Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/70

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62
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

every part of such a wire when a spark jumps between the terminals S of the coil. All that is necessary to do is to pass the wire through a sensitive film and to develop the film. The accompanying photograph (Fig. 3) was taken at the top of such a wire, by means of a very powerful apparatus at my command.

PSM V56 D0070 Diagram of the receiver circuit.png
Fig. 2a represents a more complete electrical arrangement of the receiver circuit. The vertical wire, W’, is connected to one wire of the coherer, L. The other wire of the coherer is led to the ground, G. The wires in the coherer, L, are separated by fine metallic particles. B represents a battery. E, an eiectro-magnet which attracts a piece of iron, A (armature), and closes a local battery, B, causing a click of the sounder (electro-magnet), S. The magnetic waves (Fig. 5) embracing the wire, W’, cause a pulsation in this wire which produces an electrical disturbance in the coherer analogous to that shown in Fig. 3, by means of which an electrical current is enabled to pass through the electro-magnet, E.

When the photograph is examined with a microscope the arborescent electric lines radiating from the wire, like the rays of light from a star, exhibit a beautiful fernlike structure. These lines, however, are not chiefly instrumental in transmitting the electric pulse across space.

There are other lines, called magnetic lines of force, which emanate from every portion of the vertical wire W just as ripples spread out on the surface of placid water when it is disturbed by the fall of a stone. These magnetic ripples travel in the ether of space, and when they embrace a neighboring wire or coil produce similar ripples, which whirl about the distant wire and produce in some strange way an electrical current in the wire. These magnetic pulsations can travel great distances.

In the photographs of these magnetic whirls, Fig. 4 is the whirl produced in the circuit C’ by the battery B (Fig. 2), while Fig. 5 is that produced by electrical sympathy, or as it is called induction, in a neighboring wire. These photographs were obtained by passing the circuits through the sensitive films, perpendicularly to the latter, and then sprinkling very fine iron filings on these surfaces and exposing them to the light. In order to obtain these photographs a very powerful electrical current excited the coil C (Fig. 2), and the neighboring circuit W’ (Fig. 5) was placed very near the circuit W.

When the receiving wire is at the distance of several miles from the sending wire it is impossible to detect by the above method the magnetic ripples or whirls. We can, however, detect the electrical currents which these magnetic lines of force cause in the receiving wire; and this leads me to speak of the discovery