Usually, the most dangerous thing about performing with a musical instrument is the chance that a guitar string will stick you in the eye or, more likely, your bandmate will accidentally smash you in the face with a headstock. However there is one instrument that’s inherently incredibly dangerous and it’s called The Tesla Coil.
The Tesla Coil was invented by Nikola Tesla in the late 19th century and features enough electric current to stop the heart of someone using it. Although this electrical resonant transformer was originally designed to produce electricity, the coils can also be used to create music via the high-voltage sparks they create. If you don’t believe us, you can see and hear below as two coils perform—maybe somewhat predictably—the theme to Super Mario Brothers.
Your best bet is building your own and one site we found with instructions on how to do that it warned, “Unlike some other high voltage experiments, a Tesla coil’s streamers can be very harmful. If you are shocked by the streamers, you will not feel pain, but your circulatory and nervous system can sustain severe damage. DO NOT TOUCH IT WHILE ON UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.”
Yikes. The good news is that, like making meth, it isn’t terribly expensive to construct a medium-sized version of the coil using household products if you’re scientifically savvy and adventurous. Just be aware of the dangers of the coils as well as the defining volume of the noise they can produce. All of that aside, we can’t think of anything heavier than playing a metal song via Tesla Coils; just check out this cover of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” by ArcAttack if you don’t believe us.
Tesla’s design for Wardenclyffe grew out of his experiments beginning in the early 1890s. His primary goal in these experiments was to develop a new wireless power transmission system. He discarded the idea of using the newly discovered Hertzian (radio) waves, detected in 1888 by German physicist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz since Tesla doubted they existed and basic physics told him, and most other scientists from that period, that they would only travel in straight lines the way visible light did, meaning they would travel straight out into space becoming “hopelessly lost”. In laboratory work and later large scale experiments at Colorado Springs in 1899, Tesla developed his own ideas on how a worldwide wireless system would work. He theorized from these experiments that if he injected electric current into the Earth at just the right frequency he could harness what he believed was the planet’s own electrical charge and cause it to resonate at a frequency that would be amplified in “standing waves” that could be tapped anywhere on the planet to run devices or, through modulation, carry a signal. His system was based more on 19th century ideas of electrical conduction and telegraphy instead of the newer theories of air-borne electromagnetic waves, with an electrical charge being conducted through the ground and being returned through the air. Tesla’s design used a concept of a charged conductive upper layer in the atmosphere, a theory dating back to an 1872 idea for a proposed wireless power system by Mahlon Loomis. Tesla not only believed that he could use this layer as his return path in his electrical conduction system, but that the power flowing through it would make it glow, providing night time lighting for cities and shipping lanes.
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