After many months of anticipation, a select number of our new very limited “Tesla Edition” globes are now available. Getting to this point is a bit of a story. I was inspired by a customer who came to our shop and asked for one of our original plastic based globes, rather than one of our much improved wood based globes, because he said he was going to do a “steampunk” makeover on the globe. After he left, I started reading online about steampunk, and a quick google search turned up this information: “Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.” Further searching brought me to a vast collection of incredible steampunk devices and I was hooked! I made it my goal to transform one of our globes into something that Nikola Tesla himself might have devised in a parallel universe where steam power ruled the world.
Many imaginative and very cool steampunk devices have been made by various people, but they often lack any true mechanical functionality. I decided that our steampunk globe had to be operable by the brass controls, give the user a true nineteenth-century experience, and look like it could have been aboard Captain Nemo’s submarine.
It took a year’s worth of spare time to figure out how to assemble and rework over one hundred components for use in the project. First off, the original wood base had to have several holes drilled to accommodate the added plasma furnace, switches and valves. The base was then stripped to bare wood and resurfaced to match the finish and workmanship of the late 1800s. The solid brass valves were disassembled, and individual pieces were machined so the valves could mate up with the interior electrical controls. To add to the period “look,” the modern power supplies were mounted inside a brass adorned metal enclosure and connected to the globe using reproduction antique cloth-covered wire and period electrical connectors. It doesn’t sound like much writing about the changes now, but believe me it is laborious and time consuming work. The end result is a plasma globe that we are very proud of and meets our objectives of style and functionality.
There are 2 rotary on/off switches on the left side of the base. The first switch turns on the Plasma Furnace in the globe’s base, and lights up the Steam Power Indicator Gauge. This gauge looks great but is nonfunctional due to technical and cost considerations. The intensity of the Plasma Furnace can be controlled with the four-spoke handle on the upper left hand valve. The second on/off switch powers up the plasma display in the 15" diameter glass globe. This main display is controlled by turning the large brass wheel fitted to the valve on the lower right side of the base. If the viewer wants to focus on the plasma storm inside the 15" diameter globe, then the Plasma Furnace can be turned off, and the globe performs like one of our standard globes. The viewer will note that the globe and the furnace interact with each other, meaning that each display may react to its own control differently, depending on the state of the other plasma display.
Any of our globes can be fitted to the top of a Tesla Edition base, but for our initial offering we have chosen to use the “Genesis” globe. Please see below for details of that globe.
The “Genesis” Plasma Globe features green plasma lightning with reddish-orange tips, emanating from a red electrode. At low power, reddish-orange circles appear on the center electrode with green spikes drifting outward from their centers. These vibrant spikes end with reddish-orange tips. As the power is increased, the spikes lengthen into multi-shaded tendrils that are green when they leave the red circle but gradually gain a light purple tinge before abruptly changing back to reddish-orange at the tips.
Still in the lower 1/3 of the power range these intensely-colored tendrils do a slow spidery dance. Increasing the power sends the tendrils out towards the globe wall and they become very energetic, creating large splashes of reddish energy as the electrons smash against the glass. At the highest power setting some of the green streamers change color to a vivid purplish white and add to the riot of color. At this point the globe effects are very fast paced and show distinct red, green, purple and white colors with many shades in between. A hand place on the globe surface will attract an intensely-white streamer from the center electrode that arcs across the finger tips highlighting each point of contact in a display of reddish white energy. This lightning like streamer is highly sustained and forms undulating white loops in the midst of the ongoing red, green and purple energy explosion. The overall effect is truly dramatic.
Important Note: All of the pictures and videos on our website were taken in near darkness. The descriptions of the effects are based on observations of the globes in the same near darkness. Just as the Northern Lights cannot be seen during the day, our globe’s effects are best viewed in a darkened environment. Increasing levels of ambient light will wash out the effect colors until they almost disappear under full sunlight.
Also, please be aware that no two plasma globes are exactly alike, and there may be slight variations in color and effect from globe to globe. We make every effort to photograph and present our globes as accurately as possible, but due to differences in the way that your computer screen displays colors, what you see on screen may differ to some degree from the actual plasma globe you receive.