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May, 19 18


Theory of Tuning, Wave Lengths and Harmonics*

By Prof. F. E. AUSTIN
Ins t-ructor of E lectrical E ngineering, Thayer School of C i vil Engineering, Da rtmou th College


rcso1um.-c is o f very
great impo rt<t ncc iu the operat io n
o f wireless apparatu~, <~tl<l every operator should have a good working
kn owle dge of the theory of resonance and of its practical application. Even
t he experimenter w ill work to much g reater

employed itt the g iven equatio n it may be

no ted ft r t tha t the llltt11CratoJ E denotes
1he applied a lt ernating-pressur e, having a
f requen cy denoted hy f (f means th e num be r of complete cycle, per secoml). R denotes the resistance of th e coil. exprest in
ohms. C the capacity of th e cond ense r in



271'/ C



Wllen such nnmerical relationship dbtains

in any ca e, then rPsoumtce is said to exist.
T h e va lue of 7i' is, o ( course, a constant
a t all times and the value o f f is definitely
fixt fo r any gi vcn circuit. It is, therefore,
appa rent that with a given ftxt value for
27r'j L, a s imilar numerical value for - - -



Fig. 1.-The Fundamen ta l Theory of Wire less May be Better Understood by Studying Th is Elementary Alternating Current Circuit, Comprising an Induct ive Re sista nce and Capa city Con n ected in Series.
advanta"c. wi th a know ledg-e o f the f unda menta l law a nd its careful application, in
maki ng and ope rati ng- luning- coil< :md
s im ila r dc\'iccs.
When a coi l. cons ist ing o r a number of
turns of insulated wire is co nnected in
series with a condense r, and an a lternating
pressure applied to the terminals of the
a rrangement. as ind icated diagrama tically
in figure l. the a lternati ng current in the
arrangement indicated by an ammeter conmTted as sh o wn may h< cxprc, t hy
1 -

( 2rrfL - !.7</C
Jf a di rect c urrent pressure, having the
<amc numerical \'alue a- the a lternating
pressure he applied to th e same arrangcmctt t, the ammete r will sho\\' no in dicatio n
at a ll : the condenser, h aving a very high
resistance. really prevents a ny d irect current from passing. Of course, a di rect
current does exist wh ile the condenser is
being charged, but this is so small the o rd inan ammeter w ill se ldo m ind icate thi s
minnie momen tary current. vVit h an applied altem ating pressure. hO\I' C\'Cr, the
res ult is ver y different : ittcc the condenser is very rapidly charged and d ischarged. the ammeter indicates the presence o f the CLtrrent continuously.
Considering now the d ifferent symbols

amo unt of energy. The symbol 1r denotes

the va lue of 3. 1416.
It is instructive to note th a t if the condenser be removed from the circuit and a
direct-pressure be applied to the terminals
of the coil, th e direct current may be exE
prest by l = - : that is, according to Ohm's
:Now. h~ looking a t the fi rst equation it
is evideut that the la st equ a tion may be
obtained from the fir st when the numerical
val ue o f 2'iif L is made equal to - - - .

f arads, while L den otes the "o-ca lled coefficiem or ind uctance oi the coil, c:xp rest
in '" ' "'') s. L depend, upon the square o
the number Jf turn, o f wire of wh ich the

may be found by varying th e v a lue o f C.

T he value o C for a ny condenser depends
upon the number of sheet s of dielectric
used in making th e condenser. upon th e
lli1rd of materia./ the dielectric consists of,
upon the si=c of the dielectric sheets, and
upo n a numerical conslw11 which is dependent upon the k ind of units employed in expressing size o r area, attd thickness.





F ig. 2.-This Alternating Current Circuit Shou td Be Carefully Studied by All Radio
Students. a s It Contains Similar E lements to Rad io Circuits, I. e., a Variable Induct ive Resistance and a Capacity or Condenser.

coil is composed ; that is, of uwo coils o f

the arne genera l sh ape. the one haYi~g
twice as many turns as the other wtll
have four times the inductance.
A lso a coil h aving an iron cor e \\'ill
This nrliC'le rspeciall y prepared f or 1he uElcc
have very much g reater inductance than
trlc:~.l Expl'rimf'nti"l'.''
the same o r a
simi la r co il with ~---------------- lR----------------,
o ut th e core.
When, as in wireless work, it is
desi r ed to employ
v ery high frequencies, co i I s,
hav ing no iron
co res are used.
s ince they may be
mag netized and
demagnet i zed
very quickly and
Diagram Representing the Genera tion of the "Sine Curve"-the Form without absorbof the Average Alternating Current Wave.
ing an excessive

