product of the capacity

(Q

microfarads and the resistance {R) of the charging circuit

megohms.-

The

time

is

gi\en in fractions of a second.


else, constitutes

The

condenser, more than anything

the

74

The Tesla Coil


It

essential part of the Tesla coil.

plays the

same part

as

the mechanical interrupter in the ordinary induction


Its action,
lies in

coil.

however,

is

purely electrical and


of

its

great advantage

setting

up the currents
is

enormous frequency.

When any

condenser

discharged, the discharge

may

take

one of several forms, depending only on the three


constants of the discharging circuit

electrical

inductance, capacity,
either oscillatory or

and

resistance.

The

discharge

may be

entirely unidirectional, consisting only of a gradual equali-

zation of the potentials on the two plates.

This
tration.

may

be

made

clear

by the following mechanical


to

illus-

Suppose a glass U-tube

be partly fdled with


level

mercury, and the mercury to be displaced so that the


in
is

one side of the tube

is

higher than in the other.


level,

There

then a force due to the difference of

tending to cause

the liquid to return to

an equal height

in

both limbs.
is

If

the mercury
so

is

now

allowed to return, but


it

constrained,
its

that

it

is

released slowly,

goes back to

original
is

position without oscillations.

If,

however, the constraint

suddenly removed, then owing to the inertia of the mercury


it

overshoots the position of equilibrium and oscillaIf the

tions are created.

tube

is

rough in the

interior, or

the liquid viscous,

these

oscillations will quickly subside,

being

damped out by

friction.

What we

call inertia in material

substances corresponds

with the inductance of an


resistance experienced

electric circuit

and the

frictional

by a liquid moving
If

in the tube, with

the

electrical

resistance of a circuit.

we suppose

the

Theory of the Coil

75
to

U-tube
at
its

to include air

above

tiie

mercury and

be closed up

ends, the compressibility of the enclosed air


circuit.

would

correspond to the electrical capacity in a

The

necessary conditions for the creation of mechanical

oscillations in

a material system or substance are that there


displaceability of
inertia;
its

must be a self-recovering
the matter displaced the thing

some
in

kind,

and

must possess
to
is

other words,

moved must tend

go back to

original position

when

the restraining force

removed, and must overshoot


Frictional resist-

the position of equilibrium in so doing.

ance causes decay in the amplitude of the oscillations by


dissipating their energy as heat.

In the same way the conditions for establishing


oscillations in a circuit
is

electrical

that

it

must connect two bodies

having electrical capacity with respect to each other, such


as the plates of a condenser,

and the

circuit

itself

must

possess inductance
tions, the

and low

resistance.

Under

these condi-

sudden release

of the electric strain results in the

production of an oscillatory electric current in the circuit,

provided the resistance of the circuit


critical value.

is

less

than a certain

We

have these conditions present when the

two coatings of a Leyden jar are connected by a heavy


copper wire.
Professor William
in

Thomson,

titled

Lord Kelvin, published

1853 a paper on "Transient Electric Currents" in which

the discharge of the


in

Leyden

jar

was mathematically treated


facts.

a manner that elucidated important


If

we consider

the case of a

Leyden jar or condenser charged

76

The Tesla Coil


in

through a circuit having inductance and resistance, then


the act of discharge the electrostatic energy stored the condenser
is

up

in

con\'erted into electric current energy


circuit.

and

dissipated as heat in the connecting

At any moment
is

the rate of decrease of the energy in the jar

equal to the

rate of dissipation of the energy in the discharging circuit

plus the rate of change of the kinetic or magnetic energy


associated with the circuit.

From

these facts

Lord Kelvin

sets

up an equation

of

energy, vi^hich leads to a certain class of differential equation

ha\ing two solutions.


the
relation

The

solutions in this case

depend on
resistance,

between the constants inductance,

and capacity.
If

Z=

inductance,

C=

capacity,

R=

resistance, then the

solutions are determined

by the
that

relative values of

and LC.

If

4U
if

is

greater than

LC

is, if

is

greater thanl/lr:, V (J

or

J^C
is

greater than

the charge in the jar dies

away

gradually as the time increases, in such a discharge current


is

manner

that the

always in one direction.


time constant (Z) of the
dis-

The
charge

ratio

is

called the

circuit,

and the product

CR

is

called the time con-

stant {T')
is

of the condenser circuit.

Hence

the discharge

unidirectional
is

when

the time constant of the inductive

circuit

less

than half the geometric

mean

of the time concircuit:

stants of the inductive circuit

and condenser

Theory of the Coil


however,

77

If,

(^ J?

T
is

less

than

the discharge current will

be oscillatory, the current decaying in accordance with the

law of a

damped

oscillation train.
is

When
rent
is

the discharge

so highly oscillatory that the cur-

not uniformly distributed through the cross-section

of the conductor, then the ordinary resistance (R)

and

in-

ductance (L) must be replaced by the high-frequency


ance and inductance of the
circuit.

resist-

AA'hen the discharge takes the oscillatory

form the

fre-

quency

is

given by the expression,

2-

>

LC

4L-

If

is

very small, then

can be neglected in comparigiven by the expres-

son with
sion,

and then the frequenc}-

is

In

this

equation both the quantities

C and L must be measured

in electromagnetic

units or both in practical units, viz., in

henrys and farads.

In the majority of cases


are practically used,
cuit
is

in

which
of

electric

oscillations

the resistance

the
is

oscillatory cir-

negligible,

and the inductance

small and hence

easily

measured

in centimeters or absolute C.
to

G.

S. units,

one milli-henry being equal

a million centimeters

(10).

78

The Tesla Coil


the

Also

capacity

is

best

measured

in

microfarads; one

microfarad being

the

one millionth part of a farad or


S.,

IO-" of an absolute C. G.
capacity.

unit

(electromagnetic)

of

Hence when L

is

expressed in centimeters and

in micro-

farads, the expression for the natural frequency of the circuit

becomes

n=

5.033

X 1= VCL C

10"

The energy

storing capacity of a condenser

is

given by

the expression 2

CV,

where

is

the capacity of the con-

denser and

the charging voltage.

The main

thing in constructing condensers to be used on


is

high charging voltages


all

the solid dielectric.

There are

in

only a few dielectrics suitable for high-tension work, and

this

number

is

reduced when cost and internal energy

loss

in the dielectric are considered.


tions,

Glass of certain composipractically


its

ebonite, mica,

and micanite are


is

all

that

are suitable,

and

of these flint glass

the best, as
its

dielectric

constant
is

is

high, being

from
is

5 to 10,

and

dielectric strength

also great.

