Today’s Tesla celebration is an article written by Nikola Tesla, himself…"The True Wireless.“ Clearly written with TWENTY hand-drawn figures, Tesla "schools” us on the principles of wireless transmission and reception.
This article was featured in the May, 1919, edition of The Electrical Experimenter and thus, Hugo Gernsback, editor of the magazine, friend and fan of Tesla, penned the introduction.
IN this remarkable and complete story of his discovery of the “True Wireless” and the principles upon which transmission and reception, even in the present day systems, are based. Dr. Nikola Tesla shows us that he is indeed the “Father of the Wireless.” To him the Hertz wave theory is a delusion; it looks sound from certain angles, but the facts tend to prove that it is hollow and empty. He convinces us that the real Hertz waves are blotted out after they have traveled but a short distance from the sender. It follows, therefore, that the measured antenna current is no indication of the effect, because only a small part of it is effective at a distance. The limited activity of pure Hertz wave transmission and reception is here clearly explained, besides showing definitely that in spite of themselves, the radio engineers of today are employing the original Tesla tuned oscillatory system. He shows by examples with different forms of aerials that the signals picked up by the instruments must actually be induced by earth currents–not etheric space waves. Tesla also disproves the “Heaviside layer” theory from his personal observations and tests. HUGO GERNSBACK, EDITOR.
On July 4, 1917, the Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, Long Island, New York, was demolished by the federal government. The following article claims the government thought that it was being used as a communication tower by German spies.
According to pbs.org, J.P. Morgan was the original source of funding for the Wardenclyffe Tower: “Morgan offered Tesla $150,000 to build a transmission tower and power plant. A more realistic sum would have been $1,000,000, but Tesla took what was available and went to work immediately. In spite of what he told his investor, Tesla’s actual plan was to make a large-scale demonstration of electrical power transmission without wires. This turned out to be a fatal mistake.”
Tesla acquired the land for the tower from James S. Warden, a lawyer/banker. Mr. Warden believed the resort community he built, “Wardenclyffe-On-Sound,” would become one of the world’s first “Radio Cities.” He donated 200 acres to Tesla’s project.
In 1901, it became clear that the tower was severely underfunded. Then, asserts pbs.org, “on December 12, 1901, the world awoke to the news that Marconi had signaled the letter "S” across the Atlantic from Cornwall, England to Newfoundland. Tesla, unruffled by the accomplishment, explained that the Italian used 17 Tesla patents to accomplish the transmission. But Morgan began to doubt Tesla. Marconi’s system not only worked, it was also inexpensive.“ This statement is summarily contradicted by Nikola Tesla in The Electrical Experimenter in 1919.
Tesla begged for funds but could find none. This was closely followed by the stock market crashing and prices for building materials doubling. In 1905, the Wardenclyffe Tower project had to be abandoned. The newspapers called it, "Tesla’s million dollar folly.” (pbs.org)
In the June, 1919, edition of The Electrical Experimenter, Tesla talks about the Wardenclyffe Tower: “A plant was built on Long Island with a tower 187 feet high, having a spherical terminal about 68 feet in diameter. These dimensions were adequate for the transmission of virtually any amount of energy. Originally only from 200 to 300 K.W. were provided but I intended to employ later several thousand horsepower. The transmitter was to emit a wave-complex of special characteristics and I had devised a unique method of telephonic control of any amount of energy.”