T h e capacity of ordinary condensers made

up of sheets of dielectric and metal plates,
may be exprest by:

c = .000,000,000.224



ln the equation A denotes the area o f each

dielectric sheet in square inches, n the
number of sh eets used. k the so-ca.Jied
specific inductive capacity o f the dielectric,
and t the thickness of each dielectric sheet
in thousandths o f a n inch ; that is, in mils.
T he coefficient o f inductance of a coil
having an iron core may be approximately
exprest by:

471' n, A

= ---

b X DO'


May, 19 18
in which 7i has its usua l value, 11 deno tes
t he number of I II YIIS o f w ire wound on the
coil, 1\ de notes t he area o f the ho lt t hru
t he center of the co il, exprest in sqmzre
reHiimetrrs, a nd b deno tes the length of
t he coi l (not o f t he wire), cxprc't in centi-



the ammete r indication decreases, and if

the (On tact be m oved lo wanl the right
fro m thi~ po,itio n, the amm etc ind icatio n

d cp,nd, upon the nume r ica l value in \ Olt '

of lhe applied pressure, ;111d upon the n sista ncc in CJiom s o f the coil o r part of llt l

Rewrning to the con>idcration o f the
initial equation . a nd rc~tating the condition


I i,/

for resonance as when 27i/ L = - - - it i'


evident that the t'IJ ila t ion m ay b~ cha11gcd to:

T h e reason fo r tlte la tter a rrangement of
the Ctuation is because it is muc h ea s ier
to con struct o coil to produce a ' '" riablc
inductance t han it is to cons I ruct a condenser to g ive a variable capacity.
Con sidering the last equation, it is evident t hat i [ 271'[ C has a ny g iven nume rical
value, with a definite value o i frequency
( valu e o f f) then some va lu e may he
given L, so that t he numerical value oi
- -- ha ll be equal to the nume rical value
2r.f L
o f 2'ffj C.

=- - .




\ ...- --.\: 1


\ '' ,
. .Y






I \
-..- ..f. ,, \\
j II

.. .

' ..








.. .-;'--'::- ;1







\ ' .,-

........... ...


.. . :






-. ..


















69 8

Every True Alterna t i ng Current, of Any Sh ape Wh a tever, I s M ade Up of a C e rtain Number
of Simple Sine Curves Added Together. The Heavy Line Represents the " Resulta nt" W ave
F orm, P roduced by the Addition of the Th ree Sine W aves Indicated i1n Light L ines. Th ese
Componen t Curves are Called the "Harmonic s."

a lso dracuses.
Tu make the matter clearer and m or e
concrete, it will be well to assign definite
a nd p ractica l numer ica l values to the \'ar ious sym bols in the last equation. Let u'
s uppose t he frequency f o f the a pplied a lternat ing pressure io; 60 cycles per second ;
theu 2r.j is equal to very nea rly 3i7.
S upp ose f ttrt her t hat the capacit y C of the
lixt condcm er is 10 microiarads o r - - -


lndf/tI we res


coi l that is connected in the ci rcuit.

S uppose t he pr essuoe is 110 volts ami the
ohm ic res istance o f the wire on the coil
is ]0 ohm s, then unde r t he condit ion s of
r esonance me nt ioned, the curr ent " ill be
LlO ...;- 10 = I I a mpe res.
A ver y s t riking and importan t phenomenon ~hou ld IJe noted at this poim, name ly.
the nume r ical va lnc of the drop in pressure between t he te rmina ls o f the coil and
a lso between t he termina ls of th e con den ser. The d rop in pres ure between the
te rm inals of a couckn~cr when rc>onan cc


( .(J()(J()I fu rctd ).

One million m icro fa rads

arc equ:al to on e farad. According to this
assumpti on l,r.f C hccom cs e<] urtl to 377 X

- - -. :\ext ;, uppo'r that - - - = .00377.


