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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/68

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across the space which separates the coils. Doubtless if man knew all the capabilities of this simple apparatus he might talk to China, or receive messages from the antipodes. He now, by means of it, analyzes the light of distant suns, and produces the singular X

PSM V56 D0068 Wireless telegraphy experimental components.png
Fig. 1.—Disposition of batteries and coils at the sending station, showing the arrangement of the vertical wire and the spark gap.

rays which enable him to see through the human body. By means of it he already communicates his thoughts between stations thousands of miles apart, and by means of its manifestations I hope to make this article on Wireless telegraphy intelligible. My essay can be considered a panegyric of this buried form—a history of its new life and of its unbounded possibilities.

For convenience, one of the coils of the transformer is placed inside the other, and the combination is called a Ruhmkorf coil. It is represented in the accompanying photograph (Fig. 1), with batteries attached to the inner coil, while the outer coil is connected to two balls, between which an electric spark jumps whenever the battery circuit is broken. In fact, any disturbance in the battery circuit—a weakening, a strengthening, or a break—provided that the changes are sudden, produces a corresponding change in the neighboring circuit. One coil thus responds to the other, in some mysterious way, across the interval of air which separates them. Usually the coils are placed very near to each other—in fact, one embraces the other, as shown in the photograph.

The coils, however, if placed several miles apart, will still re-