The Tesla coil is one of Nikola Tesla's most famous inventions. It is essentially a high-frequency air-core transformer. It takes the output from a 120vAC to several kilovolt transformer & driver circuit and steps it up to an extremely high voltage. Voltages can get to be well above 1,000,000 volts and are discharged in the form of electrical arcs. Tesla himself got arcs up to 100,000,000 volts, but I don't think that has been duplicated by anybody else. Tesla coils are unique in the fact that they create extremely powerful electrical fields. Large coils have been known to wirelessly light up florescent lights up to 50 feet away, and because of the fact that it is an electric field that goes directly into the light and doesn't use the electrodes, even burned-out florescent lights will glow.
If you want to learn more about Tesla and his Tesla Coil I strongly suggest that you purchase Nikola Tesla: The Genius Who Lit the World
Quoted with the kind permission of the Tesla Society of New York.
© Copyright 2001 by Dr. Ljubo Vujovic, General Secretary of the Tesla Society of New York.Thank you for your kind permission allowing me to quote material from your site.