T h en, s ince 2r.1

lndf/cl!vo res

= 0 .703



377. L -


377 X .00377

it\' of - - - far:od i> conncctcd in ' eric>


Diagra ms Showing Effect of Resonance on

E. M. F .'s in Different P arts of A. C. C i rc uit ; Also Simple Radio Circuits Used for
Comparative Study.

I f a conden ser having a delin ite fixt

v:tlt''! o f capacity C be connected, as shown
in ligur e 2. in series with a coi l so arr anged
as to allow a differen t num ber of t urns o f
w inding to be introduced in to the circuit
a s d esired, t he n the physical appar atus wilt
fulfill all of t he variable cond itio n s possible.
with a fox t frequency f.
Look ing at t he proposition f ro m a sl igh tly different s tandpoint. s\oppose t h e con denser in figure 2. has an unchangeable
,a lue o[ capacity and suppose the contact
point P is so a rr;m gcd as to inc lude in the
circui t mo r e and m o r e turn s of the coil
a s t h e contact moves toward the right.
With a ny defoni te va lue of the frequency
of t he applied p oessure, some position o f
the contact P will be found su ch that the
ind ication o[ the ammeter will be a IIW.rimtwt. I f t he contac t be m oved towa rd t he
left from the position g iving a m axim um,


\\ith a coil ha ving an inductance oi 0.703

hen ry, then resonance obtains in the circuit f or a frequency o f 60 cycles, and th e
current in the circuit is a m aximum. The
numerica l value of the maxim um current



\ 1R' +



(Co 11tilllll!d





pagl! 59)

0 11



.nl It").,

2915 vo lts;
co ndition of affa irs
1t does not Jook expressure between the

ormo 1c



rttw '

( l.'ffj L) 0 which is numer ically

equal to 11
ver v nearly. T his
SCCnllS a bit' Ull\:31ln)'.
actly logical that t h e

.. ....
\ - ......... ......v .,.. \
II/ . .. ~~ ~ v ' ~,\

m ately). T he pressu re drop between t he

terminals of the coi l m ay be stated by ;


If, therefo r e, a condct!';cr lta,ing a capa c-

~mf er/,a

obtai n, in a c ircuit is exprcst bv I ( - - )

2r.f c
w hic h in the case under d i<cu>sion i' equal
to: 11 X - -?.91.'> volts (appro xo-

, ' ',,~ B I






/ I








.. .......



\ I~




. v)







~ \ '}





Graphic lllustratlo, of "Resultant" A. C. Curve Made U p of Th ree S ompte Sine Curves, or the
1st , 3rd, and 5th ; H armonics."



May, 19 18
o rder to ope:rate the valve efficiently the
filame nt must burn bright ly and should be
fed at about 20% above the specified voltage, t he exact amount varying with cha nging conditio ns. An accurate low voltage
rheostat is essential for the prope r handling
o f a ny hot fi lament rectifier, and espe
cially so in the case of our instrument.
T he regu lation of the high voltage battery, however , presents the g reatest variation from common practise, and therefore
affords much o pportun ity for research
A 'phone circuit battery of about 60 volts
is generally consider ed q uite sufficient for
the majority o f present-day valve detectors, but in t he case of t he bulbs un?er
consideration it is best to command a h1gh
potential of up to 70 volts, altho very good
results can be obtained with as little as
SO volts. The c urrent from the cells which
form this battery must be con trolled by a
potentiometer of very high resistance o r,
better st ill, several pairs of high resistance
'phones can be substituted therefor.. The
autho r has found during his tests that a
potent ial of about 75 volts, subjected to the
re ta rding effect encountered by using the
skin of the hand or fingers as a rheostat,
gave unusua lly good results.
T he idea of using part of one's body as a
current regulat or is, of course, impractical,
but the r esulta nt effect is so str iking that
it leads the author to believe t hat a new
instrument . may be developed to take the
place of t he present potentiometer , which
is known to be a very wasteful instrument.
An adj ustable bank of receivers of di fferent resis ta nce but simila r pitch , connected
w ith a common sound chamber or horn,
should entir ely eliminate the need of a
potent iomete r. There is also a chance of
employing a variable condenser in this
connection to a ppro x ima te the capacity effect obt ained in using the body as a resista nce.
D uring the war it will naturally be impossible to test out a ny form of wireless
instruments, except 'in the laboratory, where
some type of non-radiating circuits must
be utilized, and e ven there a buzzer practise set woul d constitute the limit of sending power available now. No aerial or
ground connections a re permitted under the
recent Radio Act.
For the real electrical experimenter and
research worker there still remains a wide
field in which to work with any type of
valve-amplifier that is not too highly valued
to experiment w ith. T wo of the many
possible uses to which electronic relays can
be put outside the radio field are considered
separately in the following paragraphs.
Hot filamem valves are slowly coming
into use as r ectifiers of electric current in
commercial stations, but are still considered in the c hrysalis, or unfin ished state.
The great draw-back in using bulbs for this
purpose lies in the excessive waste of filament which takes place, making the rectifier
very short lived. I t would be folly to use
an expensive instrument for experiments
along this line, but one of our lamps, which
cost only about 60c to replace, may be
used without one's being considered extravagant. By using the filaments interchangea bly at intervals of a few hours each it
may be possible, under the r ight conditions,
to greatly increase the active life of these
bulbs when u sed as model rectifiers.
T he most wonderful prope rty of the
vacuum valve, and the one which holds
the most in store for the inventor, is
doubtless its ability to act as a n amplifier.
For increasing, ind irectly, electrical energy
and mechanical motion the electronic valve
presents a very desirable medium. Many
systems o f automatic sound control are
being de\eloped with the aid of the amplifier valve. There is no limit to the possi-