Glass

brittle,

however, and liable to have

flaws which sooner or later give way.

The
used,

capacity of a condenser depends on the area of the

plates, their distance apart

and the constant

of the dielectric

and

is

expressed by the following formula in micro-

farads,

where

is

the dielectric constant,

the total area of

the plates expressed in square centimeters,

and

the distance

apart in centimeters,

Tlieory of the Coil

79

^_
The
constant 9 x
lo'^

KS
fact that

comes from the

one micro-

farad equals 900,000 electrostatic units of capacity.

The

oscillation transformer

is

nothing but a modified transonly important facts about

former with an air core.


its

The

construction are that

it

should be built to withstand great

voltage differences

between the turns, and that the primary


is

should have as small an inductance as


to
is

practicable, in order

make

the frequency as great as possible.

No

advantage

gained by having

many

close turns in the primary, because

the increase of inductive effect

on the secondary, due


is

to

an

increase in the

number

of primary turns,

about exactly

annulled by the decreased current through the primary due


to its

own

greater inductance.
is

The

function of the interrupter

to destroy

any arc that

may be formed
gap, for
if

across the terminals of the primary spark-

this arc is

not wiped out there will be no true

oscillatory discharge in the

condenser circuit or only a feeble


that as long as the arc discharge

one.

The

reason for this

is

continues, the secondary terminals of the transformer are

reduced to nearly the same potential, or at most

differ only

by a few hundred

volts.
is

The

function of the primary spark-gap

to regulate the

voltage to which to charge the condenser.


tial

Since the potento the

difference

between the spark

balls

is

almost equal

potential difference across the condenser, the condenser will

discharge at a voltage determined by the length of the air-

8o
gap.

The Tcsla Coil

Now
rule

there

is

a certain length of spark-gap which

is

best
trial.

suited for each coil

and

it

can easily be determined by

As a

it

is

best to start with a rather short spark-gap,


it

gradually lengthening

out until a point

is

ahnost reached,
it

when opening
ing.

it

out any further would cause

to cease passresults.

This spark length almost always gives the best


this chapter
it

In the earlier part of

was stated

that the high-

frequency resistance and inductance should be substituted


for the ordinary resistance

and inductance, when dealing


oscil-

with circuits which are subject to the action of electric


lations.

The processes and means used

for the

measurepotentials

ment

of low-frequency alternating currents

and

are not always applicable or correct either

when

applied to

high-frequency measurements.
difference between the

The main
is

reason for the


fact

two cases

to

be found in the

that a high-frequency current does not penetrate


interior of a thick solid
is

into the

conductor of good conductivity, but


effect.
five

merely a surface or skin

When
1.

tra^'ersed

by an alternating current, there are


be considered.

qualities of a circuit to

The

resistance of the conductor,

which

is

always greater

for high-frequency currents

than for the ordinary currents;


to

that

is,

direct currents

and alternating currents up

about a

frequency of loo per second.


2.

The

inductance of the conductor depends on

its

geo-

metrical form, material,


insulator.

and the nature

of the surrounding

The

greater the frequency, the smaller the induc-

tance becomes.

Theory of
3.

the Coil

8i
its

The

capacity of the conductor, depending on

posi-

tion with regard to the return circuit

and other

circuits

and

on the
4.

dielectric constant of the


dielectric

surrounding insulator.

The

conductance of the insulator surrounding

the conductor.
5.

The

energy dissipating power, due to other causes than

conductance, such as dielectric hysteresis, which exist in


the dielectric.

Under

this

heading comes the


air

loss of

energy

from the brush discharges through the


ductors.
If

between the con-

the constants of a circuit for low-frequency currents are


for high frequencies

known, the values of the constants


be calculated
fairly correct.

can

The

high-frequency constants

can, however, be
delicate

measured

directly,

but the apparatus

is

rather
sat-

and inconvenient

for use

and besides not always

isfactory.

If the coil builder cares to

measure the constants

of a circuit for himself, he will find the description of the

necessary instruments in other books as

it

is

beyond the

scope of this work. Ha\-ing

now

briefly treated

theoretically

on

all

four of
these

the principal parts, the authors will try to

show how

parts
tus.

work

together to form the Tesla high-frequency appara-

The condenser

is

connected in series with the secondary

of the transformer

and thus

is

being continually charged.

\Vhen the potential difference betweeen the plates of the condenser reaches a certain critical value determined by the
length of the primary spark-gap, the diameter of the spark

82
balls, etc.,

The Tcsla Coil


a discharge takes place which oscillates through

the primary of the oscillation transformer


forth across the primary spark-gap.

and back and


of the

The frequency
before,

current depends entirely, as


of the circuit.

shown

on the constants
that the

On

first

thought, one

would think

condenser would discharge through the closed circuit in the


transformer secondary rather than
little

jump

the air-gap, but a


that the inducis

consideration of the matter will

show

tance of this circuit to electric oscillations of this nature


so great that no discharge can take place. that might be touched

Another matter

on here

is

the resistance of the spark-

gap.

Before any discharge has passed and under normal


is

conditions the resistance of the spark-gap


voltage required to break

very great: the

down one

centimeter of air being

about 10,000.
air

After the

initial

discharge has passed and the


as

becomes heated and ionized the resistance may drop


This
fact plays

low as two or three ohms.


part in the

an important

damping

of the oscillation trains.

The

discharge from the condenser which oscillates through

the primary of the oscillation transformer sets


alternating magnetic
field,

up a

rapidly
sec-

which being linked with the


in
it.

ondary induces an electromotive force


induction in this case
is

The law

for the

not nearly as simple as in the case of

the ordinary transformer, the capacities of the circuits playing

an important

part.

If the capacity of the circuits is


is

below a
the

certain critical value, the induction


capacities of the circuits, while
if

in the

ratio of

greater the induction de-

pends on the relation between the number of turns in the

Theory of
primary and secondary.
voltage

the Coil

83

The

formulae for calculating the

difference across the secondary in either case are

extremely complex, involving the damping factor, the capacities

of the circuits,

and other

constants.

Drude and Bjerknes

have treated the subject of the oscillation transformer analytically in

an admirable maimer.
of the spark in the large spark-gap
is

The frequency

not a

simple one but consists of se\eral, one being the natural


period of vibration of the secondary and one a forced vibration of the secondary,

due

to the fact that the

primary and
also a certain

secondary are never exactly in tune.

