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Re: uses for a Tesla Coil?
Original poster: "Ed Phillips by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>" <evp-at-pacbell-dot-net>
Tesla list wrote:
> Original poster: "Ed Phillips by way of Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-qwest-dot-net>"
> I have used a TC very successfully for powering an old-fashioned "soft"
> (gas filled) X-ray tube. Somewhere I have a reprint of a 1917 magazine
> article on X-ray tubes which includes a drawing of a double-anode tube
> intended specifically for excitation with a Tesla coil. As for other
> applications, the only one I can think of is for high-voltage breakdown
I found the X-ray tube description. It's on page 308 of the September,
1917 issue of Gernsbach's "THE ELECTRICAL EXPERIMENTER". Mentions that
while most commercial systems use "high-voltage transformers"
(presumably power line fed), but the use of "high-frequency machines
made for physician's use" is more convenient for the small office.
Those machines were usually Tesla coils, and there are a number of
interesting pictures of same to be found on some of the history and
museum pages which you can find on the internet. The article was
written by "Dr. FREDERICK FINCH STRONG, Lecturer on
Electro-therapeutics, Tufts Medical College, Boston." Dr. Strong was
one of a number of advocates of medical treatments using Tesla coils and
similar devices for "autocondensation"; cures were report from
everything from "nervousness" to impotence to insanity and other
things. Tufts [University] is a venerable institution going back to
1857, but don't know whether Dr.Strong was really on the faculty there
or whether the school advocated such miraculous claims.
For more practial applications, look at the little book "HIGH FREQUENCY
APPARATUS" by Thomas Curtis. It includes descriptions of how to make
several coils, and describes a well-equipped physicians office, which
had a"One-Kilowatt Outfit mounted on a table"; used a rotary gap. Also
an "Oil-Immersed Oscillation Transformer for X-Ray Work". It then goes
on to explain their use for such things as "increasing the blood flow to
the part under treatment", to increase arterial tension with a vacuum
tube passed up and down the spine; producing "a general tonic effect on
the system". (Not to be done when arteriosclerosis is present!)
"Auto-condensation" is used reduce blood pressure. Other uses include
treatment of "alopecia (?) and other diseases of the scalp", and cure of
baldness. Among other things he then describes "PLANT CULTURE WITH HIGH
TENSION CURRENT", and "CONSTRUCTION OF ELECTRICAL APPARATUS FOR THE
STAGE", and "LARGE TESLA AND OUDIN COILS FOR THE STAGE" (includes a
description of a "Tesla Transformer for the Production of a Fifty-Inch
Spark), and "HINTS FOR THE ELECTRICAL ENTERTAINER". One item which
would be of interest to some of the gang here is a discussion of how to
build a "Four-Kilowatt Magnetic Leakage Instrument" from scratch,
including the core and" forms for winding the primary and secondary, an
"Oscillation Condenser, and a rotary spark gap. He includes a chapter on
the construction of a welding transformer which, though
scarce ly a high frequency
apparatus, will be "a valuable addition to the high potential offering
on the stage". He mentions drawing arcs to the skin, (should never be
done near the eyes!), and to be careful about burns where the arc
touches the skin "for more than a few seconds".. Neat little book,
mixture of practical and humorous. Harry Goldman had reprints of this
for sale during the 80's and that's when I got my copy.
As a final note, Tesla wrote on the use of high frequencies for medical
work, and the Proceedings of the IEEE recently reprinted an article of
his on that subject. Can't that issue right now, but recall if as being
quite interesting and practical, at least insofar as the apparatus was
Enough on the subject of uses for a TC. Certainly the use for exciting
X-ray tubes and entertainment are still as applicable as when they were
first practiced, the latter being the use which most of us make.