Fun with Electricity
By Tom Ivo
In 1955, I bought a "T" coil from Pep Boys auto parts, right over the counter. How about that? It was a wood box around a coil and would throw out a spark about an inch long. Not a electrocution, but close. I mounted it on the car, with the "ground wire" running to the metal on my car. Then I had the positive (or hot) wire on a little string; I could pick up and lower down from inside my car to let the wire lay on the ground (street) when I wasn't moving. I would drive up behind one of my friends' cars parked at the curb, touch bumpers, turn on the coil, and hide myself by laying down on the front seat of my car.
When they walked up to get in their car, the electricity would run into the street and be stopped from going back into either car by being insulated from completing the current flow by the rubber tires on the cars. They, of course, would complete the circuit with their body when they touched their car. They would get one heck of a shock with the juice running through them from their leather soled feet to their hand touching the metal door handle. They would invariably keep shocking and shocking them selves trying to figure out "what the hey?" You can see where it would be a tough one to figure out why your car was trying to electrocute you!
Better yet was when we used to work on the cars in the garage. My friends would go just outside the garage door and empty their bladders and it got to stinking like an outhouse out there. So I told them to go back somewhere in the back yard and take care of things. This usually happened late at night when I didn't want to wake up everyone in the house by having people tromping though the house to use the bathroom. Of course, they wouldn't listen to me half the time and just kept going just outside the door.
Soooooooooo, I took out my trusty "T" coil again. I put the Hot wire on the ground, and hooked the "ground wire" up to a piece of chicken wire held off the surface by wooden sticks to insulate the chicken wire from the ground. When they would start watering the flowers, they would complete the circuit through their leather-soled shoes. A spark came out their of their body in a place you wouldn't want to have a one inch spark hit you, as the electricity ran up the water stream. And their muscle reaction to the electricity wouldn't let them turn it off! This required them to spin around, spraying their hands, fly, and anything else in close proximity! THAT STOPPED THE PROBLEM OF WHERE THEY SHOULD GO.
Of course, when I got a magneto in my car there was more fun. I'm sure everyone who has ever had a magneto has done this. You hand your friends the sparkplug wires and tell them to hang on to them for a minute. And then give the mag a good spin. But, and here comes that but again. A magneto didn't hold a candle to awesome "T" coil, when it comes to a monumental JOLT!