There

is

small current of a high frequency, due entirely to the constants of the spark balls

and connectors, which act as a

condenser.

The Tesla
much
to

coil in its

present form

is still

very crude leaving

be improved upon and wished

for.

The problem
is

that presents itself in the construction of Tesla coils


tically the

prac-

same one

that presents itself in selective wireless

telegraphy, so that the solution of the one will solve the other.

CHAPTER

IX

USES OF THE COIL

The
in

Tesla

coil readily

lends

itself to

a great

number

of

experiments, some interesting in their effect, others useful


scientific

research.

Waves

for

wireless messages

may

be sent out into space,


illuminated,

X-Ray
brush

tubes excited, Geissler tubes


effects

beautiful

shown, and a great

number

of other things done.

The

high potential current obtained from this coil pos-

sesses certain interesting properties

due
the

to its high frequency

that are not possessed by either


coil or

Ruhmkorff induction

static

machine.
in

These properties are best seen


effects,

the beautiful brush


coil described

which

may

be obtained even with the


All of these experiments

in

the Appendix.

on the brush

discharge should be performed in the dark, as they then

show

to the best
effects,

advantage.
besides affording a
It is

These

pleasing sight, are of


fact that the

great scientific \alue.

known

phenome-

non
and

is

due

to the agitation of the

molecules near the terminal,


is

it is

thought, since the brush

hot, that

some heat must


ter-

be developed by the impact of the molecules against the


minal or each other.

little

consideration of the matter

84

Uses of the Coil


leads us to the conclusion that
ciently high
if

85
suffi-

we could but reach

enough frequencies, we could produce a brush


light

which would give intense


ing too

and

heat.

But

this is stray-

much from

the practical nature of this book; the only


it

reason for putting

in being, that

it

might suggest

to the

amateur new

lines for experiment.

The
have

following

experiments

on

the

brush

discharge

been

taken

from

Nikola

Tesla's

"Experiments

with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Fre-

quency."

There
supports

is

practically nothing except


all

some wire and a few


on the brush
In

required for

these experiments

discharge,
the
first

and thus they can be performed by every one.

experiment two insulated wires about 10 feet long

are stretched across the room.

They

are supported at dis-

tances of a foot

and a

half

by insulating cords.
coil.

One

of the

wires
coil is

is

attached to each terminal of the


in action the wires are seen to

When

the

put

be strongly illumi-

nated by the streams issuing abundantly from their whole


surface.

(This experiment must be shown in the dark, of

course.)

The

cotton covering on the wire, although

it

may

be very thick, does not affect the result.

To

produce the best

effect the

primary gap and the length


It is best to

of the wires

must be

carefully adjusted.

take

the wires at the start very long

and then adjust them by

cutting off

first

long pieces and then shorter and shorter


correct

lengths

until

the

length

is

reached.

When

this

adjustment has been obtained and the wires are fed by either

86

The Tesla Coil


from them
will

the 12" or 7" coil, the hght

be

sufficient to

distinguish objects in the troom.

Another way of

easily exhibiting the

brush

effect is

by

attaching the end of 10 or 20 feet of No. 36 insulated copper


'

wire to the one terminal of the coil and the opposite end to

an insulating support,

lea\-ing the wire

hanging

clear.

Upon

touching the remaining terminal with a bit of metal held in


the hand, the wire will break forth into numberless streams

or threads of light palpitating in unison with the discharge


of the condenser.

The luminous

intensity of the streams

can be considerably
surface.

increased by focusing
illustrated

them upon a small

This

is

by the following experiment.


coil a

To

one of the

ter-

minals of the
diameter
sphere.
is

wire bent into a circle about one foot in

attached and to the other terminal a small brass


centre of the sphere should be in a line at right
its

The

angles to the plane of the circle at

centre.
is

When

the

discharge
in the

is

set up,

a luminous hollow cone


is

formed, and
illu-

dark one half of the brass sphere

seen strongly

minated.

To

get the best results possible with this experi-

ment, the area of the sphere should be equal to the area of


the wire.

Another way

in
is

which the luminous

effect of the discharge

may
and

be shown

as follows: two circles of rather stout wire,


12", are formed,
circles
is

one being about 32" in diameter and the other


to

each of the terminals of the

coil

one of the

attached.

The two

circles

must be concentric and


is

in the

same

plane.

When

the coil

turned on the whole space

Uses of the Coil

87 with streams.
is

between the wires

is

uniformly

tilled

The
such

intensity of the streams

forming

this

luminous disc

that objects in the

room can be

plainly distinguished even

though at a considerable distance.

By

this

time the experimenter will realize that to pass

ordinary luminous discharges through gases, no particular


degree of exhaustion
is

is

necessary, but a very high frequency


fairly

essential,

and

of course a
to

high potential.

This

shows us that the attempts


of the molecules or

produce hght by the agitation

atoms

of a gas
is

need not be limited

to the

vacuum

tube, but the time

to

be looked forward

to,

and

that in the near future,

when

light will

be produced without
air at

the use of
sure.

any vessel whatever and with


light
is

ordinary pres-

When

obtained this way, there will be no

chemical process nor consumption of material, but merely

a transfer of energy, and the probability

is

that such a light

would have an

efficiency far exceeding that of

even the best

of the present incandescent lights,

which waste so much of

the energy in heat.

The

Geissler effect can be readily

shown by using only a

bui^nt-out incandescent globe, in

which the vacuum has not

been destroyed.

To show

it

the bulb should be suspended


will pass

from an insulating knob, so that the discharge


through the centre of the bulb.
in order to see the

The room should be dark

changes that take place in the globe.

On

putting the coil in action the bulb lights


pulsating, delicate purple hue.

up with a
in a

gently

This color

few minutes

generally turns to a lovely pale green,

and then sometimes,

88 but rarely,
this

TJie

Tesla Coil

changes
is

to a delicate

white

light.

The

in-

tensity of the light

not very great, but the delicateness


to

of the colors

is

something

be admired.

The

discharge
it

must not be continued

too long through the tube as

is

liable to pierce the glass.


if

peculiar thing always happens


is

a bulb with a good filament


is

used, namely, that in a few

minutes the filament

found

to

be completely shattered.

With

the 12" coil

it is

only necessary to hold the globe in the


coil, for it to light

hand, without any connections to the

up.

By moving

the bulb

around

in the vicinity of the spark,

various changes in the intensity of the light will be seen.


