As a child my mom's dining table would be extended to full length most Sunday's. It was not at all unusual to have about 20 friends and family for Sunday dinner, the mid day meal. Every now and then before the guests arrived my dad would pull out the "shocking machine", a crank ringer from an old telephone. As folks arrived for dinner, Daddy would pull them aside and clue them in on the planned joke One poor, unsuspecting person would be left out of the "joke".
|Not the original but like Daddy's shocking machine.|
Once all were seated for the meal, folks would put their hands on the next person's knee all around the table. Well, except for the unsuspecting person. That person would not be touching anyone else. Daddy would crank the old ringer that no longer rang. It did still send an electrical charge that pulsed through the "conductors", the bodies of the people seated around the table. The unsuspecting person was the end of the line. That poor soul would receive a shock. He or she would jump or scream and all others would erupt in laughter.
|Similar to coil of leak shock|
Gene, my husband, tells that in his country elementary school, the boys used a metal trough as a urinal. This urinal was located in an outhouse. Using an old model A coil attached to battery and a switching motor, a few of the boys would turn the trough into a live wire. Any unsuspecting boy going in to simply take a leak was in for a "shock". Science plus mischievous boys equals Phineas and Ferb.
My shocking experience was less fun as there were no jokesters present. Living in the country, scraps of food were poured into fields for the livestock. Reaching across the barbed wire fence I poured gravy into a field. What I had not noticed was the small wire just inside the fence perimeter. A stream of gravy is a very good conductor for electricity and my bare feet were the perfect grounding mechanism. I quickly moved away from the electrified fence as surely as the cows would if they touched it!
The biggest scare I ever had in relation to shocks was when my son was about two and a half years old. We were remodeling several rooms in our home. While I tried to keep things policed off the floors, it was a challenge with workmen in and out. This was before the days of plug protectors. One afternoon after the workmen had left I was in the kitchen. Suddenly all the power in the house blew with a pop. A sound had emitted from the playroom. I ran to the room to see my son standing next to an outlet with a metal wire connector. He was unscathed but frightened. When I asked what had happened he said he had put the wires in the plug. I almost lost it just thinking how close I came to losing my son. Little boys must go through lots of guardian angels.