“You state that I have misinterpreted my results, and it looks as though you believe my views to be unsound. Your arguments are those of an eminent scholar. I was myself a fair scholar. For years I pondered, so to speak, day and night over books, and filled my head with sound views–very sound ones, indeed–those of others.
“But I could not get to practical results. I then began to work and think independently. Gradually my views became unsound, but they conducted me to some sound results.”
“Mr. Tesla On Sound Views.”Electrical Review, London, November 21, 1890.
Nikola Tesla was asked what would an engineer have to do to the wireless systems of today in order to produce very little radiation of electromagnetic waves and produce a large amount of earth currents? What changes would he have to make in the system?
“He would have to construct and operate the apparatus described in my patents and in my lectures.
“It is just like this: In an enterprise of this kind, you have to start with certain fundamental propositions. If you are to build a commercial plant, the question comes up how much money is it to cost. Now, you go to specify before your capitalists the various parts of the plant, and you will find that your machinery and the aerial structure will cost so much. If your capitalists are willing to go deep into their pockets, you can put up a tremendous antenna because, as you know, as I pointed out in 1893, that the effects will be proportionate to the capital invested in that part; but you will find great limits there.
“I designed a plant [Wardenclyffe, referring to Fig. 1 & Fig. 2] years ago with a large capacity and put it before certain architects. They figured that the antenna would cost $450,000 and I had to modify my plans. As you see, you are limited by cost as to the size of the antenna; that is, you are limited as to the capacity and, furthermore, you have selected the frequency. In order to lower the frequency so that there would be no wasteful radiation of energy, you have to employ a large inductance. You have to employ a capacity as large as permissible, and you must use a large inductance in order that you may reach the low frequency which is economical.
[Fig. 1]. Wardenclyffe Tower
[Fig. 2]. Improved transmitter described in U.S. Patent No. 1,119,732 of December 1, 1914. Application filed January 18, 1902.
“In a patent which appeared in April 1905, the application of which was filed on May 15, 1900 [Fig. 3], I have enunciated the law of propagation, which I have explained, and have stated that the frequencies should not be more than 30,000 or 35,000 cycles at most, in order to operate economically.
[Fig. 3]. Art of Transmitting Electrical Energy Through the Natural Medium. Patent No. 787,412, dated April 18, 1905.
“The currents are proportionate to the potentials which are developed under otherwise equal conditions. If you have an antenna of a certain capacity charged to 100,000 volts, you will get a certain current; charged to 200,000 volts, twice the current. When I spoke of these enormous potentials, I was describing an industrial plant on a large scale because that was the most important application of these principles, but I have also pointed out in my patents that the same principles can be applied to telegraphy and other purposes. That is simply a question of how much power you want to transmit.
“In Colorado I used the so-called Tesla transformer [Fig. 4]. I did not have the high frequency machine with me which I could develop as much energy for the experiments, but with my transformer I could get any amount of energy I needed. That is why I used the transformer.
[Fig. 4]. Tesla Patent 593,138 Electrical Transformer.
"The D P [in Fig. 2] is a curved plate. The plate has a large radius of curvature. You see, it is to be borne in mind that, in a general way, electricity will accumulate in the same way as the curvature of the surface has a smaller radius. This is an old truth which has been recognized 200 years ago. The design contemplates an arrangement whereby nowhere is electricity accumulated in excess. I am at a substantially uniform distribution of electricity in this structure, not only in the structure, but along the whole circuit where there is a high potential. This, of course, is simply to illustrate the principles. If you design a machine like that [referring to Fig. 2], it will be very much superior to those now in existence, but I have since that time introduced refinements and can produce very much better results than it would be possible with just exactly that construction.
"I had a 550-volt current with which I charged the condensers. These condensers I discharged through a primary in the form of an arc, sometimes I also introduced in this arc a mechanical break of several thousand per second. And I obtained a perfectly continuous train of waves as has been described in my patents. The reason why I show the condenser here [Fig. 2] is that that is synonymous with undamped waves. If I had shown the whole apparatus as arranged there, then I might still have damped waves; but whether I use an alternator or some other way of getting energy to that condenser, the condenser is usually there. For instance, if I use an alternator, I shunt its terminals with a condenser in order to magnify the current in the primary. I then tune this circuit to the alternator, and magnify the current in the primary in the ratio of the inductance to the resistance. Therefore, this condenser here stands for either method, and simply means that in this system, as is obvious from the description in the patent, the waves are undamped because high rises of potential would not be obtained otherwise. Whenever I wanted to obtain a high potential, I had to observe these rules in order to force the potential up to that value.”
