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a rheostat. a condenser. a lifetime’s work, tightening of screws.

      His attire together with his remark about “a lifetime’s work” had rather prepared me for the sight which I saw. I was on a bench in one corner of a room fitted up as some kind of a workshop. On my right, four huge wood vats and one of metal lined the wall, all having wires running to them from two well insulated mains that completely circled the room, starting from a large panel switch board upon which were several meters, rheostat controls and circuit breakers. Next to the switchboard was a sink and a large electric furnace of the art type, and between the switchboard and the bench upon which I saw, was a set of large shelves on which were numerous sacks and bottles. At the further end of the room was a work bench and beneath it were several acid carboys.
      The room was lighted by a small arc lamp hung in the center of the ceiling and directly beneath it was a long wooden table resting upon heavy porcelain insulators. My captor was busily engaged in adjusting a rather curious piece of apparatus which was clampt to this table.
      At first I could not make it out; but finally I decided that part of it, at least, was a large searchlight. In other parts of it, I thought I recognized a rheostat, a transformer, and condenser, while some pieces offered no indication as to their nature.
      Tired of watching his endless puttering and tightening of screws, I closed my eyes. My head still throbbed and the report of the pistol had left my ears ringing loudly. All at once I became conscious of the crash of thunder.

ex Ray Whitcomb, “The Ultimate Ray,” Science and Invention 8:4 (August 1920) : 372, 442-444, 449-453 (443) : link
same (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign copy via hathitrust)

story starts at p 372 : link
under illustration by Frank R. Paul (1884-1963), link

Ray Whitcomb, ?

3 December 2022