“It should be borne in mind that electrical energy obtained by harnessing a waterfall is probably fifty times more effective than fuel energy. Since this is the most perfect way of rendering the sun’s energy available, the direction of the future material development of man is clearly indicated. He will live on “white coal.” Like a babe to the mother’s breast will he cling to his waterfall. “Give us our daily waterfall,“ will be the prayer of the coming generations. Deus futurus est deus aquae deiectus!”
“The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires As a Means for Furthering Peace.“ Electrical World and Engineer, January 7, 1905
Does Not Believe in Hertz Waves and Heaviside Layer, Interview Discloses
The model of a “Tesla Coil” which will be featured in the historic exhibit of the radio show reawakens interest in its inventor.
It is not generally appreciated that this curious apparatus, often associated with pretty or spectacular demonstrations of high voltage electricity, is really a fundamental part of modern radio. For all the tuning apparatus and circuits in every transmitting and receiving set are simply variations of Tesla coils and Tesla coil circuits.
It was for this invention, and other inventions and principles concerned with tuning, heterodyning, and the generation of continuous waves, which were made at least several years before the very first experiments of Marconi, that many of our most reputable engineers have conceded to Nikola Tesla the title of “Father of Radio”.
Mr. Tesla, still actively working, was interviewed last week to get his ideas regarding the prospects of the radio of 1930, and beyond. As a prophet, however, he balked. He had repeated time and again his visions for the future. As far back as 1900, he had contemplated a world-wireless system which included broadcasting, picture transmission, international time service, and in addition television and the distribution of electrical power. Part of this early prophecy has been realized – what remained, still stood as his prediction.
Disputes Hertz Waves
What, then, about power transmission by radio? Laurence M. Cockaday, the technical editor of this radio section, had expressed the opinion several weeks ago that, with present apparatus at least, it was hardly feasible. Mr. Tesla agreed to discuss the point at length. As a result, he made public for the first time one of the most extraordinary conclusions – that Hertz waves do not exist! If his theory is true, there may be found in it more adequate explanations of “dead spots”, fading, reflection and a dozen other problems that have always puzzled the profession.
The inventor began by referring to Cockaday’s article:
“I have read the article, and I quite agree with the opinion expressed – that wireless power transmission is impractical with present apparatus. This conclusion will be naturally reached by any one who recognizes the nature of the agent by which the impulses are transmitted in present wireless practice.
“When Dr. Heinrich Hertz undertook his experiments from 1887 to 1889 his object was to demonstrate a theory postulating a medium filling all space, called the ether, which was structureless, of inconceivable tenuity and yet solid and possessed of rigidity incomparably greater than that of the hardest steel. He obtained certain results and the whole world acclaimed them as an experimental verification of that cherished theory. But in reality what he observed tended to prove just its fallacy.
“I had maintained for many years before that such a medium as supposed could not exist, and that we must rather accept the view that all space is filled with a gaseous substance. On repeating the Hertz experiments with much improved and very powerful apparatus, I satisfied myself that what he had observed was nothing else but effects of longitudinal waves in a gaseous medium, that is to say, waves, propagated by alternate compression and expansion. He had observed waves in the ether much of the nature of sound waves in the air.
“Up to 1896, however, I did not succeed in obtaining a positive experimental proof of the existence of such a medium. But in that year I brought out a new form of vacuum tube capable of being charged to any desired potential, and operated it with effective pressures of about 4,000,000 volts. I produced cathodic and other rays of transcending intensity. The effects, according to my view, were due to minute particles of matter carrying enormous electrical charges, which, for want of a better name, I designated as matter not further decomposable. Subsequently those particles were called electrons.
"One of the first striking observations made with my tubes was that a purplish glow for several feet around the end of the tube was formed, and I readily ascertained that it was due to the escape of the charges of the particles as soon as they passed out into the air; for it was only in a nearly perfect vacuum that these charges could be confined to them. The coronal discharge proved that there must be a medium besides air in the space, composed of particles immeasurably smaller than those of air, as otherwise such a discharge would not be possible. On further investigation I found that this gas was so light that a volume equal to that of the earth would weigh only about one-twentieth of a pound.
"The velocity of any sound wave depends on a certain ratio between elasticity and density, and for this ether or universal gas the ratio is 800,000,000,000 times greater than for air. This means that the velocity of the sound waves propagated through the ether is about 300,000 times greater than that of the sound waves in air, which travel at approximately 1,085 feet a second. Consequently the speed in ether is 900,000 x 1,085 feet, or 186,000 miles, and that is the speed of light.
"As the waves of this kind are all the more penetrative the shorter they are, I have for years urged the wireless experts to use such waves in order to get good results, but it took a long time before they settled upon this practice.
"Although the world is still skeptical as to the feasibility of my undertaking, I note that some advanced experts, at least, share my views, and I hope that before long wireless power transmission will be as common as transmission by wires.”