Regarding the tower demolition, Tesla makes this statement: “On this occasion I would contradict the widely circulated report that the structure was demolished by the Government which owing to war conditions, might have created prejudice in the minds of those who may not know that the papers, which thirty years ago conferred upon me the honor of American citizenship, are always kept in a safe, while my orders, diplomas, degrees, gold medals and other distinctions are packed away in old trunks. If this report had a foundation I would have been refunded a large sum of money which I expended in the construction of the tower. On the contrary it was in the interest of the Government to preserve it, particularly as it would have made possible — to mention just one valuable result — the location of a submarine in any part of the world. My plant, services, and all my improvements have always been at the disposal of the officials and ever since the outbreak of the European conflict I have been working at a sacrifice on several inventions of mine relating to aerial navigation, ship propulsion and wireless transmission which are of the greatest importance to the country. Those who are well informed know that my ideas have revolutionized the industries of the United States and I am not aware that there lives an inventor who has been, in this respect, as fortunate as myself especially as regards the use of his improvements in the war. I have refrained from publicly expressing myself on this subject before as it seemed improper to dwell on personal matters while all the world was in dire trouble. I would add further, in view of various rumors which have reached me, that Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan did not interest himself with me in a business way but in the same large spirit in which he has assisted many other pioneers. He carried out his generous promise to the letter and it would have been most unreasonable to expect from him anything more. He had the highest regard for my attainments and gave me every evidence of his complete faith in my ability to ultimately achieve what I had set out to do. I am unwilling to accord to some small-minded and jealous individuals the satisfaction of having thwarted my efforts. These men are to me nothing more than microbes of a nasty disease. My project was retarded by laws of nature. The world was not prepared for it. It was too far ahead of time. But the same laws will prevail in the end and make it a triumphal success."
The world may not have been prepared for this technology. Historically speaking, people have been shown to fear what they don’t understand, time and time again.
Tesla admits that he had a serious mental breakdown following the tower’s demolition. His is quoted by PBS as saying, "It is not a dream,” he protested. “It is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering, only expensive… blind, faint-hearted, doubting world.”
The Electrical Experimenter, Volume VII, No. 73, May, 1919.
THE proverbial trials and tribulations known to every inventor were not spared Tesla, the world’s greatest inventor of all times. In this article we see him, arrived at young manhood, struggling along in a cold world. Already his fame has spread far and wide and his genius is recognized. But converting genius and fame into dollars and cents is quite a different matter, and the world is full of unappreciative and unscrupulous men. Tesla, the idealist, cared little for money and thus was promptly taken advantage of. But let Tesla himself tell you in his own inimitable style. It is a wonderful story.
In this month’s installment Tesla also tells us how he made one of his most important as well as sensational discoveries–the Tesla Coil. Few inventions have caused such a sensation as this one which culminated in the only man-made lightning ever produced. The Tesla coil has so many uses and has been built in so many styles that it would take a catalog to list them all. From the spectacular high frequency stunts on the stage down to the “violet” ray machine in your home; all are Tesla coils in one form or another. Wireless without the Tesla Coil would not be possible today. Without an oscillation transformer, spark gap and condenser–which is a Tesla Coil–the sending station would be crippled.
But it is for industrial purposes where the Tesla Coil will shine brightest in the future. The production of Ozone, the extraction of Nitrogen from the air in huge quantities–all are children of Tesla’s fertile brain. His coil is the key to them all.
Electrical Experimenter was one of Hugo Gernsback’s magazines, and the cover of the August 1919 issue illustrates an article by him on solving the transportation problem. One way involved monorails gliding on water, apparently.
The Electrical Experimenter, Volume VI, No. 70 (Page 692), 1919.
Fig. 1–It is Well Known That the Moon, M, Always Turns the Same Face Toward the Earth, E, as the Black Arrows Indicate. The Parallel Rays from the Sun Illuminate the Moon in Its Successive Orbital Positions as the Unshaded Semi-circles Indicate. Bearing This in Mind, Do You Believe That the Moon Rotates on Its Own Axis?
Fig. 2–Tesla’s Conception of the Rotation of the Moon, M, Around the Earth, E; the Moon, In This Demonstration Hypothesis, Being Considered as Embedded In a Solid Mass, M1. If, As Commonly Believed, the Moon Rotates, This Would Be Equally True For a Portion of the Mass M2, and the Part Common to Both Bodies Would Turn Simultaneously in Opposite Directions.
Gernsback is considered the “Father of Science Fiction” and the Hugo Award is named in his honor. The featured title was originally called The Electrical Experimenter.
“If every man, woman, boy and girl, could be induced to read science fiction right along, there would certainly be a great resulting benefit to the community, in that the educational standards of its people would be raised tremendously. Science fiction would make people happier, give them a broader understanding of the world, make them more tolerant,” Hugo Gernsback.