One of the most remarkable things in electricity is the action of induction - that property of an electric current which enables it to pass from one conductor to another conductor through the air. Another singular and interesting thing is that the current so transmitted across spaces changes its direction of flow, and, furthermore, the tension of such a current may be changed by transmitting it from one conductor to another.
In order to effect this latter change - that is, to convert it from a low tension to a high tension - coils are used, one coil being wound upon the other; one of these coils is called the primary and the other the secondary. The primary coil receives the current from the battery, or source of electrical power, and the secondary coil receives charges, and transmits the current.
For an illustration of this examine Fig. 70, in which you will note a coil of heavy wire (A), around which is wound a coil of fine wire (B). If, for instance, the primary coil has a low voltage, the secondary coil will have a high voltage, or tension. Advantage is taken of this phase to use a few cells, as a primary battery, and then, by a set of Induction Coils, as they are called, to build up a high-tension electro-motive force, so that the spark will jump across a gap, as shown at C, for the purpose of igniting the charges of gas in a gasoline motor; or the current may be used for medical batteries, and for other purposes.Fig. 70. Induction Coil and Circuit
The current passes, by induction, from the primary to the secondary coil. It passes from a large conductor to a small conductor, the small conductor having a much greater resistance than the large one.
While electricity has no resiliency, like a spring, for instance, still it acts in the manner of a cushion under certain conditions. It may be likened to an oscillating spring acted upon by a bar
Referring to Fig. 71, we will assume that the bar A in falling down upon the spring B compresses the latter, so that at the time of greatest compression the bar goes down as far as the dotted line C. It is obvious that the spring B will throw the bar upwardly. Now, electricity appears to have a kind of elasticity, which characteristic is taken advantage of in order to increase the efficiency of the induction in the coil.Fig. 71. Illustrating Elasticity
To make a condenser, prepare two pine boards like A, say, eight by ten inches and a half inch thick, and shellac thoroughly on all sides. Then prepare sheets of tinfoil (B), six by eight inches in size, and also sheets of paraffined paper (C), seven by nine inches in dimensions. Also cut out from the waste pieces of tinfoil strips (D), one inch by two inches. To build up the condenser, lay down a sheet of paraffined paper (C), then a sheet of tinfoil (B), and before putting on the next sheet of paraffined paper lay down one of the small strips (D) of tinfoil, as shown in the illustration, so that its end projects over one end of the board A; then on the second sheet of paraffine paper lay another sheet of tinfoil, and on this, at the opposite end, place one of the small strips (D), and so on, using from 50 to 100 of the tinfoil sheets. When the last paraffine sheet is laid on, the other board is placed on top, and the whole bound together, either by wrapping cords around the same or by clamping them together with bolts.Fig. 72. Condenser
You may now make a hole through the projecting ends of the strips, and you will have two sets of tinfoil sheets, alternately connected together at opposite ends of the condenser.
Care should be exercised to leave the paraffine sheets perfect or without holes. You can make these sheets yourself by soaking them in melted paraffine wax.