Category: invention

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Nikola Tesla–Who He Was, What He Had Done, and Where He Dreamed to Lead Us

Nikola Tesla is a man from the past whom the general public still knows very little of. Recently, his name has been sensationalized with all sorts of things, from conspiracies to the newest technology, but even so, people today still know only a small percentage of what the great inventor and discoverer has truly done for the science and technology we take for granted today. 

I get asked all the time why Nikola Tesla isn’t as popular today as other well-known historical figures, but to be honest, Tesla is partly to blame. It is true that he was blackballed by corporations, such as General Electric and Radio Corporation of America, but to deny Tesla’s responsibility for the today’s lack of knowledge of himself would be leaving a big part of the story out. His fault was that he wasn’t the kind of person who needed attention to feel special. He hated the praise and notoriety he recieved for his work and accomplishments. He preferred to be hidden from the public and left alone. He did get a great joy out of sharing his work and discoveries to those who cared, and would also protest anyone who stole his work and claimed it as their own, but he hated the spotlight and hoped his inventions, discoveries, and writings would speak for themselves.

To talk about what Tesla has done for science would lead one into a maze of technical terms unsuited for the mind uneducated in electricity. To even go into the technicalities of it all would be about as entertaining as an eighth period lecture on Donald Trump’s fraudulent business career on the last day of school. So I will only dwell on who he was, what he had done, and what he hoped to accomplish for the future. 

Nikola Tesla is of the Serbian race and was born in Smilja, Lika, which during his time was located on the border of Austria-Hungary, today known as Croatia. His mother was a very talented inventor, and his father was a clergyman in the Greek Church. Tesla received his early education at Gospic in a public school, and later spent three years in the Higher Real Schule at Carstatt, Croatia. There he saw his first steam engine, which triggered his interest in electricity, and encouraged him to go against his father’s wishes, who wanted him to enter the ministry. It took Tesla surviving a cholera outbreak to persuade his father into allowing him to study science. Giving up to Tesla’s wishes, his father proposed that he become a college professor of mathematics and physics, and sent the young man to the Polytechnic School at Gratz. 

At this new school, Tesla witnessed a gramme dynamo. It was one of the first industrial motors that produced direct current electricity. Its one fault was that it had commutator that caused great friction and resistance, making it highly inefficient. Tesla believed it was possible to run the dynamo without the commutator, but his professors scolded him, and dedicated an entire lecture on how it was completely impossible. Tesla began then and there to disprove his professors, and began working on ideas that would soon develop into one of his greatest inventions, the rotating magnetic field motor.

After finally making this discovery, the plan of becoming a professor disappeared, and the young student turned inventor took up engineering instead. He left for Paris to work with a telephone company, which gave him the opportunity in 1884, to move to America in hopes of capitalizing on his new discovery. Here is where the great genius would revolutionize and practically create the 20th century. 

So what has he done?

Nikola Tesla literally has more original inventions to his credit than any other human in history. As mentioned above, he is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system that we rely on today. All electricity using or generating alternating current is due to Tesla, without which, all our power lines extending out to all businesses and households, providing light and power, would be far less advanced. Tesla invented the Induction Motor, the Tesla Rotary Converter, the Tesla Phase System of Power Transmission, the Tesla Steam and Gas Turbine, the Tesla Coil, and the Oscillation Transformer. All these inventions helped advance America and its industrial revolution far beyond what any other country had done in history. 

His popularity first rose when he first demonstrated wireless energy/power by lighting phosphorescent light bulbs wirelessly in a demonstration given before the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, 1893. In his laboratory, he conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and some of the earliest X-ray imaging, which he made more safe for medical use. He was the first invent and display neon lights, and is the father of remote control, building a wireless controlled boat exhibited in 1898. Although not recognized for, he was the first to discovery the electron, radioactivity, neutrons, cosmic rays, terrestrial resonance, and stationary waves. He was the first to explain the photoelectric effect, 4 years before Albert Einstein, and has a patent to prove it. He proposed a particle beam to be used for defense in war, which was based off his electrical experiments in Colorado Springs where he produced sparks up to 100 feet in length. He once said he could produce an artificial Aurora Borealis to light the night skies and help ships at sea in navigation with the same principle. 

His ultimate goal was to unify all his inventions into one big machine, known as his “World System,” but lacked the investments and funds to finish his work on a large scale. This machine would have provided clean, and cheap energy to the whole world! His failure to accomplish his goals left him with a distorted persona of a mad scientist, and a dreamer whose imagination created an unrealistic hope for the future. This is why his name has been twisted today.

Tesla would eventually die penniless and alone in his New York apartment, but he cared very little about that. He chose to live through all his inventions and contributions to this world that will last until the end of us all.