bilities of experimentation in this dir ection.

Loud-speakng megaphones, phonographs,
telephones, horns, ad infinitum, all await
development. Submarine destroying de
vices, aerial torpedoes, locating apparatus
of all kinds, can be invented which w ill
prove to be the undoing of things out of
sight. but not out of the hear ing of the
delicate ear of the microphone, augmented
and sensitized by the addition of an amplifier bulb.
It is the author 's hope that the foregoing
ideas may prove of real interest to a very
large class of readers.

Important Notice to Subscribers

Due to the congestion existing at the
pre:sent tim e in aJI railroad move me nts,
aJso on account of the fact that many train
clerka have gone t o war, the:re is a con.
gestion of mails all over the U nited States.
It may ha ppen that your maga zine will be
slow in reaching you, and this delay may
be from a few days up to several wee ks.
Kindly bear this in mind before sending
in a complaint, as the magazine will aurely
reach you in due time. Only after no t
having received a cer tain co py for a
period of three weeks should a complaint
be sent in.
You will confer a favor upon the publishers not to write until this time has
ela p sed, t hereby saving them a vast
amount of clerical labor.

~~...~~ ~.~:


pdc:c even Lhe


= 754 X


= .00754 and L =

----1 - =0.17 henry.

.00754 X 754
It is thus evident that with a given condenser having an unchanging capacity, if
the frequency is doubled, the value of the
inductance must be decreased four times
in o rder to produce a condition of complete
resonance in the seri es circuit.
T he current in the circuit under the new
condition of doubled frequency will be the
same as with the original frequency of 60
cycles, provided the ohmic resistance has
no t been changed, and likewise the pressures between the terminals of the condenser and of the coil will be 2,915 volts
as before. In order to decrease the inductance four times, the number of turns
in the coil, or included in the circuit by
the contact P will need to be only one-half
as many as were originally included. If
the number of turns were decreased th reefold the inductance would be reduced ninefold.
( Coutimted 011 page 62)


) e welcr m u at p ay.

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( C ontin1ted from page 33)
terminals o f the parts of a circuit can be
more than that which is applied to the
w ho le circuit.
The relation of the different pressures
may perhaps best be represented by such a
diagram as shown in figure 3, in which
the two pressures of 2,915 volts are shown
at such an angle with each other as to
form a resultau t pressure equal to 110 volts.
The two large pressures are very greatly
out of phase with each othe r, so that their
geometric resultant on this composite
mu t ual effect is really only llO volts.
T he next step in the development of our
discussion should be to consider what will
happen in the circuit, and the numerical
effect on the equations given, if the frequeucy of the applied pressure is doubled;
that is, f is to become 120 cycles. I n this
case 2'Trf 754, very nearly. Supposing the
condenser is the same as used when the
frequency was 60 cycles ; tlhe value of


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log lt. Erperlenccd Inventors as wcU u the loe;rpcrlcneed should read ~lr. l(hnmel's "Patent Know!
edge for lnventort." It Is dltrereot from tbe mual
stu!!' sent oul by potent concerns. Tbe booklet wtU
~=rdc~~ f!~~~:~d postpaid oo r equest. Address posl
obtained tree by wrtllng


