The Wehnelt Current Interrupter

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IN reference to the Wehnelt current interrupter—in 1874 I used a similar interrupter on a coil with fifty Groves' cells. The idea was not even then new, for although my experiment was due to accidental short-circuiting of electrodes during electrolytic experiments, which led to my final application of the so-called interrupter as a resistance to current, and then as a rapid make-and-break, I found that some of the old masters of electrics had evidently used it before. Since November 1896, I have always endeavoured in using a Jackson tube to condition the tube by heating, when connected with coil, so that the make-and-break of coil shows infinitesimal sparking and works with such rapid vibrations that a musical note is produced, the pitch varying as the position of the flame heating the tube is altered. Shadow graphs can then be obtained of the human trunk from thirty-five seconds upwards, and the results on English fluorescent screens are almost perfect. This has all been mentioned in my lectures at the Royal Artillery Institute, &c., the first being at the end of October 1896.

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WEBSTER, W. The Wehnelt Current Interrupter. Nature 59, 510 (1899) doi:10.1038/059510b0

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