Definitions for variable state
The Standard Electrical Dictionary
When an electric circuit is closed the current starts through the conductor with its full strength from the point of closure, and advances with a species of wave front so that some time elapses before it attains its full strength in the most distant parts of the conductor, owing to its having to charge the conductor to its full capacity at the given potential. The state of the line while the current thus varies is called the variable state. A long telegraph line when a message is being transmitted may be always in the variable state. The current at the receiving end may never attain its full strength. In the case of such a conductor as the Atlantic cable, 108 seconds would be required for a current to attain 9/10 of its full strength at the distant end, and but 1/5 second to attain 1/100 of its final value. During the period of increase of current the variable state exists.
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