With this setup I quickly found that one of allegedly 'good' coils had low output and another shut down after about 30 seconds of operation!
The video can't do justice to the lovely braaaaaaaaaaak, braaaaaaaaaak, braaaaaaaaak as the arc climbs the electrodes and a wonderful popping crackle when it reaches the top (since my camera lacks sound capability) but the sound of the arc is most impressive in person!
Whilst the current device is a mere a prototype, the larger scheme includes a more appropriate coil with greatly enhanced power output, a cabinet to house the electrical bits and an enclosure for the electrodes for some later high-voltage gaseous chemistry experiments. (Quite convenient as the more toxic and highly reactive by-products can be contained for later usages.)
For the more sensitive folks, please note that no animals were killed, injured or otherwise horribly mutated in this project but I have great hopes for the device as a bug zapper this summer!
The construction of this Jacob's Ladder from stray parts (although only a prototype) completes my qualification in Mad Science so I now feel both confident and vindicated in adding the 'M.S' qualifier to my name.</div>
Also, be sure to read my upcoming e-book "Party Fun With Lethal Voltages" by Prof. J.J. Folderol, B.S, M.S.