An ion generator for the formation of electrostatic images, including two electrodes (32, 34) at opposite faces of a solid dielectric member (31), using a threshold multiplexing principle for the drive circuit. This apparatus provides a drive signal to each electrode to generate ions in an air region adjacent one of the electrodes, which ions are extracted for electrostatic imaging. Two drive signals each consisting of a sinusoidal alternating potential, out of phase by 180o, intermittently induce the production and extraction of ions. Other time-varying potentials of like electrical characteristics may be used, providing a number of operating advantages. The ion generator produces ions only during print periods, and requires reduced power to achieve given ion outputs. The control electrode (33) may be partially encapsulated to limit the discharge region. Drive circuitry such as low source impedance gated oscillators, or other low impedance drivers, reduce capacitive "cross-talk" in a multielectrode device.