(223) John M. O'Brien, West Winfield,
N. Y., submits an idea of an automatic
spark advance for magnetos, and wishes to
have our advice.
A. This idea looks quite good to us, and
seems to have several features that no
doubt would be of interest to some of the
automobile builders. \Ve think a patent
may be obtained on this idea, but would
advise a search made by a reputable patent
attorney before finally applying for patent.
This correspondent also submits a tank
gage remote from the dash of the car.
It is an electrical contrivance, and the
amount of gasoline in the tank is indicated
on an electrical meter.
A. This is a very good scheme, and quite
novel we are sure. Vl/e think a patent can
be obtained upon it. It is one of these
little ideas that appeal greatly to the average motorist.
Another idea in the form o f a ball bearing is also suggested by our correspondent.
He desires to know if it is of any value.
!"-. There is nothin g new contained in
th1s 1dea as far as we c:~n see. It simply
seems to be a variation of some of the ball
bearings now on the market.

sold for $50,000.

Wooden Shoe Pep



May, 1918



Willard St. John, Hawley, Minn.,
~ubmits an idea of a lighting outfit which
os to take the place of the unit lighting
schemes using gasoline engines for motive
power, especially where there is a windmill already in operation. A detailed description of the entire scheme is given and
our advice is asked.
A. To our mind the device is too lmpractkal and expensive, and we do not
think it would replace the outfit.s on the
market now. Also, inasmuch as no new
princi-ple is involved, there would, of
course. be no chance for patent protection.

(225) Robert Bostwick, Jr., Seattle,
\\'asl1., has hit upon an idea to combine a
heating coil with a fan, all automatically
operated. The automatic part is that a certain electric controller is contained in the
device, so that when the temperature rises
above a certain degree the fan will start
running, thereby cooli1;g the atmosphere.
Conv_ersely, if the temperature drops to a
ce rtam level the heating coil is connected
into the circuit, which in turn throws hot
air into the room, thereby heating it.
A. A capital idea ; very good and very
simple. We are quite sure that our correspondent will find little trouble in securing a patent, which we arc also certain
should pr ove valuable. He should get in
touch with a patent attorney at once.
.< 6) L. B. Wilcox, flint, Mich., submas an idea for an automobile gas tank
which is supposed to keep a reserve supply of gasoline. The arrangement is such
that the tank automatically acts as a reminder to the driver. In other words, he
would not be caught without gasoline far
from a supply depot.
A. The idea is good, but it is not of
practical value, and we cannot see wherein
an ordinary indicating tank gage would not
be cheaper and simpler.


(Contimud from pagt 59)
If the frequency of the applied pressure
were increased three-fold-that is, to 180
cycles per second-the necessary inductance
to be employed with the given condenser to
produce resonance would be


= .078 henry;

1131 X .01131

or one-ninth the amount required or iginally.

If the applied pressure E and the resistance R of the coil is the same as originally,
the current in the circuit will be 11 amperes as before. It is now a simple process
to comprehend the application of the for egoing to a wi reless receiving circuit, with
low resistance telephone receiver s connected
as indicated in figure 4. or with high resistance receivers connected between the terminals of the condensers as indicated in
Fig. 5.
T he applied pressure E may be produced
by wireless waves acting on the aerial.
This pressure E may, of course, be of a ny
value depending upon the energy available
at the r eceiving device due to the distant
sending <\pparatus. There may be three
differ en: wave frequencies from these di fferent sending stations operating thru space
at the same time, one having twice the
frequency and a third having three times
the frequency of the first. By slowly moving the contact P along the turns of the
so-called tuning coil the value of the inductance L is so varied as to produce resonance and a maximum current in the t elephone receivers for one of the fr equencies.
The pressures due to the other two fr equencies may produce a certain small current in the receiving circuit, and weak
sounds in the receiver. By moving the contact from the position giving a maximum
for one frequency, to another position, a
certain position is found such that resonance and a maximum current is produced
for another frequency. The maximum current for this frequency produces a much
louder note in the telephone receivers than
the currents due to the other two frequencies, which are now said to be "tuned out."
The higher the frequency of the wireless
waves producing the pressure and resulti ng
cu rrent in the receiving circuit, the higher
the pitch of the note in the receivers.
Jt may be well to call to mind the relation
of frequency and wave length. The high er
the frequency the shorter the wave length,
as indicated by the equation V =fA in
'~hich V denotes the velocity of prop~ga
uon or speed of a wave, f denotes its f r equency in cycles per second, and A (Greek
letter lambda) denotes the wave length.
The velocity V of propagation is the same
for all wave lengths. That is. V is a constant; so if f is decreased, then A must be
correspond ingly increased.
The importance of th e numerical value of
the r esistance R of the circuit needs consideration. Consulting the original equation

