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Here’s a 2 liter plastic soda bottle leyden jar, can be shocking, even dangerous, don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing (here’s what they’re all about, Wikipedia)…

The Leyden jar is an early device for storing electric charge invented in 1745 by Pieter van Musschenbroek (1700-1748). It was the first capacitor. Leyden jars were used to conduct many early experiments in electricity.

A typical design consists of a top electrode electrically connected by some means (usually a chain) to a metal foil coating part of the inner surface of a glass jar. A conducting foil is wrapped around the outside of the jar, matching the internal coated area. The jar is charged by an electrostatic generator connected to the inner electrode while the outer plate is grounded. The inner and outer surfaces of the jar store equal but opposite charges.

Homemade capacitor (Leyden jar) – Link.


  • Historical scientific instrument gallery – Link.
  • Leyden jar – Link.
  • Homemade Lightning: Creative Experiments in Electricity – Link.
  • Electrostatic kits – Link.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.

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