Man Makes Lightning In His Yard

Sunday, November 11th 2007, 4:58 pm
By: News On 6

Many of us are afraid of lightning and with good reason. But, The News On 6’s Gan Matthews found a man in Newcastle who loves lightning so much he's making it in his back yard. Kevin Eldredge can bring the fire in the sky down to earth with a device that he built. It’s a high frequency, high voltage resonant transformer, also known as a Tesla Coil.

"I started with some small ones back in the early 1990s, and just went from there and couldn’t stop,” said Kevin Eldredge.

Finally, Eldredge built the 16 foot high Tesla Coil a few years ago.

"I like lightning. I like to watch lightning sparks and this took care of that,” said Kevin Eldredge.

During set-up, he follows a written checklist.

"Well, my memory’s not perfect anymore. And, I’ll forget little things. They can be costly when I don’t remember or dangerous,” said Kevin Eldredge.

When he flips the switch, you see why.

The Tesla Coil illuminates the evening sky. It's named for a man whose life is some ways remains shrouded in darkness. Nikola Tesla was a visionary when it came to things electric. His ideas led to today's wireless communications and perhaps to tomorrow's outer space defenses. A man of mystery, as well as genius, he was often misunderstood.

“First, I might try to change the world. I was hailed as a visionary. The second time, I was asked politely to retire,” said Nikola Tesla.

Tesla got involved in a bitter dispute with Thomas Edison over whether direct or alternating current was the best way to transmit electricity.

Edison tried to prove to the public that DC was the best way to go. Tesla, along with Westinghouse, wanted to make everyone think that AC was the way to go. Eventually, Tesla won.

Like Tesla, Kevin Eldredge alarmed his neighbors when he first fired up his lightning machine. The Fire Department came to investigate.

Thanks to YouTube, anyone with a computer can now watch the fun when he sparks a little touch of Tesla in the night.

Kevin Eldredge says his Tesla Coil is the largest ever built by a hobbyist.

Watch the video: Man Has Lightning At His Fingertips