***In a pre-hearing interview with his legal counsel in 1916 to protect his radio patents from the Guglielmo Marconi and the Marconi Company***
“Nikola Tesla On His Works With Alternating Currents and Their Application to Wireless Telegraphy, and Transmission of Power.”Twenty First Century Books, Breckenridge, Colorado, 2002.
“Nikola Tesla For The First Time Describes His New System For Supplying Wireless Power To Run All The Earth’s Industries.”
By a series of discoveries and inventions just perfected, Nikola Tesla, the electrical scientist, has upset what has hitherto been regarded as one of the fixed laws of nature. “Every effect diminishes with distance,” is the way the textbooks have expressed it. Tesla now says that instead of decreasing like other forces, electricity may be made to increase in intensity with the distance traveled.
The full significance of this discovery may not be at once apparent. It is obvious, however, that it annihilates space. There can be no limit to the power of the electric wave which increases in intensity the further it travels.
For nearly 20 years Tesla has been working on his plan, he calls it his wireless “World System.” If it is put into successful execution it will convert the earth into a gigantic conduit, which will pass power for all earthly activities, and make possible communication with other planets.
From time to time Tesla has made partial announcements as his work progressed. This, however, is the first comprehensive account of his system as a whole that the inventor has consented to give to the world.
“Through ages past man has anyways attempted to project in some way or other energy into space. In all his attempts, no matter what agent he employed, he was hampered by the inexorable law of nature which says every effect diminishes with distance, generally as the square of the same, sometimes more rapidly.
“I saw at once that space was annihilated in all the three aspects; in the transport of our bodies and materials and in the earth, transmission of the energies necessary for our existence. You can imagine how profoundly I was affected by this revelation. Technically, it meant that the earth, as a whole, had certain periods of vibrations, and that by by impressing electrical vibrations of the same periods upon it, it could be thrown into oscillations of such nature that innumerable benefits could be derived.
“It is difficult to convey an idea of these inventions without resorting to technical terms. The first and best known of these is my transformer, which enables the production of electrical vibrations of transcending intensities. I have already attained activities of many millions of horse power; but this is nothing compared to those which I am expecting to get with my improved apparatus.
“The second is what I have termed my magnifying transmitter, which I look upon as my best electrical invention, and with which any distance can be bridged. I have already passed of this wonderful instrument and am confident that a message can be flashed to such a distance as the planet Mars.
“Some technical men would be disposed to look upon such statements as those of a dreamer, but it is only because they have not had opportunities to see experiments which I have actually performed. The third invention I have designated as the “Art of individualization,” which enables the transmission of an unlimited number of messages through a wire or wireless, without the slightest interference. Not before this improvement is universally adopted will the world fully realise the benefits of telegraphy and telephony. The fourth invention is my receiver, which concentrates the energy transmitted over a wide area into the operating device.”
What would the voltage in your transmitter be?
“In the transmission of telegraphic and telephonic messages I shall employ from five to ten million volts, but in transmitting power in great quantities, as much as one hundred million volts will be used.“
How will your “World System” compare with those now in use as regards to cost?
“We could easily afford to offer a transmission of telegraphic and telephonic messages to any terrestrial distance for five cents a word. In a short while no one will think it anything out of the way to dictate or to write a long letter across the Pacific.”
How long does it take for the transmission of a message, by your system, around the world?
“The exact time is, according to my measurements, 43-1000 of a second, which is a speed about 50 per cent greater than that of light.
“The impulse starts from my magnifying transmitter with infinite speed, slows first rapidly and then at a lesser rate until, when it has penetrated to a distance of 6000 miles from the transmitter, it proceeds with approximately the speed of light. From there on it accelerates, first slowly and then more rapidly, and reaches the opposite point of the globe again with infinite speed only to rebound and pass through the same phases on its way back to the transmitter.
“This movement of electricity through the Earth, which takes place strictly in accordance with a mathematical law, and enables a great number of accurate measurements and determinations to be made, which are of immense practical and scientific value.”
Is your universal marine service based upon this principle?
“Largely so. In setting up and maintaining stationary waves in the earth its entire surface is subdivided in perfectly definite zones of electric activity, so that any observer of all those data which are of importance to navigators as the latitude and longitude, the position with reference to a given point, the speed of travel, and the course followed. This method is quite exact and reliable, and once introduced will be instrumental in a great saving of time, life and property.”
When your system of time distribution is introduced what kind of devices will be used for indicating the hour?
“They will be ever so much simpler than the ordinary clocks or watches, being entirely devoid of wheel work. For personal use a small case will be provided resembling that of a watch which would indicate precisely the time and require no more attention than a compass for instance. The large clocks on towers and public edifices in general will be replaced by extremely simple devices operated on the same principle.
“All these will be ‘tuned’ to a wireless wave sent out at a certain time. This will automatically set the hands of every ‘tuned’ time piece.”