If the

amateur

is

fortunate enough to possess


lit

some

Geissler

tubes, these

may

be

up by connecting them,
to the coil.

in series with

an adjustable spark-gap,
coil

In the case of the large

tubes will

light up when merely brought into the vicinity

of the discharge.

The
is

best X-ray tube to use with this Tesla coil


as a double-focus tube, although

is

what

known

any other tube

may be used
of the

with not quite as good results.

As

the terminals

X-ray tube are alternately cathode and anode, when


is

an alternating current
ing light,
able,
coil
if

used the pulsating or rather


called light,

va:ry-

X-rays

may be

would be objectionthis

but due to the high frequency of the current from


the pulsations are not noticeable.
is

When
first

the doublere-

focus tube
flector

used the rays are reflected

from one

and then from the other


is

in rapid succession,
if

and thus

double the space

filled

with the rays than

a single-focus

tube had been used.

Uses of the Coil


If the

89

tube
it

is

a small one and

is

used on either the 7" or

12" coils,

should be connected in series with an adjustable


it.

spark-gap, to prevent any injury to


this

On

starting the coil

spark-gap should be open as far as possible and then


is

gradually closed until the best result

obtained.

The

tube
if

should be
it

felt

now and

then to see
coil

if it

has become hot, and

becomes too hot the

should be stopped and the spark-

gap lengthened.

For those amateurs who

may

desire to use this coil for


it

wireless telegraphy, the authors merely state that


able,

is

suit-

with a few minor changes, in most of the systems using

a step-up transformer.
referred to a large

For

detail

information they are

number

of admirable books, especially

devoted to this subject, written by very eminent


field.

men

in this

But
opens

after all the great field of experimental investigation


itself to

the possessors of one of these coils


first

when

they

enter the realm


that
field
is,

mathematically investigated by Maxwell;

the field in

which Hertz made himself famous, the

of electric waves.

The

subject

itself is still in its

infancy

and great

results are expected

when

the laws of electromag-

netic disturbances are verified in


It is

a convincing manner.

not the easiest subject to experiment in by any means,


it is

on the other hand

the

most

difficult.
all

In order to carry out any of the experiments at


satisfactory results a large

and

get

room

free

from

all

metallic objects
is

and

electric

wiring

is

required.

good place

in the loft
It

of a large barn, provided

no better place can be had.

QO

The Tesla Coil


in a large

was

barn that the authors verified some of Hertz's


waves.

experiments on electric

In dealing with
to

electric

waves there are two disturbances

be taken into account,

the electromagnetic and the electrostatic.

There are

also
sta-

two

classes of waves, the electromagnetic

waves and the

tionary waves
ing both the
all

on

wires.

method

will

be given for obtainstationary

electromagnetic and

the

waves,
the

which

is

that can consistently be

brought within

scope of this work.

D. E. Jones has made a translation from the German


of the original papers of Heinrich Hertz, dealing with the

experiments and results which have

made

his

name famous.

The

radiator or oscillator used by Hertz consists of two

metallic plates, having attached to


in

them short rods ending

knobs a short distance apart.


secondary of the
coil.

These knobs are connected


electrodiffer-

to the

Hence, as the secondary


to

motive force accumulates, the plates are brought


ence of potential and lines of
stretch out
electrostatic

displacement

from the positive side of the

oscillator to corre-

sponding points on the negative.

We

have thus a strong

electrostatic displacement created along the lines of force.

When
breaks

the potential dilTerence reaches a certain point deair

pending on the length of the spark-gap, the

insulation

down and a

current flows from the one


It is

plate to the

other across the spark-gap.

merely the discharge of

a condenser, for the two plates on the oscillator form a condenser, with air as a dielectric.

This creates in the space

around a magnetic

flux, the direction of

which

is

everywhere

Uses of the Coil

91

normal

to the direction of the electric displacement.

The

electrostatic

energy

is

thus transformed into electrokinetic

energy.
If

the

electric

oscillation
is

is

started
off as

sufficiently

sudden

some

of the energy

thrown

a displacement wa\e.

As the

coil is continually

in operation

we have groups
trains

of

intermittent

oscillations
off

and

therefore

of

electric

waves thrown
In
this

which spread out through the

dielectric.

way

the electromagnetic waves are set

up

in the air.

In order to

have the breaking

down

of the air sufficiently

sharp to obtain the oscillations, at least three things are


necessary: the spark-ball surfaces

must be bright and


balls,

clean,

no

ultra-violet light

must

fall

on the

and the

balls

must

be a certain distance apart, best determined by experience.

The form

of resonator de\ised

by Hertz consists merely

of a nearly closed ring or rectangle of wire the ends of which

end in metallic

balls placed very close together.

The one
There

ball is adjustable

by the use of a micrometer screw.


modifications of this resonator,

have been

many

but the one

the authors found

most

satisfactory

was where a neon or

carbon dioxide Geissler tube of the spectrum variety was


connected directly across the spark-gap.
Instead of getting

a spark then the tube becomes illuminated.

By
tor,

using this resonator and the before-meintioned oscilla-

the magnitude of the electric displacements in the space

surrounding the oscillator can be


Hertz's great
air.

mapped

out.

work was

in setting

up stationary waves

in

This

is

accomplished by having a large metal plate

92
set

The Tcsla Coil


up
in the
is

room
up

to act as

a
it,

reflector.

The

coil

with
it,

its

radiator

set

in front of

at

some distance from


is

so

that the plane of the plates on the oscillator


reflector.

parallel to the

By

holding the resonator parallel to the metallic

reflector the

nodes and antinodes can be easily traced out.

The
this

size of the plates

on the radiator used by Hertz

in

experiment was i6" square.

The

resonator was a ring

of about

No. 6 copper wire, 14"

in diameter.

a^

Fig. 37.

Waves

on Wires.
the

To
used.

set

up stationary waves on wires


plates to those

same radiator

is

Two similar

on the

oscillator are gotten

Uses of

tlie

Coil

93

and mounted a short distance from the plates of the radiator.

The

plates are all parallel

and have two

parallel wires led

from them across the room as shown

in the figure.

Thus

the wires

are

electrostatically

connected

to

the

Hertz radiator and the plates rapidly alternate in potential,

and

this

applies to the ends of

the

wires

an alternating
waves of

electromotive force.
potential
light.

This

EMF

creates

electric

which

travel along the wires with the velocity of


is

If the

length of the wire


electric current

suitably adjusted, staset

tionary

waves of

and potential are

up

by the interference of the direct and reflected waves.

