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    The Electric Pickle
    By John Vose

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    Yes, I have done the Electric Pickle. There is no real risk of fire from it, but you must arrange to be sure nobody touches it because there is household electricity flowing through it.

    For anyone who has never heard of the electric pickle:

    1. Cut a cord from an old, broken appliance.

    2. Separate and strip the ends. Attach each wire to a large nail that you have pushed through an insulator (a large cork works well). Wrap everything with electrical tape to insulate further, but not the pointy ends of the nails.

    3. Attach each nail to some sort of vertical support (I use buret holders on ring stands).

    4. Push the point of each nail into one end of a large, fresh pickle so that the ends of the nails are about one inch apart inside the pickle.

    5. Plug the cord into a regular wall socket so that 110 Volt AC current is flowing through the pickle.

    Do this in a darkened room for best effect. The pickle will glow and flash yellow, there may be a few sparks, and smoke will rise from the pickle. The odor is minimal and not too unpleasant. For the few seconds that you will have it plugged in, there won't be so much smoke that it won't dissipate rapidly in a normal-sized classroom. It won't be enough to set off a smoke detector.


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