Being Shocked by the Tesla Coil

Did you know we have a Tesla Coil within our museum? This electrifying machine has been inside the building since we first started Spooky Science in 2013. The Tesla Coil is shockingly cool and LOUD. So loud in fact, you may be asked to cover your ears. Hearing loss aside, it’s a pretty cool machine.

What’s so cool about a Tesla Coil you ask? Well, that takes us to the beginning. The Tesla Coil is named after Nikola Tesla—an inventor and engineer. Tesla is known for a lot of inventions including AC power. That’s right! He even worked alongside Thomas Edison. So in a nutshell, he’s a pretty rad dude. So rad in fact, that he had a vision to supply power to the world without wires and cables (we can still thank him today for that invention). The Tesla Coil harkens back to Mr. Tesla’s “mad scientist” faze when he conducted ground-breaking experiments with electricity. Imagine it—a gentleman in his mid-30s in a white lab coat, black gloves, goggles and a wicked laugh.

The Tesla Coil was a truly revolutionary invention. First used with radio antennas and telegraphy, but really become known for its cool side effects like shooting out lightning bolts and creating electric winds. Producing over 500,000 volts, this invention is for a true mad scientists.

Now I can go all super sciency on you and into deep detail about how this thing works, but let’s keep things simple – it’s much cooler this way. Let’s talk about two things: current and voltage. Image that current is like water and voltage is like a hill. Are you still with me? Imagine a steep hill with a stream of electrons (aka water) then consider that a high voltage. If you have a flat plain with no water flow then that’s a small voltage. So in other words, the steeper the hill the more electrifying it will be. The Tesla Coil creates the same effect for current flow as a steep hill does for water.

Did you get that? Great! If not, look at this awesome picture below.

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So you’re all read up on Tesla Coils, now it’s time to come see one. You can see our demonstrations,

M-Th: Various times 10:00am-3:30pm (ask staff); 4:45pm

F: Various times 10am-3:30pm (ask staff); 4:45pm, 7:00pm, 9:45pm

S-S: 11:00am, 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:45pm

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Find Your Inner Mad Scientist. 

Ask questions. Be curious. We’ll have things to do! This is a museum where you touch the exhibits.