To
tion

try the

experiments on reflection, refraction polarizaa small oscillator

and

interference of electric waves,

consisting of
in a zinc

two brass rods ending


of parabolic

in balls

and mounted

box

form

is

required.

The

resonator

must be very
tained.

sensitive, for otherwise

no

results will

be obeither

The prisms and

lenses used are

moulded from

paraffine or pitch.

As before stated the authors

said that they

would merely

outline the experiments possible with the Tesla coil,

and

for

the detailed information the translations of Hertz's original

works must be consulted, unless the amateur has

sufficient

knowledge of German
course be far

to

read the originals, which will of

more

satisfactory.

There are several experiments which can be readily performed with


this

apparatus and which would appeal to those

having no knowledge of electric phenomena.

These experi-

ments have but

little

practical value,

the only reason for

94
citing

The Tesla Coil

them being
friend

that they

may

furnish entertainment to

some
first

who should chance

into his shop.

The

writers

saw them performed on the vaudeville stage with an


is

Oudin resonator which

far inferior to the Tesla coil.

To

begin the performance the operator should

make a

few general statements as to the voltage required to leap


different air-gaps,
2", etc.

such as 30,000 for

i",

about 55,000

for

Then show

the discharge across the 6" or 12" gap

and

let

the spectator imagine

what voltage that

represents.
intensity

After he has

become somewhat impressed with the

of the discharge, the operator can approach one of the oscillators

and allow

the spark to play

on

his bare hand.

To

do
his

this

without severe burning of the hand, he should keep


in constant

hand

motion
is

to

prevent the spark from playing


felt

on one

point.

There
is

only a very slight sensation

when

this current

traversing your

body and no

injurious
effect

effects result so
is

far as

the authors are aware.

The

best

shown

in the dark.
is

The

next experiment
the coil
is

to grasp

one

oscillator with the

hand when

in operation

and

to

have an assistant

touch the operator's bare elbow with a cotton cloth dipped


in alcohol.

The handkerchief immediately


around the

bursts in flame.
is

To

get the result without


tightly

any uncertainty the cloth


assistant's
is

wrapped
amusing

rather

hand.

An
is

modification of the same experiment

to touch the cloth to

the hair of the operator, showing that the hair


If

not ignited.

any of the audience are inclined

to

smoke, a suggestion

as to lighting cigars

on a windy night without the annoyance

Uses of the Coil


of

95

matches blowing out

will be greatly appreciated.

The

operator has merely to bring a piece of metal, such as a nail,


held in the

hand

to within h" of

one of the spark terminals

and

light the cigar

from the spark.


lit

gas flame can be

with the bare fingers by grasping

one oscillator with the bare hand and approaching the burner
with the finger of the other hand so that a spark will
the metal tip of the burner.

jump

to

The

A^riters

have made

this

more spectacular by
the tongue.

letting the

spark jump from the

tip of

In these experiments an assistant should adjust the spark-

gap so that no more current passes than


is

is

necessary.

This

to

prevent the spark from burning the operator.

To

convince

the

audience of

the

tremendous voltage

passing through the operator's body he has merely to bring

one hand up to a lighted incandescent globe, while he grasps one terminal of the
coil

with the other hand.

On

the near

approach of the hand the filament

will violently vibrate

and

then shatter, blackening the bulb and of course extinguishing


the lamp.

Lighting Geissler tubes held in the hand or even in the

mouth by approaching them


ment

to the oscillators

is

an experi-

that never fails to bring forth the applause of those

present.

Perhaps the most spectacular experiment, one which


unaccountable for by the every-day electrician
house wiring and has never been brought
high-frequency- currents
is

is

who does
touch with

in

the lighting of

an ordinary incan-

96
descent lamp with

The Tesla Coil


the

current

traversing

the

operator's

body.

Before performing this

experiment some few remarks


to bring the filament

on the quantity of current necessary


to full brightness
if

on the no- volt

circuits

should be made,

those present are ignorant of electrical matters.

They can
amount
At

thus see that the energy C. P. lamp


is is

required to light

an ordinary 16

equivalent to 55 watts,

and

that this

therefore

taken through the operator's body.


\

no

\olts this

means approximately
^^
of an

ampere, while according


is fatal

to the best authorities

ampere

to the aver-

age human.

The

reason
is

why

this

amount

of energy can be
it is

taken with impunity


to

not definitely known, but

thought

be due to the fact that the high-frequency current does

not penetrate into the interior of a solid conductor, but


follows the surface.

This

is

known

as the skin effect.

The

operator, to get the best results, should stand on an

insulated stool

and grasp one terminal

of the coil with one

hand, and approach with a piece of metal held tightly in the

hand or mouth one lead

of a lamp, the other lead of

which

has been previously grounded.


to bright red

The lamp

will

come up

and

if

an

assistant adjusts the

primary spark-

gap

to

its

best working distance, the

lamp may be brought

up

to full brightness.

Plate VI.

Discharge from

the 12" Coil.

Plate VII.

The

7" Standard Apparatus.

CHAPTER X
DIMENSIONS OF
For
those
7"

STANDARD COIL
ha\'ing

amateurs
that

who,

read

the

previous

chapters,

think

an apparatus giving a twelve-inch


their

spark

is

too large for

limited uses, this chapter has

been added.

This

coil

is

by no means

to

be thought of as a toy, for the

authors themselves used the very apparatus described in


this

chapter in carrying out their

first

experiments with the

X-ray and Geissler tubes.

Wireless messages were also

sent successfully over a distance of three miles in

wet weather.

This was the greatest available distance over which the


authors could try the
considered the
coil,

so that three miles should not be

maximum

transmitting distance.

In clear

weather messages could easily be sent a distance of about


fifty

miles, provided

your antennae

is

well insulated

from

grounds.

Because
does

this

apparatus
that

is

not as powerful as the other,


less

not

mean

any

care should be
for

taken
it

as

regards insulation
entirely

and mechanical construction,

depends

on

this

whether the

coil builder is to get

a thin, inter-

mittent spark or a fat crackling one.

The

only difference

between

this

apparatus and the larger one, besides that of


97

98
size, is in the

The Tesla Coil


construction of the transformer
trivial.
is

and condenser

and then they are only

The
built

core of the transformer


of pieces of

2f" in diameter
S.

and

is

up

No. 32 B.

&
in

gauge iron wire 13"


II.

long after the

manner described

Chapter

The same
iron

care should be taken in annealing

and insulating the

wires as

was done
is

before.

The primary

wound

in

two sections adjacent


section
is

to each

other, as seen in Fig. 38.