And that is who Nikola Tesla was.

“Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”

–Nikola Tesla

“A Visit to Nikola Tesla,” by Dragislav L. Petković. Politika, April 1927.

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“In a thousand years, there will be many recipients of the Nobel Prize. But I have not less than four dozens of my creations identified with my name in technical literature. These are honors real and permanent, which are bestowed, not by a few who are apt to err, but by the whole world which seldom makes a mistake, and for any of these I would give all of the Nobel Prizes during the next thousand years.”

–Nikola Tesla

(In a letter to Robert Underwood Johnson dated Nov. 16, 1915.)

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Joe Rogan needs to have me on his podcast! I can talk Nikola Tesla all day and reveal his true skills and dreams for the future. Hmu Joe!

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drnikolatesla:

Nikola Tesla explaining his “World Wireless System“ and how it differs from today’s radio and wireless technology.

(Pre-hearing interview with Nikola Tesla’s legal counsel in 1916 to protect his radio patents from the Guglielmo Marconi and the Marconi Company.)

Tesla:

“The idea was to put the coil, with reference to the primary, in an inductive connection which was not close—we call it now a loose coupling—but free to permit a great resonant rise. That was the first single step, as I say, toward the evolution of an invention which I have called my “Magnifying Transmitter.” That means, a circuit connected to ground and to the antenna, of a tremendous electromagnetic momentum and small damping factor, with all the conditions so determined that an immense accumulation of electrical energy can take place…

“I mean that you have to have in the circuit, inertia. You have to have a large self-inductance in order that you may accomplish two things: First, a comparatively low frequency, which will reduce the radiation of the electromagnetic waves to a comparatively small value, and second, a great resonant effect. That is not possible in an antenna, for instance, of large capacity and small self-inductance. A large capacity and small self-inductance is the poorest kind of circuit which can be constructed; it gives a very small resonant effect. That was the reason why in my experiments in Colorado the energies were 1,000 times greater than in the present antennae.

Legal Counsel:

“You say the energy was 1,000 times greater. Do you mean that the voltage was increased, or the current, or both?”

Tesla:

“Yes, both. To be more explicit, I take a very large self-inductance and a comparatively small capacity, which I have constructed in a certain way so that the electricity cannot leak out. I thus obtain a low frequency; but, as you know, the electromagnetic radiation is proportionate to the square root of the capacity divided by the self-induction. I do not permit the energy to go out; I accumulate in that circuit a tremendous energy. When the high potential is attained, if I want to give off electromagnetic waves, I do so, but I prefer to reduce those waves in quantity and pass a current into the earth, because electromagnetic wave energy is not recoverable while the earth current is entirely recoverable, being the energy stored in an elastic system.“

Legal Counsel:

"What elastic system do you refer to?”

Tesla:

“I mean this: If you pass a current into a circuit with large self-induction, and no radiation takes place, and you have a low resistance, there is no possibility of this energy getting out into space; therefore, the impressed impulses accumulate.”

Legal Counsel:

“Let’s see if I understand this correctly. If you have radiation or electromagnetic waves going from your system, the energy is wasted?”

Tesla:

“Absolutely wasted. From my circuit you can get either electromagnetic waves, 90 percent of electromagnetic waves if you like, and 10 percent in the current energy that passes through the earth. Or, you can reverse the process and get 10 percent of the energy in electromagnetic waves and 90 percent in energy of the current that passes through the earth.

“It is just like this: I have invented a knife. The knife can cut with the sharp edge. I tell the man who applies my invention, you must cut with the sharp edge. I know perfectly well you can cut butter with the blunt edge, but my knife is not intended for this. You must not make the antenna give off 90 percent in electromagnetic and 10 percent in current waves, because the electromagnetic waves are lost by the time you are a few arcs around the planet, while the current travels to the uttermost distance of the globe and can be recovered.

“This view, by the way, is now confirmed.  Note, for instance, the mathematical treatise of Sommerfeld, [*] who shows that my theory is correct, that I was right in my explanations of the phenomena, and that the profession was completely misled. This is the reason why these followers of mine in high frequency currents have made a mistake. They wanted to make high frequency alternators of 200,000 cycles with the idea that they would produce electromagnetic waves, 90 percent in electromagnetic waves and the rest in current energy. I only used low alternations, and I produced 90 percent in current energy and only 10 percent in electromagnetic waves, which are wasted, and that is why I got my results.“

[*] Editorial note: In 1909, Sommerfeld performed a theoretical analysis of the propagation of radio waves around the earth, solving for the problem of a vertical dipole over a finitely conducting homogeneous ground. He divided the expression for the resulting field into "space wave” and “surface wave” components. The surface wave part had nearly identical properties to a unique plane surface wave solution to James Clark Maxwell’s equations that had been identified by Jonathon Zenneck two years previously. The field amplitudes varied inversely as the square root of the horizontal distance from the source and decayed exponentially with height above the interface. [Sommerfeld, Arnold N., “Uber die Ausbreitung der Wellen in der drahtlosen Telegraphie,” Annalen der Physik, March 16, 1909 (vol. 28, no. 4), OP. 665-736.]

