Wimshurst Machine

Joseph Bento joseph at kirtland.com
Sat Oct 2 22:55:31 CDT 2010

My interest in electrostatic machines has been renewed.  I bought a Wimshurst machine off of Ebay today with 240mm discs.  Supposably, this can create sparks around 60mm.  What fun!  Of course after the initial novelty wears off, I'll have to modify the Leyden jars!  Now I anxiously await arrival!

So where did the mad scientist interest come from?  I've had a couple books on electrostatics in my library for years.  Building a machine has always been one of those round tuit projects, though it never happened.  

During my stay in Chicago for iDEN Motorola training, I visited the Science and Industry Museum.  I had been through the museum previously some 25 years or so ago,  so everything was new again.  I had forgotten that they have on display one of Mr Wimshurst's actual machines from 1885!  Unfortunately, it is not operational today, though I do recall it was working during my visit years past.

I'm trying to gather information through web sources as to the dangers of operating static machines anywhere in the vicinity of modern electronics.  A nice, clear desk with all electronic items removed would probably be the safest bet.

Now... as for that iDEN training... my newfound knowledge has been put to immediate use as I accompany a Motorola engineer to each of our mountaintop sites to commission our new iDEN transmitters.  Best of all, I've been able to perform all the tests with the Motorola engineer just observing me to see the tests were correctly performed.

Joe, N6DGY

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