System of electric lighting-Nikola Tesla US patent 454622 fig1
Diagram of single-wire high frequency lighting system, fig. 1 from Nikola Tesla's US patent no. 454622 System of electric lighting granted June 23, 1891. This is important because it contains the first appearance of his Tesla coil circuit, a resonant transformer which generates high voltage high frequency alternating current (AC). The Tesla coil circuit is in the upper left consisting of a AC generator (G) powering a step-up transformer (P,S) which charges a capacitor (C) which discharges through the spark gap (a) and the primary (P')of the resonant transformer, creating high frequency oscillating currents. The secondary of the transformer (S') produces high voltage pulses.
In this drawing the high voltage pulses from the Tesla coil are being used to power Tesla's single-wire lighting system. One side of the Tesla coil secondary winding feeds Tesla's prototype single electrode fluorescent light bulbs. These consist of a partially evacuated glass bulb with a single electrode. The other side of the secondary is connected to a "ground" electrode in the wall of the room (W). The high oscillating potential ionizes the gas in the bulbs, producing a glow discharge.
Alterations to image: cropped out part of wall (W) to make image more compact