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Vacuum spark discharges between electrodes of several different elements were investigated by means of a camera and high speed rotating mirror. It was found that, with very rare exceptions, the luminosity always appeared at the anode before it appeared at the cathode. Measurements were made of the time interval between the appearance of luminosity at the anode and its later appearance at the cathode, and of the velocity of the luminous vapor from the anode. Evidence is given to show that positive ions from the anode have sufficient time to cross the gap during the average observed time intervals. Hypotheses are advanced of the mechanism of the discharge and to account for the observed vapor velocities. Apparently most of the phenomena observed after the formation of vapor at the anode can be accounted for by relatively low gap potentials.