Each

wound towards

Fig

38.

Primary

and Core of Transpoemer of

7" Coil.

the centre, starting i" from the ends of the core, for a distance
of 5".

There are

six layers of

No. 16 B.

& S.

gauge double

cotton covered copper wire in each section.

Each

layer

is

thoroughly shellacked
are held

when put on and

the terminal wires


in

by the same method as described


two feet should be
left for

Chapter

II.

At

least

bringing out the terminals

to the binding-posts.

The secondary

is

wound

in

two sections.
is

No. 32 B.
used.

& S.
tube

gauge double cotton covered copper wire

The

Dimensions of
on which
it is

7"

Standard Coil

99

wound

has an internal diameter of 4" and the


is

thickness of the wall

^^".

It is 11"

long and

made from
are cut out

the best vulcanized fibre. of j" sheet fibre.

The bobbin heads

They

are 6" in diameter

and have a hole

4g" in diameter cut out of the centre.

Four of these are

w^ II

^^--^^^4^11 -4^
!

-^i-

->'i^
7" Coil,

Fig. 39,

Secondary Bobbin of Transformer of

required.

They
the

are slipped on the tube to the positions

shown

in

figure.

The
is

distance between

the

bobbin

heads of each section

3 J",

and

the distance between the

two sections
in the

2}/'.

The bobbin heads can be

held in place

same manner

as described in Chapter II

by cutting
it

the rings out of a very thin fibre tube, or in this case

will

be sufficient to wrap some heavy brown paper several times

around the tube between the bobbin heads.


a layer on the secondary, shellac
turn of paper.
\" of the
it

After winding
it

and wrap

with one

In

this

way

build up the secondary to within


the last layer
is

bobbin heads.

When

put on

it

loo
is

The Tesla Coil


several turns of paper

wrapped with

which

is

shellacked

in place.

This completes the construction of the transformer.


it

\A'hen finished

should be

left for

some time

in a

warm

dry

place as behind the stove, to thoroughly dry the shellac.

The

reason for this

is

that green shellac

is

fairly

good con-

ductor.

For the condenser, twenty-eight sheets of brass 6" x lo"


are required.

No. 32 or 34

soft sheet brass

is

used.

Each

sheet has a lug i^' long

and i]" wide

either cut direcdy

on

it

or soldered on in the upper corner.

Whether they

are cut directly on the sheet or are soldered on will depend

on the width
are cut
lip is

of the brass sheet used.

\Mth

12" brass they


brass.

on the sheet or soldered on with 8"

i"

bent across the top of each lug.

See Fig. 40.

Thirty

sheets of glass -^q" thick

and

7"

x 12" are required.


it

Any

sheet of glass that has an air bubble in

should be rejected

as

it

is

liable sooner or later to give

way, thus causing the


sheet of glass

reconstruction of the condenser.


clean before putting
it

Wipe each

in to the condenser.

The frame
made

is

constructed from well seasoned pine.

The
base
fas-

two sides are made


is

from J" x 12" pine 4" long.

The
is

of a piece of I" x 4" pine 8" long.

The base

tened to the sides by some flat-headed brass screws.

The

heads of the screws should be sunk flush with the wood.

On

the one side of the frame two strips J" x i" are fastened;

one at the top and the other at the bottom of the frame.
See figure.
the side

The frame

is

now

laid

on a

flat

surface with

on which the

strips

have just been fastened down.

Dimensions of

7"

S/andard Coil

lOI

t::
f^l" Sirijit

^it'^l'strik
I

I
I

>

^
.

i^Cstrl^

--3"

Fig, 40.

Plate

and Frame of Condensek.

102

The Tesla Coil


is

glass plate

placed in the frame after having been wiped


it

dry and clean so that

touches the bottom of the frame.


is

Then a

brass sheet

is

laid in so that there

i"

margin of

glass at the

bottom and a V' margin on the


fit

sides.

The

lip

should just

against the upper edge of the glass.

Without

displacing the brass sheet place a sheet of glass on top of


it.

This

is

followed with a sheet of brass, but in this case


is

the lug
to

on the brass

brought out on the opposite side


this

the previous one.

Continue

process until the 28

sheets of glass have been put in place.

Two

glass sheets

are placed on top of the last brass sheet.

Also remember

to bring the lugs from the brass sheets out on alternate sides.

Mortices should be cut in the top and bottom of the upper

ends of the sides a


last

little

deeper than the point to which the

glass sheet reaches.

These are on

to

receive two strips

of pine l" X i" similar to those

tjie

other side.

These

should be screwed
the glass.
strip

down

so that they press firmly against

piece of paper or cloth placed between the


glass will prevent the breaking of the latter.

and the

Set the condenser upright


wire,

and solder a piece

of copper
lips

which has

already been tinned, to each of the

in turn

down

the one side

and another wire

to all the lips

on the other

side.

About No. 16 bare wire

will do.

Enough

extra wire should be left to

make
is

all

necessary connections.

The
manner
for the

oscillation

transformer

constructed in the same

as the one for the 12"

coil.

The

circular supports

secondary are 6" in diameter and are turned out


Eight equidistant
slots are cut in

of i" material.

the per-

Dimensions of
iphery
long.

f'

Standard Coil

103

Y
A

square.

The

fibre strips are A"


is

square and 11"


size

rod 11" long

turned out

to the

shown

in

the

figure 41.

It is i" in

diameter and has a A" shoulder

turned on each end.


the secondary apart.

This rod holds the two supports for


If the

method

of winding the wire in

grooves

is

to be used, the thread

should be cut on the fibre

strips before

mounting them on the supports.


coil the

In the original
fibre

wire was merely

wound on

three

supports 3" wide mounted on a hexagonal end piece.


so

The wire was wound


contact
this

that no

adjacent turns were

in

and the whole was thoroughly shellacked.


of

Although

method
it

winding gave good

results while the coil

was

new,

was found after some usage that the wires became

loosened, thereby reducing the effecti\-e sparking distance.

better

way

howe\-er,

is

to use

one of the methods deis

scribed in Chapter 1\.

The

wire used

Xo. 28 B.

&

S.

gauge double cotton covered copper wire and was


18 turns to the inch.

wound

The end

pieces for the primary are cut out of h" material

and are 9" square.


dowels
used in
fit

The

diameter of the

circle in

which the

is 8".

There are twenty -four \" maple dowels


is

all.

