When I was little they used to have one of these devices that makes your hair stand on end at an amazing and delightful place called The Magic House. My mama would sometimes take me there if I could go 8 days straight without peeing the bed. But only now am I learning that this wild and wacky tool is called a Van de Graaf generator, and that it garners its power from 200,000 volts of electricity. I mean, since I used it at The Magic House, I always just figured it was powered by, you know, magic.
I also see here that in addition to creating sick hairdos with static electricity, the tabletop-sized Van de Graaf generator can also spark up to 5", and comes fully assembled with a mad scientist instruction book. So I'll be able to: learn how to produce lightning and electric wind! Dick around with St. Elmo's fire (sadly, not the Demi Moore kind)! And experiment wth electrostatic attraction and repulsion without having to attend House Night at The Last Supper Club, A) wearing, and B) not wearing a healthy dousing of Sure F**k cologne!
Named after German physicist and inventor Robert Van de Graaf, this generator model employs 2 different pulleys with 2 neoprene belts inside a 1-3/4" plastic column to carry a low-amperage, safe static charge up to its 7" polished aluminum collector globe. From there, the method of drawing the electricity out is dealer's choice--burst of lightning, sparks, or head of circa 1986 Jon Bon Jovi.
The assembled tabletop Van de Graaf generator stands 18" tall, and runs on a standard 110 VAC outlet. It includes a ground clip for a discharge wand, but not the wand itself.