it may be seen that when 2?TfL =--that

the current is exprest by I = - - = - ;
'1/ R
~:U~~ ~~~JM~! rl~~r,.:ri'~~:;~~ JMs' ~~"t1ti!'l
which shows that at perfect resonance with
WAT SON E. COLEMAN, Patent Lawyer
a given value of applied pressure E, the
WaehJnctea. D. c.
624 F. Street, N. W.
smaller the numerical value of the resistAn electrically operated machine has been ance of the c~il or of the complete circuit,
invented for picking the feathers off a the $'reater w11l be the current in the coil
ahould b&Yo lhla booi 'TA-rmm, ANl>
chicken, which can pluck all the feathers off or c1rcuit, or in a telephone r eceiver when
i.fu~7:,!.<lll!~g.!r~~.,~~~ ~<>:;!
connected as in figure 4.
;.~~o::'r ~~'r.:t~. ~>;fh~'"ii. Write wi thin five minutes,
In such an arrangement it is evident that
lo:..~J~:Or:;?u~t'11tr/:d..."~'-:'! ~Pg~ nOOUIJn~
t~e smaller the resistan ce of the r eceivers
"~tho domllld 1
greater will be the current in them.
' ""'.. '' ' .,..,P, .......,,
their resistance increased when H owever, the sensitivEJiess of a telephone
o!,.!~::.::~::~:~f:~i.. -~~!~t ~~8!t.8!.~~ m metals have
H.S.IIILL,IOl Mclachloo Bids. Washio..oa, D.C.
r ~d~e~pe::n~d~s:_v~ery largely upon the

Books and Advice -Free


l'ow benefit by mentioning th e "Eltctrica/ Experimenter" tvh" writing to advertisers.

May, 19 18
ampere-tun zs. When arranged as in figure
5, the receiver would naturally have a much
greater resistance than when arranged as in
figure 4, since when connected across the
condenser they are subjected to very high
pressures. T h c greater resistance does not
imply, however . that they should be wound
with wire having a high resistance. In fact,
such should no t be the case, since a la rge
value of ampe re-turns is desirable. If copper wire is used in wi nding the electromagnets of th e 'phones, a given resistance
will of course mean many more turns and
therefore more ampere-turns, than if wire
hav ing a higher specific resistance is employed.
Coils wound with insu lated w ire so arranged with a var iai.Jie contact d cvicc as to
have t heir ind uctance var ied at will thruout a consider able range, arc ca lled hmiug
coils when used in connection with wireless
receiving appa ratus, and it is interesting to
note that as th e con tact P shown in figure 2
is moved so as to reduce the m unber of
turns, that is to decrease the imluctance, a t
the same time the resistauce of the circuit
has also .been decreased. That is, the decrease in inductance and o f resis tance must
occur simultaneously in such a d evice. Reclueing the number of turns reduces the
actual length o f wire in circuit.
The tuning m ight be effected by drawing
an iron core in and out o f a coil, which
would give a very wide variation, but which
would be sluggish in action, and of course
would not vary the olzmic resistance connected in circuit . Another method of varying the inductance might be effected by
copstructing th e coil of two portions, arranged to move with reference to each
other . I n such a case the var iation is said
to be effected by 11m tual iuductio11, and the
ohmic r isistance o f such appa ra tus is constant.
Harmo11ics.-A very interesting and instructive use of the tuning coil is in tuning
the receiving circuit to respond loudly to
the var ious harmonics of any single fundamental wave t hat is being sent out from a
sending station. This may perhaps be best
explained by considering t he shape and
composition of a lternating-current waves or
curv~, and it is advisable to define just
what is meant by an "alternating-current
curve or wave." A t rue alternating pressure, current, or magnetic field is one w hich
has exactly the same wave shape during
each successive second, and one t hat is produced in acco rdance with a definite law:
T he very simplest alternating curve is the
so-called sine curve, shown in figure 6.
Such a curve is constmcted by first d rawing a circle, as shown at the left, and laying
off on a horizo ntal straight line, the length
of the circumference of the given circle.
The length is shown as 0 X in the figure.
Op is therefo re one-half a circumference,
Og one-fourth o f a circumference. The
sine curve may be constructed by first erecting at point g a vertical line equa l in length
to the radius of the ci rcle, then at point n
a vert ical line equal to th e line A' B, which
is. called the sine of the angle A ' 0 A. I n
shor t, all the verticals erected on the horizontal base line represent the sines of corresponding angles about the cent er of the
given ci rcle. The dotted horizontal lines
6 .,
m 1gure wu l g1vc an i ea as to the construction of the sine curve.
Now every t rue alternating wave of any
shape whatever is made up of a certain
number of these simple sine cur ves added
together. T he so-designated resultant curve
in figure 7 is a true alter11ating curve, which
is made up of three simple sine curves all
starting at the zero point 0 , and all increasing in the vertical or positive direction. I t
may be noted that one of the component
sine curves has the same frequency or wave
l cng~h as the resultant curve. This sine

