After many months of anticipation, a select number of our 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 chose to use the Genesis globe. While we will continue to make Genesis versions, for our latest Tesla Edition globes we are using a new globe we call “Promethean Fire”. We have been working with this gas formula for over 3 years and it produces some striking effects not found in any of our other globes. Please see a complete description below.
This unique globe requires a “Break-In Period” to achieve its optimum display characteristics. The globe is beautiful from day one but after about 1,000 to 2,000 hours of activity it will be even better. This description follows that maturing process. There is also a video comparison further down the page.
The “Promethean Fire” Plasma Globe produces an unearthly blue aura which glows more intensely as the power is turned up. Greenish white, whispy, soft tendrils appear at the center electrode when the globe is turned on. As power is increased the center electrode and the globe’s interior wall begin to glow blue while the interior fills with a bluish fog. All of this presents a nice contrasting background as the ever enlarging green and white tendrils reach out and strike the glass. As the power level approaches 50% some of the tendrils erupt into bright white lightning bolts that are very energetic.
The upper range of power is where the Promethean Fire globe starts to show why it is really special. By now the lightning strikes are filling the globe and placing a hand on the globe will produce tendrils with sustained looping characteristics which our other globes cannot duplicate. These long-lasting rope-like effects are what we were trying to achieve when the gas mixture was formulated.
New globes are usually a bit too active to get the best looping effects but as they mature the effects soften and slow a bit when the globe is untouched. This softening and fattening of the tendrils also results in the greenish color becoming more vibrant. With this maturing a hand will now produce more sustained beautiful long looping ropes when the globe is touched. This break-in period takes about 1,000 to 2,000 hours of operation to occur but the globes are gorgeous from day one so we strongly suggest that you enjoy every hour and not rush the process.
After 3,000 to 5,000 hours an unattended globe will have vivid greenish white tendrils waving slowly in a bluish fog inside of an electric blue colored globe with occasional spontaneous white lightning strikes to the glass. Touching the globe will make it come alive! Long looping tendrils will reach out to your hand and you can drag them down the globe and release them to explode on their own against the base and electrode tower.
We have found that after about 5,000 hours the globe effects stabilize. (In case you are wondering, we installed electronic timing meters in the base of our test globes and videoed them periodically). The main video on this site shows our test globe when it had logged just around 10,000 hours. There is another video that shows a comparison of three globes at various stages in the maturing process. Please keep in mind that no two globes are ever exactly alike and our testing can only give a close approximation of what can be expected of another globe.
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.