According to Mr. Tesla, the present broadcasting station does not propagate Hertzian waves, as has always been supposed, but acts more like an “ether whistle” – transmitting waves through the ether similar to the waves transmitted by an ordinary whistle through the air. He also expressed his disbelief in the Heaviside layer, and claimed that the reflection of waves back toward the earth was due to the change of medium encountered at the vacuous boundary of the atmosphere.
At Colorado Springs, about thirty years ago, this scientist had a Tesla coil seventy-five feet in diameter which produced voltages above 12,000,000, and sparks over 100 feet long. Electrical flashes were created which were the nearest approach to lightning that man has ever made. During his experiments there, of over a year, Tesla claims that he transmitted a considerable amount of electrical current to the other side of the earth. It was upon these, and later experiments that he bases his present prediction.
“The secret to success is hard work. To be successful in this world one must perform the hardest kind of work. You must peg away night and day, and not stop a minute. There is no royal road. This has been the plan I have followed for years.
“Why! I am even blamed for being lazy by some people, because I do not perfect all my inventions; although I work from sixteen to twenty hours out of the twenty-four.”
“Our Modern Mr. Franklin – Mr. Tesla.” Success, November 4, 1898.
“The Relativity Theory, by the way, is much older than its present proponents. It was advanced over 200 years ago by my illustrious countryman Boskovic, the great philosopher, who, not withstanding other and multifold obligations, wrote a thousand volumes of excellent literature on a vast variety of subjects. Boskovic dealt with relativity, including the so-called time-space continuum.”
“Out of this war, the greatest since the beginning of history, a new world must be born that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity, where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth. This new world shall be a world of free men and free nations, equal in dignity and respect.”
“The kinetic and potential energy of a body is the result of motion and determined by the product of its mass and the square of velocity. Let the mass be reduced, the energy is diminished in the same proportion. If it be reduced to zero the energy is likewise zero for any finite velocity. In other words, it is absolutely impossible to convert mass into energy. It would be different if there were forces in nature capable of imparting to a mass infinite velocity. Then the product of zero mass with the square of infinite velocity would represent infinite energy. But we know that there are no such forces and the idea that mass is convertible into energy is rank nonsense.”
Let us advance by all means. But I cannot help thinking how much better it would have been if the ingenious men, who have originated these “systems,” had invented something of their own instead of depending on me altogether.”
“Of all the endless variety of phenomena which nature presents to our senses, there is none that fills our minds with greater wonder than that inconceivably complex movement which, in its entirety, we designate as human life; Its mysterious origin is veiled in the forever impenetrable mist of the past, its character is rendered incomprehensible by its infinite intricacy, and its destination is hidden in the unfathomable depths of the future. Whence does it come? What is it? Whither does it tend? are the great questions which the sages of all times have endeavored to answer.
“Modern science says: The sun is the past, the earth is the present, the moon is the future. From an incandescent mass we have originated, and into a frozen mass we shall turn. Merciless is the law of nature, and rapidly and irresistibly we are drawn to our doom. Lord Kelvin, in his profound meditations, allows us only a short span of life, something like six million years, after which time the suns bright light will have ceased to shine, and its life giving heat will have ebbed away, and our own earth will be a lump of ice, hurrying on through the eternal night. But do not let us despair. There will still be left upon it a glimmering spark of life, and there will be a chance to kindle a new fire on some distant star. This wonderful possibility seems, indeed, to exist, judging from Professor Dewar’s beautiful experiments with liquid air, which show that germs of organic life are not destroyed by cold, no matter how intense; consequently they may be transmitted through the interstellar space. Meanwhile the cheering lights of science and art, ever increasing in intensity, illuminate our path, and marvels they disclose, and the enjoyments they offer, make us measurably forgetful of the gloomy future.
“Though we may never be able to comprehend human life, we know certainly that it is a movement, of whatever nature it be. The existence of movement unavoidably implies a body which is being moved and a force which is moving it. Hence, wherever there is life, there is a mass moved by a force. All mass possesses inertia, all force tends to persist.Owing to this universal property and condition, a body, be it at rest or in motion, tends to remain in the same state, and a force, manifesting itself anywhere and through whatever cause, produces an equivalent opposing force, and as an absolute necessity of this it follows that every movement in nature must be rhythmical. Long ago this simple truth was clearly pointed out by Herbert Spencer, who arrived at it through a somewhat different process of reasoning. It is borne out in everything we perceive—in the movement of a planet, in the surging and ebbing of the tide, in the reverberations of the air, the swinging of a pendulum, the oscillations of an electric current, and in the infinitely varied phenomena of organic life. Does not the whole of human life attest to it? Birth, growth, old age, and death of an individual, family, race, or nation, what is it all but a rhythm? All life-manifestation, then, even in its most intricate form, as exemplified in man, however involved and inscrutable, is only a movement, to which the same general laws of movement which govern throughout the physical universe must be applicable.”