These currents are furnished by an alternator which transmits sine currents over the line and operates a motor at the distant end of the line, both machines running in synchronism.
The impedance of the primary or alternator circuit is so adjusted that when both the chokers are in circuit the current flowing is not sufficient to charge the condensers; but when one choker is short-circuited the impedance is reduced so that the condenser is charged, but the alternating arc is not formed.
Up to that time an induction coil known as a ro-inch coil had sufficed for spark production, but it was evident that much more power would be required to send electric waves across the Atlantic. Transformers were therefore employed taking alternating electric current from an alternator driven by an oil or steam engine, and these high tension transformers were used to charge condensers and set up powerful oscillations in a multiple antenna.
In the point-by-point method the shaft of an alternator, or an alternating current motor driven in step with it, is furnished with an insulating disk having a metallic slip inserted in its edge.
This contact may be made to close the circuit of a suitable voltmeter, or to charge a condenser in connexion with it, and the reading of the voltmeter will therefore not be the average or effective voltage of the alternator, but the instantaneous value of the electromotive force corresponding to that instant during the phase, determined by the position of the rotating contact slip with reference to the poles of the alternator.
In another form devised by Callendar," a revolving contact disk is placed on the shaft of an alternator, or of a synchronous motor driven by the alternating current under test.
In this case the large vibrating mirror must be oscillated by a current from an alternator, on the shaft of which is a disk of nonconducting material with brass slips let into it and so arranged with contact brushes that in each period of the alternator a contact is made, charging say a condenser and discharging it through the oscillograph.