After the secondary

wound
and

these end pieces

are screwed to the secondary frame,


in place.

the dowels slipped


all
is

The

length of the frame o^'e^

12"

The
and

primary winding consists of one and a half turns of a copper


ribbon
-i"

wide.

The

turns should be equally spaced

the ^^'inding stretch


other,

from the one end of the frame


is

to the

copper wire

soldered on to each end of

the

104

The Tesla Coil


UJ
-*IT'-|

T.OC
r

T1

o
,

1^

I-

t3

f0

DC (I

to

'
I

'^
"-

"^

U =-i
il-jt
I

'

K
(Jj

IP
-^
CO

i^;

-^J'

o
i4
is!

Ti

H
z o

ii
--./
^

g^

Dimensions of
primary band for making
strip
tiie
is

Standard Coil

105

connections.

hard rubber

i"x|", 12" long,

screwed across the top of the

completed oscillation transformer.


in
it

Two

holes are drilled

8-y apart.

Into these two bushings, similar to those


fitted.

used in the 12" coil and described in Chapter IV, are

When

the secondary terminals are soldered to


is

them

the

oscillation transformer

complete.

All the parts of the 7" coil are

mounted

in

one box.

The
is

dimensions of this box are given in Fig. 42.


built out of f" well
in

The box

seasoned oak.

All the directions given

Chapter VI apply
is

to the construction of this box.

The

cover

divided into two halves, one carrying the interrupter


oscillators.

and the other the discharge

The

connections from the interrupter to the condenser are


the hinges so that the cover

made through

may

be swung back
is

without disturbing the connections.

partition
It

put in be-

tween the transformer and the condenser.


of holes drilled in
it

has a

number
oil.
it.

to allow of the free circulation of the

Suitable handles are put at each end of the

box

for carrying

The

transformer
It
is

is

now

set

on end

in the smaller division

of the box.

held in place by two yoke-shaped,

wooden

supports fastened to the inside of the box

and

encircling the

core between the two sections of the secondary.

The primary
same

terminals are brought to four heavy binding-posts at the upper

end of the box.

They should be

soldered on in the
coil,

order as for the transformer on the large


shorting, the

that

is,

so that

two middle posts puts the sections

in series

and

shorting the two outer pairs gives a parallel connection.

roo

Tlie Tesla Coil

>

Dimensions of

7"

Standard Coil

107

The condenser and


in place,

oscillation transformer are

now put
The
sec-

the condenser being

between the two.

ondary terminals from the transformer are led


suitably bent, directly to the condenser.
the

in glass tubes,

From one

side of

condenser a wire

is

led to

an end of the primary band

on the oscillation transformer.

The remaining end

of the

copper band and the other side of the condenser are directly

connected to the two hinges of the cover carrying the interrupter.

All connections should be carefully soldered.

They

should be of about No. 20 B.


in glass tubes

& S.

gauge copper wire, enclosed


oil

and kept under the

as

much

as possible.

o
o

Fig. 43.

Wiring

Diagram.

Any one of the forms of V can be used with the coil;

interrupters described in Chapter

the coil in question being equipped

with the motor interrupter.

The

connections between the

primary spark-gap and hinges can be run in glass tubes lying


in grooves cut in the

under side of the cover.

piece of

I"

hard rubber sheet should be screwed over the grooves


is

wherever there
transformer
or

any danger

of shorting to the core of the

primary terminals.
diagram.

The

connections

are

shown

in the wiring

io8

TJic

Tcsla Coll

The

oscillators consist of

two brass

balls J" in

diameter

screwed on the end of two


to slide easily in

-^^" brass

rods 7" long, which are

two holes

drilled \"
fibre

from the top of the


the rod.

standards, through both the

and

set

screw

at the top of each standard will be of convenience in clamping the rods in any desired position.

The standards

are constructed as follows.

Two

fibre or

hard rubber bushings 2" in diameter and iV'


having a flange \" thick and 2^"
in

in length

and

diameter turned on one

end are

set in

two holes cut in the cover directly abo^e the

holes in the brass bushings

on the

oscillation transformer.

A I" hole
diameter
tightly.

is

drilled

through the centre of each bushing.

Two
rods
fibre

f " brass rods 8" long are enclosed in fibre tubes f " in outside

and

7 V'

long.

The

tubes

should

fit

the

The ends

of the brass rods project

from the

and should be

slightly

tapered to

fit

the bushings

on the

oscillation transformer.

In order that the discharge gap


the coil
is

may

be adjusted while

in operation,

two

^'ulcanite

handles I" in diameter

are screwed
for

on the ends of the

rods, carrying the oscillators,

about

i\".

The

standards are

now

slid

through the bushings in the

cover until they

make good

contact with the bushings on

the oscillation transformer.

When

the coil
it

is

now connected
break forth
in

up

to the alternating current

mains,

will

a beautiful 7" discharge.


If

everything
in the

is

not as

it

ought
in

to be, the trouble

may

be

found

manner described

Chapter VII.

Dimensions of 7" Standard Coil


7

log

i f

m$$^^^
\-

Oscillator **

%5tandar.i>

7 Coil

s"

hrasfi

rod

BUSHINQ
FiG, 44,

Foil

7 COIL
7"

Oscillators

and Standards for

Apparatus.

APPENDIX
For
those of our readers

who have

limited

means

at their

disposal,

and who

desire to carry

on some of the many experithis

ments possible with high-tension currents,


has been added.

Appendix
cities,

Besides

many

are not situated in


is

where an alternating-current lighting supply


but

available,

who

possess an ordinary induction

coil,

giving a two or

three inch spark,

which they

may

substitute for the transarticle.

former to be described in the present

This

coil

is
it

not
is

oil

immersed, hence no boxes

will

be

required, as

simply mounted on a base in a place free

from dust and moisture.


regarding insulation

A large

amount

of the precautions

and other things can be dispensed with,

thereby reducing the cost of the materials to within the reach


of

almost every one.

While speaking of

cost, let

us state

that to purchase a coil giving a 12" spark from the regular

dealers
coil in

would mean an outlay


a single box
is

of about

$300, while the 7"


cost of construc-

worth S165.

The

tion

by the amateur, not considering

his time,

should not

exceed S50 for the 12" coil

and $25

for the 7" coil.


3''

This piece of apparatus giving about a


not exceed Sio to build at home.
It
is

spark should

large

enough

for

most of the experiments on Roentgen and Geisler tubes and


for wireless

work

o\-er short distances.

112

The Tesla Coil


include
the

The above sums

simple

interrupter.

The

others will bring the price up in proportion.

