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High Frequency Currents and Apparata


AT Fig. 7 is shown how a 16-cp. 110- volt incandescent lamp may be lighted through the body by a high frequency coil. A piece of copper wire is firmly held in the mouth for this somewhat startling experiment and it is also joined to one terminal of the incandescent lamp. A second wire is connected from the other terminal of the lamp to the high frequency transformer.

When the proper adjustments have been made on the high frequency set it will be found possible to bring the lamp up to full brilliancy. The Oudin connections are invariably employed for this class of experiments where lamps are lighted, sparks allowed to jump to the hand, etc. A word of caution should be mentioned here, as these high frequency sparks will burn considerably when allowed to jump directly to the skin. In any case, a piece of metal should be held in the hand. No severe shock is experienced in the passage of such high frequency currents through the body as long as they are properly handled by allowing the spark to enter the body through a metal electrode, as stated, and providing the frequency is high enough. Experiments have been conducted where half a million volts were passed through a man's body with several amperes of current.

Even with a small high frequency set, lighting a 32-cp., 110-volt lamp, then one ampere of current is passing through the body. With this current, as indicated on a hotwire ammeter (and which also has the effective current value of one ampere), it is quite possible that it may have an instantaneous maximum value of as much as 160 to 170 amperes. This is due to the very rapid discharge of the condensers in the circuit, and if large enough electrodes are used on the skin no burning effect will be felt.

Rather spectacular high frequency discharge effects are portrayed at 8 and 9. These are usually produced by using an Oudin transformer giving a powerful unipolar discharge at high frequency and ultra-high potential. In the experiment at Fig. 9 a metal piece is held in the hand and a flame discharge from same leaps forth into space. The body of the man is here charged at very high voltage by connecting the high frequency terminal of the Oudin transformer to his ankles through a couple of metal ankle straps. He is best seated on a glass platform for this experiment, and all of the adjustments in the high frequency transformer circuit must be very carefully made in order to produce these fine effects, and the inductance of the primary exciting transformer is very important.

It is quite advisable, and in fact imperative in some experiments of this nature, to use an adjustable impedance coil in the primary of the exciting step-up transformer, so as to be able to tune it properly with respect to the high frequency circuit. The wonderful effect produced at Fig. 8 is also an Oudin coil phenomenon, and a very tine spray is seen to branch out all around the top of the high frequency coil. This effect is truly marvelous and can only be fully appreciated when observed at first hand. No photograph, and especially a half-tone as here printed, can do justice to the weird and awe-inspiring effect produced in this way. In this experiment a person can approach carefully the highly charged Oudin coil and part of the spray will discharge through the head without any appreciable shock as long as the person does not come too close.

In the electro-therapeutical application of high frequency currents by the medical profession there is often employed a large wire cage of sufficient size to enclose the subject's body as Fig. 10 shows. The high frequency current from an Oudin or Tesla machine is passed through this large helix and powerful currents are induced in the subject's body, and in this way are produced valuable results of an electro-therapeutical nature for various kinds of ailments and diseases. This method is one of the best known to medical science for the treatment of arteriosclerosis, or as it is commonly termed, "hardening of the arteries." Dr. D'Arsonval, the noted French scientist, has made numerous measurements in this direction and has proved by tests on different male and female patients that, after a few treatments of this kind, the blood pressure can be reduced quite markedly, and in most cases permanent lowering of arterial blood pressure is effected.

This large solenoid arrangement can be used to produce spectacular high frequency stunts and experiments, a common one being to let the person inside of the wire cage hold a Geissler tube in his hands so that the current produced in the body will pass through the tube from one hand to the other, lighting up same in a spectacular manner. If the cage is made sufficiently large, two or more persons may stand within same and Geissler tubes placed in their hands so as to complete the circuit from one body, through a Geissler tube, to the next body, etc., giving a very interesting effect for stage and lecture purposes.

Many other remarkable and interesting experiments with high frequency currents will be found described in the series of many excellent books listed at the end of this discourse. It can also be said that we of to-day know very little about these high frequency currents and their possibilities.

Nikola Tesla has done more in this direction than any other person, as can be readily judged from the fact that over 15 years ago he successfully produced sparks 100 feet long resembling in volume and sound the lightning discharges we have all seen in nature (not imitation ones). It is hoped that this article may serve to kindle the spirit of research along these lines in the young experimenter's mind, and he surely will be amply rewarded for any discoveries he may make in this little-understood branch of electrical science, which bids fair to unlock the door to a future electrical era of which our generation has no reasonable conception at this time.

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