Legal Counsel:

“You spoke… about getting all of the energy from your transmitting into your recieving station by this method of yours. I do not understand how you can get all of it.”

Tesla:

“Oh, that is hardly true; I am speaking as a matter of principle. You never can get all the energy, because there is no such thing as a perfect apparatus.”

Legal Counsel:

“I did not mean it in that sense. I understand that there is, of course, always some loss, but my conception was that when you created a disturbance in the commercial condition of the earth at your transmitting station, that that extended out in all radial directions.”

Tesla:

“Yes, it did.”

Legal Counsel:

“And therefore how, at any given station, can you get more than a small fraction of that energy?”

Tesla:

“Pardon me you are mistaken… In my first efforts, of course I simply contemplated to disturb effectively the earth, sufficiently to operate instruments. Well, you know you must first learn how to walk before you can fly. As I perfected my apparatus, I saw clearly that I can recover, of that energy which goes in all directions, a large amount, for the simple reason that in the system I have devised, once that current got into the earth it had no chance of escaping, because my frequency was low; hence, the electromagnetic radiation was low. The potential, the electric potential, is like temperature. We might as well call potential electric potential. The earth is a vast body. The potential differences in the earth are small, radiation is very small. Therefore, I’d pass my current into the earth, the energy of the current is stored there as electromagnetic momentum of the vibrations and is not consumed until I put a reciever at a distance, when it will begin to draw the energy and it will go to that point and nowhere else.”

Legal Counsel:

“Why is that, on your theory?”

Tesla:

“I will explain it by an analogue.

"Suppose that the earth were an elastic bag filled with water. My transmitter is equivalent to a pump. I put it on a point of the globe, and work my little piston so as to create a disturbance of that water. If the piston moves slowly, so that the time is long enough for the disturbance to spread over the globe, then what will be the result of my working this pump? The result will be that the bag will expand and contract rhythmically with the motions of the piston, you see. So that, at any point of that bag, there will be a rhythmical movement due to the pulsations of the pump.

"That is only, however, when the period is long. If I were to work this pump very rapidly, then I would create impulses, and the ripples would spread in circles over the surface of the globe. The globe will no longer expand and contract in its entirety, but it will be subject to these outgoing, rippling waves.

"Remember, now, that the water is incompressible, that the bag is perfectly elastic, that there are no hysteretic losses in the bag due to these expansions and contractions; and remember also, that there is a vacuum, in infinite space, so that the energy cannot be lost in waves of sound. Then, if I put at a distant point another little pump, and tune it to the rhythmical pulses of the pump at the central plant, I will excite strong vibrations and will recover power from them, sufficient to operate a receiver. But, if I have no pump there to receive these oscillations, if there is nowhere a place where this elastic energy is transferred into frictional energy (we always use in our devices frictional energy – everything is lost through friction), then there is no loss, and if I have a plant of 1,000 horsepower and I operate it to full capacity, that plant does not take power, it runs idle, exactly as the plant at Niagara. If I do not put any motors or any lamps on the circuit, the plant runs idle. There is a 5,000 horsepower turbine going, but no power is supplied to the turbine except such power as is necessary to overcome the frictional losses.

"Now the vast difference between the scheme of radio engineers and my scheme is this. If you generate electromagnetic waves with a plant of 1,000 horsepower, you are using 1,000 horsepower right along – whether there is any receiving being done or not. You have to supply this 1,000 horsepower, exactly as you have to supply coal to keep your stove going, or else no heat goes out. That is the vast difference. In my case, I conserve the energy; in the other case, the energy is all lost.”

Legal Counsel:

“Mr. Tesla, does that not presuppose that the fluid must be incompressible?”

Tesla:

“I should say so, and electricity, whatever it is, certainly it is incompressible because all our experiments show that.”

Legal Counsel:

“Now, if you were giving that a name, what principle would you say was involved by which the radiation loss, where there is no receiver, becomes a gain or a conservation where there is a receiver?”