curve may be called the first harmol'ic. Another component sine curve has three times
the frequency, hence one-t hird the wave
length of the resultant curve. This sine
curve is called the third lzarm01~ic. The
other component sine curve has five times
the frequency and one-fi fth the w ave length
o f the resultant curve. The resultant curve
is co nstructed by adding together algcbraical/y the vertical heights o f a ll three of
the component sine curves a t each point
chosen. The small circles on the resultant
cur ve indicate the points that were chosen
in order to construct the part icular curve.
By algebraical addition is mean t that at
any given point on t he horizontal all vertical d istances of the component sine cu rves
extending below the horizontal must be subtracted from the vertical or the sum of the
verticals extending above the horizontal at
the same point. At points where all the
component curves pass thru the horizontal
datum line, there of course the resu/ta1Jt
nrrve also passes thru the horizontal.
It is evident that a great variety of rcsultant curves could be constructed from
three simple sine curves by simply varying
the heights or am plitudes of these cu rves:
o r o f only one of them. E very alternatin g
wave of pressure if applied to any circuit
will produce in the circuit an alternating
cur ve of current that is also made up o f
component sine curves. It may, for exam
pte, be supposed that figure 7 denotes an
alternating pressure E imprest on a circuit
as shown in figure 5. By properly adjusting the movable contact P, resonance may
be produced in the circuit with reference
to the third hannollic compone~>t of t he
applied pressure, causing a maximum current in the receiving ci rcuit having a frequen cy j ust three tim es that of the fwzdamental o r resultant pressure and cu rrent.
T he predominating tone in the receiver has
a pitch o r frequency three times that of the
f undamental or resultant curve. By still
f urth er adjustment of the var iable induetance, the fifth ha rmonic may be made predominant. If an imprest pressure is made
up of , say, fifteen harmonics and the tun ing
coil has sufficient range in adjustment, the
Fifteenth harmonic might be made the predominant one. As the frequency goes up
the wave length inversely becomes lower.
Thus the third harmonic has a frequency
three times the fundamental, and a corresponding wave length of one-third that
of the fundamental, etc.
A n other interesting h ct in connection
with the matter of ''tuning" may be alluded
to h ere, t hat has a very important relation
to music and musical instruments. Nearly
every person can distinguish the musical
tones given out by a violin f rom those
given out by a cornet or a piano. That is,
a tone having a definite pitch or frequency
given out by a violin has a very different
qua fity from the same tone or note (same
frequency) given out by a piano or by a
cornet. W hen a ll these instruments are
tuned to, say, middle C, they each produce
a note having the same frequency or the
same pitch, but the shape of the sound
waves sent out by each instrument is very
diffe rent.
T h is may be illustrated diagramatically
b fi
7 d fi
Y gure an gure The resultant curve
in figure 8 is made up of the sum of three
sine waves as indicated, but has a very
diffe rent shape f rom the r esu ltant curve
in fi gure 7.
T h e two res11ltant curves might have
exactly the same wave length (distance
f rom 0 to X ) , that is the same frequency,
yet" they will never be mistaken for one
another. Two wireless wa ves having exactly the same frequency may readily be
distingu ished by an expert oper ator simply
because of the characteristic of quality.
It may be valuable to have devices that will
tune not only for pitch but also for quality.



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2nd t\otionol Bank. \V oshmgwn, T he john P
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