The

high-frequency

coil is

made

as follows:

Cut out two

end pieces of i" wood lo" square and describe on each one two concentric
respectively.
circles,

having diameters of 9 and

inches

On

these circles bore a

number

of \" holes i"


mill

apart as in the figure.

Next procure from a planing

about twenty

Y dowels.

These are made of hard wood and


into 12" lengths

come 36"

long.

Cut each dowel

and

fit

one

in each of the holes on the smaller circle of one of the boards.

When
empty

they are

all in

place the other board

is

put on the
is

other end of the dowels.


until the

The
is

outer circle of holes

left

secondary

wound.

The
B.

secondary winding consists of one layer of No. 32

& S.

gauge double cotton covered copper wire.

Begin the

winding about

from the ends.

Shellac the wire with

several coats of the best orange shellac


finished.

when

the winding

is

The dowels
ing

for the

primary are next put in place by pushIf they


fit

them through the holes from one end.

too

tightly the holes

may be reamed
wound on

out.

Next

six turns of

No.

18 bare wire are

the outer dowels, each turn being


it.

over an inch from the one next to

The whole

coil is

then mounted on a base.

The ends

of

the primary are connected to two binding-posts

mounted on a

piece of hard rubber.

Two

oscillators

with standards are

provided for the terminals of the secondary.


pletes the high-tension coil.

This com-

A ppendix

"3

^-

^--

114

'^^'^

Tesla Coil

The condenser

consists of fifteen sheets of


foil

window

glass

lo" X 12", with a piece of tin


of glass. follows:

8" x 10" between each sheet


is
it

The method
Lay a
While

of arranging this condenser

as a

glass plate

on a smooth

table

and

gi\e

coat of shellac.

still

wet place a sheet of


all

tin foil

on
one

top of

it,

leaving an inch margin of glass


foil

around.

On

corner lay a strip of tin


glass.

projecting an inch beyond the

On

top of this lay a second sheet of glass and another


foil,

sheet of tin

only the strip in this case


side.

is

brought out

on the opposite

Continue

this until the fifteen sheets


foil,

of glass are used up.

This

will give seven sheets of tin

with the strips coming out on the one side and seven projecting

on the other

side.

The

strips

may

be fused together

with a hot iron and a copper wire soldered on.

The whole
and
is

condenser
best

is

bound together with


in

insulating tape

mounted

a box.

This completes the condenser.


1 00-110

The

transformer for use with the


is

or 50-55 volt

alternating-current circuits
to construjt.
It
is

the next piece of apparatus

essentially the

same as the two

trans-

formers already described.


of

The

core consists of a bundle

No. 20-22 iron

wires, well annealed.


after the

The

diameter
in

is

lY and when
II
in
is

formed

method described

Chapter

wrapped with

insulating tape.

The primary
See Fig.
i

is

wound
method

two sections one above the other.

for the

of fastening the layers.

Each

section consists of one layer of

No. 16 B.

& S.

gauge double cotton covered copper wire.


is

After the primary

wound wrap on
is

several layers of paper


built

well shellacked until the diameter

up

to 2}".

Appendix

"5

ii6

The Tesla Coil


of
S.

The secondary winding


two
sections of

this

transformer consists of

No. 32 B.

&

gauge double cotton covered

copper wire.

First

saw out

of \" stock four circular pieces


2 J" hole in the centre.

of wood, 4" in diameter

and having a

Slip these on the primary to the positions

shown

in the figure.

The two end

ones are |" from the ends of the core and the

middle ones are \" apart.

Wind
formed
layer

the wire of the secondary


until the

on the two spools Thoroughly

just

diameter

is

3J".

shellac each
next.

and wrap a piece


coil is

of paper

on before beginning the

The whole
If the

mounted on a

suitable base, the primary

terminals being connected to binding-posts.

transformer

is

to

be operated on the loo-iio

volt in

current, the
series.
If,

two sections of the primary are connected


it

on the other hand,

is

to

be u^ed on the 50-55


It
is

volt current the sections are joined in parallel.

well,

however, in either case to bring the primary terminals out


to

four separate binding-posts.

Then
either

the desired connecseries

tions

may

be readily
certain,

made

for

or parallel.

Always be

though, that the current will traverse

the windings in the

same

direction.

In order

to set

up the high

oscillations

we must

introduce

a spark-gap in series with the secondary of the transformer

and the high-tension


primary spark-gap
is

coil.

The method

of

making

this

given as follows: Procure two pieces


Drill'

of vulcanized fibre rod |" in diameter 4 inches long.

a j" hole in each V' from one end.

Next bore two

-|"

holes

6" apart in the base of the transformer as

shown

in Fig. 47.


Appendix
117

Drive the fibre supports into these holes with the holes in the
fibre in line.

The spark-gap
fibre

is

made

of

two }" brass rods 6" long with

tube

2''

long slipped over the end to act as an insu-

lating handle.

One

lead of the secondary of the transformer

goes directiy to one rod, the other goes to the primary of the

high-tension

coil.
is

The

return wire from the primary of the

high-tension coil

soldered to the other side of the spark-gap.


the condenser
is

The diagram shows how

connected and also

the connections just described.

^H

^--

1-

--^

i
Fig. 47.

Prim-^ry Spakk-g.\p.

There
care

is

no interrupter used with


is

this

apparatus so that

must be taken that the spark

long enough to prevent

arcing.

Those possessing a suitable induction


to substitute this for

coil

and who wish

the transformer

and primarj' spark-gap


Disconnect one

may do

so

by changing one connection.

terminal of the secondary from the discharger


the

and connect

secondary terminal to a binding-post suitably insulated

by hard rubber.

One

terminal of the primary of the high-

ii8
tension coil
is

The Tesla Coil


connected to the spark-gap instead of the seccoil.

ondary of the induction


tension coils primary

The

other terminal of the high-

is

connected to the new binding-post.

A glance at the figure will make this plain and also the method

Fig. 48.*-^

WriUNG Diagram.

Fig. 49.

Wiring

Diagram.

of connecting

up the condenser.

When making
it is

connections

between the various parts of the apparatus


the wires in glass tubes

well to enclose

and

to

keep them back out of the way.


is

The

operator will soon find that ordinary insulation

of

Appendix
no value whatever
in dealing

119

with these high-tension currents,

so that all terminals

must be kept apart a distance greater


If this

than that of the high-tenson discharge gap.


caution
is

pre-

not observed you will have some very beautiful


all

brush discharges
close proximity.

along the conductors that are in too