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[TCML] Flea market booty

Hi All,

It was a good day at the flea market today.  I found two items that I
couldn't say no to, but I need help understanding just what I've uncovered.

Images at:

The first item is a pair of high voltage electrodes, manufactured by Biddle
Instruments.  They are a pair of sinister-looking pistol-shaped electrodes
that expose the electrode tip only when the trigger is pulled.  Googling
the company, they appear to make "Megger" testers.  What I don't get is,
why the tip is only exposed when the trigger is pulled?  Yes it's more fun
that way, gives one a greater sense of power, but...?

The second item appears to be a sealed 3-terminal triggered spark
gap, manufactured by Joslyn Electronic Systems.  Nomenclature:
 81205SOCN407-48000-8  MFR 23663/F5007-05  9104 (presumably date code).

The unit is fairly beefy - 1.5" dia x 2.5" long, heavy for its size, and
heavy bolt terminals at either end.  The connection to the middle terminal
is puzzling - there is only a flange with no obvious way to make a solid
connection.  I'm assuming this is the trigger electrode, but...?  The
Google reveals that they were sold to Bourns, and most Google references
refer to devices used for EMP protection.  The Bourns site references only
smallish protective spark gap devices.

Any insight into the purpose and use of these devices would be appreciated!

Regards, Gary Lau
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