A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit invented by Nikola Tesla around 1891. It is used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high frequency alternating-current electricity.
Tesla coils can produce higher voltages than electrostatic machines, which are another source of artificial high-voltage discharges. Tesla experimented with a number of different configurations consisting of two, or sometimes three, coupled resonant electric circuits.
Tesla used these coils to conduct innovative experiments in electrical lighting, phosphorescence, X-ray generation, high frequency alternating current phenomena, electrotherapy, and the transmission of electrical energy without wires. Tesla coil circuits were used commercially in sparkgap radio transmitters for wireless telegraphy until the 1920s, and in medical equipment such as electrotherapy and violet ray devices. Today their main use is for entertainment and educational displays, although small coils are used as leak detectors for high vacuum systems.