Tesla:

“There is no radiation in this case. You see, the apparatus which I have devised was an apparatus enabling one to produce tremendous differences of potential and currents in an antenna circuit. These requirements must be fulfilled, whether you transmit by currents of conduction, or whether you transmit by electromagnetic waves. You want high potential currents, you want a great amount of vibratory energy; but you can graduate this vibratory energy. By proper design and choice of wave lengths, you can arrange it so that you get, for instance, 5 percent in these electromagnetic waves and 95 percent in the current that goes through the earth. That is what I am doing. Or you can get, as these radio men, 95 percent in the energy of electromagnetic waves and only 5 percent in the energy of the current. The apparatus is suitable for one or the other method. I am not producing radiation with my system; I am suppressing electromagnetic waves. In my system, you should free yourself of the idea that there is radiation, that the energy is radiated. It is not radiated; it is conserved.”

“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.

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Nikola Tesla sits in front of the spiral coil of his high-frequency transformer at his East Houston St. laboratory in New York. The coil he claimed was an object “dearest of all in his laboratory,” having been a most valuable instrument in his many sided investigations. Tesla is reading James Clerk Maxwell’s book, “The Scientific Papers,” given to him as a gift from his buddy Sir James Dewar.

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“Today I repeat again what I said to contemporary scientists of those earlier pioneering days:

"The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of the planter–for the future. His duty is to lay the foundation for those who are to come, and point the way. He lives and labors and hopes.”

–Nikola Tesla

“Radio Power will Revolutionize the World.” Modern Mechanix Publishing Co., Greenwich, Connecticut. July, 1934.

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“Radio Power will Revolutionize the World.” Modern Mechanix Publishing Co., Greenwich, Connecticut. July, 1934.

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Attack on Pearl Harbor: Nikola Tesla’s Attempt to Prevent Enemy Invasions.

Prior to World War II and the attack on Pearl Harbor, in 1935, Nikola Tesla sent an elaborate technical paper with diagrams to a number of allied nations including the United States, Canada, England, France, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. It was titled New Art of Projecting Concentrated Non-Dispersive Energy Through Natural Media.” The paper provided the first technical description of a charged particle beam weapon. Tesla was communicating with the U.S. government and Prime Minster Chamberlain of Great Britain in an effort to promote his weapon for defense against enemy aerial attacks. The inventor’s correspondence with Chamberlain was his direct attempt to prevent Nazi Germany from taking over his native homeland, but when Great Britain, France and Italy agreed to let Germany annex Czechoslovakia at the Munich Conference in 1938, his communication with the Prime Minister came to an end. His ultimate goal was to prevent World War II.

Tesla’s device was a natural extension of his high frequency work where he produced 100 foot long sparks in his laboratory experiments at Colorado Springs in 1899. The next step was to control and direct this energy as a weapon. The device he proposed was a open vacuum tube that could charge small or large particles to millions of volts and project these highly charged “non-dispersive” particles through free air to bring down hundreds of enemy airplanes.

ILLUSTRATING OPEN VACUUM TUBE

A MODIFIED FORM OF OPEN VACUUM TUBE

Had the U.S. Government and other allies accepted and adopted Tesla’s inventions and proposals he could have made this country, and others, completely invulnerable to any foreign invasions. Particularly like what happened at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Unfortunately, his innovations weren’t taken seriously, and his hopes and dreams of furthering peace died with him in 1943.

Other articles references on his proposed weapon for peace:

“Tesla Invents Peace Ray: Tesla Describes His Beam of Destructive Energy.“ New York Sun, July 10, 1934.

“Beam To Kill Army At 200 Miles, Tesla’s Claim On 78th Birthday: Death Ray Also Available as Power Agent in Peace Times, Inventor Declares.” New York Herald TribuneJuly 11, 1934.

“Dr. Tesla Visions The End Of Aircraft In War.“ Every Week Magazine, Oct. 21, 1934.

“A Machine to End War: A Famous Inventor, Picturing Life 100 Years from Now Reveals an Astounding Scientific Venture Which He Believes Will Change the Course of History.” Liberty Magazine, February 9, 1935.

“Tesla Predicts Ships Powered By Shore Beam: Scoffs at Normandies “Speed,” Sees Success for His Plan to Use Stratosphere Ray, Would Light Sea at Night, and Says French Liner’s System Copied His in U. S. Boats.” New York Herald Tribune, June 5, 1935.

“Aerial Defense “Death Beam” Offered To U.S. By Tesla: Noted Inventor Says His Ray Will Melt Plane Motors at 250 Mile Range.“Baltimore Sun, July 12, 1940.

“Death Ray’ For Planes.” New York Times, September 22, 1940.

“Proposing The ‘Death Ray’ For Defense: The beam would melt enemy airplane motors before they approached our coasts and blow up hostile bombers.” Philadelphia Inquirer, October 20, 1940.