In operating stock tickers, will the present instruments have to be replaced by others?
“Not at all, they will remain intact. A great financier told me that this should be one of the most valuable and practical applications of my system, inasmuch as the instantaneous operation of such instruments all the world over will go far toward allaying panics and failures which are at present mostly due to the inadequacy and stagnation of channels of information.”
“A business man will be able to dictate in his office a letter which will appear in type at any other place he wishes without loss of time in the transmission. It will be exactly as though he had his stenographer close by. In the same manner it will be practicable to send a handwritten letter or even a check, and what is more important, it will not be possible to falsify the signature.”
Will the transmission of complex musical productions require complicated apparatuses?
“Not at all. The apparatus at any of the master plants, transmitting a great number of musical compositions, will be of necessity complicated, but the subscriber will need only a telephone receiver, and, if he desires exclusiveness, and individualizing device in connection, which, however, will be rarely required. He will be none the less able to listen to the most complex opera played in some remote party of the world. What is more, he can carry the entire outfit with him on his walks and travels, and whenever he desires to listen to the music he can do so.
"The wireless system which I have developed does not contemplate competition with established lighting systems in densely populated districts, but it offers an ideal solution for the illumination of isolated places. The light will be furnished by exhausted glass tubes, bent in all sorts of ornamental shapes, and is of surpassing beauty, resembling closely the daylight. The lamps will last forever. The entire apparatus for lighting the average country dwelling will contain no moving part whatever, and could be readily carried about in a small valise. It will be quite immaterial in which region of the earth the house to be lighted is located. Distance will not affect the charge.“
How far from the Earth’s surface can power be transmitted by this wireless system?
“To any distance; in fact, the greater the elevation above the ground that easier it is to supply the power to the vehicle, such as an airship crossing the ocean.”
What do you consider the most important application of your system?
"The transmission of power, of course. The operation of aerial machines alone will be of a revolutionizing influence, in as much as it will afford a perfect solution of this important problem.
"Another great field will be the irrigation and fertilization of the soil by wireless power. The time is not distance when a farmer will have installed on his place an apparatus for continuously manufacturing, from the gases of the atmosphere, nitric compounds which will be used to fertilize, while a motor will pump the water and perform other duties; all the energy being supplied from a plant perhaps thousands of miles away. This system can be extended so as to make productive vast tracts of now barren lands located in various countries. I believe that the export of wireless power will be one of the chief resources of the United States and other fortunately situated countries in times to come.“
By Marcel Roland. New York American, September 3, 1911.
“I had been constructing with my assistants the first high-frequency alternators (dynamos), of the kind now used for generating power for wireless telegraphy. At three o’clock in the morning I came to the conclusion that I had overcome all the difficulties and that the machine would operate, and I sent my men to get something to eat. While they were gone I finished getting the machine ready, and arranged things so that there was nothing to be done, except to throw in a switch.
“When my assistants returned I took a position in the middle of the laboratory, without any connection whatever between me and the machine to be tested. In each hand I held a long glass tube from which the air had been exhausted. “If my theory is correct,” I said, “when the switch is thrown in these tubes will become swords of fire.” I ordered the room darkened and the switch thrown in—and instantly the glass tubes became brilliant swords of fire.
“Under the influence of great exultation I waved them in circles round and round my head. My men were actually scared, so new and wonderful was the spectacle. They had not known of my wireless light theory, and for a moment they thought I was some kind of a magician or hypnotizer. But the wireless light was a reality, and with that experiment I achieved fame overnight.
“Following this success, people of influence began to take an interest in me. I went into “society,” and I gave entertainments in return; some at home, some in my laboratory–expensive ones, too. For the one and only time in my life, I tried to roar a little bit like a lion.
"But after two years of this, I said to myself, “What have I done in the past twenty-four months?” And the answer was, “Little or nothing.” I recognized that accomplishment requires isolation. I learned that the man who wants to achieve must give up many things—society, diversion, even rest—and must find his sole recreation and happiness in work. He will live largely with his conceptions and enterprises; they will be as real to him as worldly possessions and friends.”
– Nikola Tesla
“Making Your Imagination Work for You.” By M. K. Wisehart. The American Magazine, April 1921.
The inventor already has in his laboratory a “cosmic” machine, he disclosed. He said it was driven by “cosmic particles” which strike the earth at speeds 50 times greater than light. He contended that such machines, if perfected, will supply enough power for New York city from cosmic particles striking one square foot.
The relativists theory holds that light, traveling 182,000 miles a second, is the greatest velocity. Tesla said the theory is a “mass of errors,” and that science had overlooked cosmic particles by concentrating upon cosmic rays.