The Story of Ozone
2: Types of Ozone Generators



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The History of Medical Ozone

Nikola Tesla stated that oxygen is the only gas that will pick up and carry electrical energy. In doing so, it becomes tremendously active and seeks to combine with all other substances. The list of substances that are inert to ozone is very short list, and includes glass, Teflon, Kynar, Viton, Lexan and silicone. Therefore any ozone generator and auxiliary equipment must be composed of these substances only. There are several different techniques used to produce medical grade ozone, where freedom from contamination is critical.

One type of generator uses an ultraviolet lamp as its source. It produces a very small amount of ozone with a narrow frequency bandwidth of ultraviolet light. This method is suited to air purification, because in that bandwidth, UV only reacts with oxygen, but it is too weak for medical purposes. Also, the UV lamp degrades over time and eventually burns out.

The second method of ozone production is corona discharge, where a tube with a hot or cold cathode is surrounded by a metal anode. Sometimes it is called cold corona or silent discharge. The best ones are called dual dielectric, because they have a layer of glass separating each component from the gas stream. This prevents contamination of the ozone, but due to the current draw to the metal, they are prone to electrical arcing and burnout. This produces generators that have short lives. If any water enters the tube, it immediately burns out.

In addition, corona discharge generators make a lot of heat and must have large cooling fans to prevent them from overheating. You can always tell a corona discharge generator by the large cooling fan.

Lack of durability has always beset corona discharge ozone generators, and was a major reason for doctors mostly abandoning ozone therapy in the US during the Forties, in the face of increasing pressure from the FDA and the AMA. The manufacturers of these generators show that they know of their limitations by offering only three-year warranties.

Fortunately, there is a third method of producing clean, medical grade ozone. That method is called cold plasma. It uses glass rods filled with noble gases, excited by high voltage. The voltage jumps between the rods, forming an electrostatic plasma field which turns the oxygen into ozone. Since there is no appreciable current, there is no arcing or burnout.
Thus the generator will last a very long time, limited only by the quality of the transformer. The original cold plasma generators were invented by Nikola Tesla in the 1920s and they still work 80 years later.

Many companies claim to have cold plasma generators, but examination always shows they use a metal anode, which makes them corona discharge, dependent on current, and prone to failure.


Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor the world has ever seen. His fertile brain produced the original designs for all of the electrical apparatus now used to transmit AC power, for motors, generators, lighting, radio, radar, etc. The information about Tesla's genius has finally been spreading in the last two decades, after decades of suppression. Less well known is Tesla's involvement with ozone.

In 1896, Tesla was issued a patent for a corona discharge ozone generator using charged metal plates to act on ambient air. He formed the Tesla Ozone Co. in 1900 and went into production of these units. His customers were naturopaths and allopaths who welcomed this powerful therapy into their practices. Breathing of ozone bubbled through olive oil and other oils was widely practiced at this time, and the Sears catalog of 1904 offered a unit for this purpose using eucalyptus, pine and spearmint oils. Tesla produced a gel made by bubbling ozone through olive oil until it solidified, and sold it to doctors. One hundred years later, we are doing the same thing, with Nature's Gift ozonated olive oil.

After a while, Tesla began to get complaints from some doctors that his ozone generators were burnt out. Tesla was upset by this, so he put on his thinking cap to invent a method of generating ozone that would be immune to failure. He realized that it was current flow to a hot spot on the metal anode that caused the short and the subsequent burnout, and reasoned that the way to achieve long life was to eliminate the current by eliminating the metal. That left him with an electrostatic approach, which he was fully conversant with, featuring high voltage jumping a gap, with almost no current draw.

To carry the electrostatic charge, he used inert gases in glass rods. This produced a cold plasma field which energized oxygen into ozone, and resulted in a generator that proved impervious to burnout. The unit used ambient air, and produced a small amount of ozone as it was waved over a recumbent patient, who breathed it in. Tesla farmed out production of these generators to a Canadian company. There are still some of these units from the 1920s which have been kept in use and are still working as air purifiers today, 80 years later.

Tesla felt that this invention was of such importance to human health that he did not patent it; instead he donated it freely to all of mankind. Unfortunately, this meant that eventually the idea was lost, because there was no recorded patent to look up.


In 1993, my partner and I were shown a Tesla ozone generator from the 1920s, which operated on air. With that basic idea as a guide, we were able to perfect Tesla's design using pure oxygen as the source, producing the highest quality medical ozone generator available. Since then, over 3000 of these all-glass Plasmafire tubes have been sold, and none has ever failed. The advantage of this system is its inherent longevity and the absolute purity of the O2/O3 output stream. There are no metallics of any kind, therefore there is no possibility of contamination, or of the tubes shorting out. The tubes can run continuously without fan cooling, even when run 24 hours per day, which we do as we make ozonated olive oil gel (Nature's Gift). Many competitors claim to have all glass generators, but we are the only manufacturer of medical ozone generators with true cold plasma tubes. This technology tolerates an accidental entry of water into the tube without burning out. If this happens, simply run oxygen through the tube until it dries out.

The cold plasma technique has its own idiosyncrasies, one of which is its maximum concentration (about 70 ug/cc). It is interesting to note that the strongest response by the immune system (the production of interleukin-2 and gamma interferon) occurs with ozone concentrations of 30 - 55 ug/cc (The Use of Ozone in Medicine - Rilling and Viebahn, 1987). Tesla's instinct about cold plasma being the best method of ozone production for medical use has now been verified in modern times.

Goto the Next Chapter: Ozone Concentration

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Ozone Therapy & Generators

The Story of Ozone


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