Tesla's Electric Oscillator

Sunday, September 13, 1896
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The New York Tribune September 13. 1896 TESLA’S ELECTRIC OSCILLATOR. IMPROVED APPARATUS FOR EXCITING WAVES OF IIIGH FREQUENCY. It ls now four or flve years’ slnce Nlkoln Tesla startled the electrlclons of tho world by ullowlng a current of 900.000 volts to pass through hls body. And ll. was nearly or qulte as long ago that he pro- duced s bemutlful effulgence ln a sealed glass tube by electrlcal means. yet wlthout counectlng the tube wlth s wlm These and ether wonderful schleve- ments of that emlnent lnvestlgator have been the outgrowth of hls study of "hlgh frequency" and "hlgh poten'tlsl" currents. In fact. hls most bril- llant and olriglnal experlments for several years have been conducted ln thls, hls favorlte. depart- ment of research, and he has contrlbuted greatly to the general stock of knowledge on this subject. Every schoolboy, nowadays, knows the dlfference between s direct and sn alternating current; and the prsctfcal electrlclsn, lf‘not the schoolboy, ts aware that an slternatlng current may have osclllatlons of almost any frequency. The waves may number only twenty-nve to the second, ss ln the great Nl~ sgora dynamos, or they may occur several thousand llmes ss frequently. It ‘ls only the low-frequency current that ls used commerclully at present; but Hr. 'reels has repcstcdly expressed hls bellef that prsctlcsl results of great lmportsnce ought to be developed out of the use of hlgh~frequeney currents. Few readers of The Tribune need to be rsmlndsd of the difference between the volume and the pres- sure or potentlsl of an electric current. Thu one ls expressed 'ln "smperes,"' and the ‘other ln "volts." When, for any reason, you transform a current so as to ralss the voltage, you correspond- ingly reduce the-smpersgs. You cannot by any such operation lnoresss the total energy, which ls calculated by 'multiplying the number of volts by the number of srnperes. Reference is hers made to these elementary prln- olples of slsetrlcslsclenoe ln order td render more lntelllllble the snnouneementthst' Mr."l‘esls has nearly perfected s new piece of I-Dvsratus, whlsh ts designed to transform both the frequency and the potentlal of sn sllsrnatlng current. and do so very economlcslly. It frequently happens that plonsers ln sclentlflc lnvestlgatlon flnd lt necessary to make a speclal tool before they can manufacture the sr- tlcls they have ln vlsw. Perhaps that tool ls s new mathematlcsl formula or a novel ehemlcal process, or s hlt of elcctrlcsl apparatus. In any case. lt ls s mesns to an end. This latest lnventlon. or lm- provemont on old devlces, wlth whlch Hr. Tesla ls to be credited. ls to be renrded ln tllevssme llsht. Hls nel ls the production of chesp. eold light In vsouum tubes; Rnd tha new lnslrument ls deslgned to help htm s d others ln sttslnlng that oh set. Mr. Tesla hu lmltstars, sud there sre people su- dsolous enough to thfnk of themselves ss hls rlvs`ls. But, after sll, the great number and broad scope of hls sxperlments and their _oharsotlr place htm dll- tlnctly st the front ln Lhls msgnlflosnt lsld of ln- qulry. The publle grows lmpstlent at tlmes be- °‘$‘-? lT&;`l7’é%»i'f».w°" "Z§2{‘%1§{‘£‘.T3!.3"€»’3'{.°'-P’»‘2 inns-mmnfremnm so u :ni nnéum sf genlun to take lts own tlme and work ln lls own wav. Alresdy Mr. Tesla has glven to sclence many useful hlnts and suggestlunn as to the arrangement of well-known pteces of apparatus ln electrlcal work. Hls famous "dlsruptlve dlscharge coll," ds~ signed to exclte subordinate waves of enormous frequency (mllllnns to the second) ln an electrlc clr- cult, may be olted by way of illustration. The ln- stancs also serves to show that thmnew apparatus ls not the tlrst of lts klnd whlch he has orlglnated for the same purpose. As yet Mr. Tesla sues not wsnt to furnlsh gh-tulle regsrdlng hls latest sd- vance ln thls dtrectlon. But lt seems probable that lt wlll replace the costlyflnductlon calls" now ex- tenslvely used ln much laboratory work. Buch colls costs hundreds, even thousands. of dollars. In Hllntgen-ray photsgraphy, as well as the produc- tlon of “the llghl ol the future," the new tlpparatus ls llkely to prove exceedlngly useful. The author of lt cslls lt nn "e|1~ctrlt‘alosclllntor,” but is careful to expialn that lt ls n very different sort of a con- trlvanco from hls well~known "mechanical oscll- lalor," which exerclscs the Puncflons of a steam en- glne and a dynamo combined.