Tag Archive - Mad Scientist

Joule Thief Picture Light

I bought this light bulb hologram at the hologram shop during my first visit to Amsterdam. It’s been stored for a long time as it hasn’t been displayed very well because it needs a light source to bring out the image. Michael wanted it in his shop over the computer, so he made this little Joule Thief Picture Light to do the job. After he took these photos, he added a switch that allows him to turn the light on and off. The first is with the lights turned up in the room, and the second is when they’re quite low.

Joule Thief Picture Light Joule Thief Picture Light

Bon Weekend – the mad scientist’s assistant.

Malkie has been thoroughly enjoying Michael’s studio.


Michael’s lab is slowly taking shape.

Michael made tremendous strides with his space over the weekend while I proceeded to make a fabric bomb go off in my studio. These are a few shots of the little things, which I find infinitely fascinating.


The map of Panama hung above my grandfather’s desk until he died. My father was born at Hacienda Cincinnati and while he was still young, my grandfather accepted a job that took him to the Canal Zone. So most of his childhood/teenage years was spent there. It’s time crack open Vista Nieve again, which was written by Mel Carriker, who was my father’s first cousin. His mother and my grandmother were sisters. I am named after my grandmother, who was in turn named after her mother, Eva Flye. Among our many projects is to scan the countless photos from Colombia that somehow ended up in our family. I don’t know if my great grandparents had multiple prints made of the photos for all of the children or what. Sadly, that information is long gone.

Enough about me…

amp2 tubes


I’m looking forward to the day we have wood floors upstairs. The wall color is leftover from the previous owners. Michael wanted to paint it, and that may be done down the road, but I think the color adds to the vintage feel.


Nikola Tesla’s Birthday

Nikola Tesla was born on this day in 1856. We often wonder what kind of world we’d live in today if…


In honor of his birthday, my dearest Michael is committed to getting his studio to a working state today.

Bon Weekend

We don’t have any photos of the new house to share just yet. We had a crazy storm move through here this afternoon, so I thought I’d ‘lightning’ things up with a shot from Michael’s old lab.

Bon weekend!

Franklin’s Bells

Sorry, but I have to pimp Michael’s newest project. He just finished building at set of Franklin’s Bells.

The bells and hardware are all brass. The terminals are vintage as are the Bakelite standoffs used for the base of the bells and the terminals.

Electrostatic bells like these are often referred to as Franklin’s Bells, after the eminent American scientist Benjamin Franklin, who installed them in his house to warn him of approaching thunderstorms, as is recorded in a famous portrait of Franklin observing his set of electrostatic bells as a thunderstorm raged outside. This electrostatic device actually was invented in about 1742 by Andrew Gordon, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University at Erfurt, Germany. Gordon’s Bells constituted the first device that converted electrical energy into mechanical energy in the form of continuous mechanical motion, in this case, the moving of a bell clapper back and forth between two oppositely charged bells.

Franklin made use of Gordon’s idea by connecting one bell to a pointed rod attached to his chimney and a second bell to ground. This pointed rod discharged electrical energy from heavily charged passing clouds that would cause Franklin’s set of Gordon’s Bells to ring.

BiPolar Tesla Coil

{Photo credit: Evita Smith}

This is one of my favorite coils that Michael has built. He started on a series last year that is inspired by a vintage aesthetic, something that people would want to keep on display. This one was finished just before we moved. I hope he starts to build these again.

The porthole in front of the spark gap is a beautiful green glass that came from a cache from my mother. She started making stained glass about 20 years ago but with her back/neck/wrist problems it became too difficult for her to manage. Some of her glass supplies came from the Blenko glass factory. My brother drove up to the factory to purchase it for her.

Boys and their toys

This is Michael’s ‘lab’ where he produces his high voltage toys. The lab is upstairs next to the bedroom so we have to deal with the same hurdles/restrictions as the bedroom, such as the awful carpet and the mauve/purple Formica shelving. Mmmmm.

I have one more photo I might try to slip in later.

Jiffycoil's Toys

Jiffycoil's Toys
The silver globe on the floor is a Van de Graff generator, Michael’s current project. The stand is the first cake stand for our wedding cake until we realized we’d cut it too narrow.

Jiffycoil's Toys
Mmmmm…I love power tools.

Jiffycoil's Toys
One day I’ll take a photo of Michael reenacting the famous Nikola Tesla portrait where he’s holding the giant lightbulb

Jiffycoil's Toys

Jiffycoil's Toys
Meters and regulators.

Jiffycoil's Toys
Neon Sign Transformers

Jiffycoil's Toys
You can see the Marx generator in the background.

Jiffycoil's Toys
I liked this photo better.

Jiffycoil's Toys
Control box built by Michael featuring a variac.

Jiffycoil's Toys
Yup, this is anal but I cannot tell you how much time this has saved trying to find the right screwdriver when Michael has his hands full and can’t reach them.

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