Vakkotaur (vakkotaur) wrote,

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Different times, different worlds.

Sometime in the 1970s (before the Transformers toys and associated cartoon) my father acquired a few 15,000 volt transformers used for "neon" signs. They look something like this:


These are the things that not only light up neon (and other gas) tubes, including old fluorescents that won't ignite on 120 V any more, but also make the Jacob's Ladder or be part of the power supply for high voltage equipment such as a CO2 laser. This is one of the "dangerous" things I grew up with, but as it was explained, "There are no really dangerous things, just dangerous people." If you think first and are careful, there is no problem. I 'played' with high voltage, but I wasn't reckless with it. Chances are the most dangerous part to me - or anyone else - was not the easily averted shock risk, but the build-up of ozone when there was arcing.

We found it sort of sadly amusing when one day in the 1980s a young neighborhood kid pointed at row of the things and asked what they were...

Kid: What are those?
Pa: Transformers.
Kid: *stares at them for a bit* What do they turn in to?

I never followed that cartoon and am utterly uninterested in it. I still think of the electrical device when I see or hear the word transformer.

Tags: transformers
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