Mr. Tesla's New Theory Of Artificial Light

Thursday, February 23, 1899
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February 1899] THE ELECTRICAL ENGINEER. 225 Mr. Tesla.‘s New Theory of Artificial- Light. EVER since Mr, Tesla practically finished his multiphase motor work, now more than ten years ago, he is under- stood to have devoted much of his time to experimental work in the domain of electric lighting. His Grst attempts led him in the direction of the vacuum tube and his brilliant lectures on that subject, both here and abroad, must still be fresh in the minds of many of our readers. But even in those lectures Mr. Tesla de- voted considerable space to the discussion of the employment of solid, refractory materials as light giving media under the in- fluence of high frequency currents. It would seem, however, that of late Mr. Tesla has greatly modified his views as to what is a sine qua non in a successful electric illuminant, At least we are led to this belief after reading an interview had with him by Mr. Charles Culver johnson, appearing in the “Philadelphia Press.” We must confess at the outset that we are unable to fol- low the interviewer at all points, but we gather in general that Mr. Tesla has come to the conclusion that electricians have all been on the wrong track in the past in working on so-called non-refractory or heat proof materials as light giving bodies. There are, Mr. 'I`esla says, a few bodies which for a time seem to be indifferent to heat, but he has found that not one of them will endure a continuous strain. In this new discovery, we are told, vibrations play a most important part, Mr. Tesla having succeeded in obtaining more perfect control of the more rapid vibrations of light waves. Carbon is not employed as the light giver. As to the nature of the force employed the interviewer quotes Mr. Tesla as saying that he “will form an electric circuit and then with a file reduce the thickness of the wire a sixteenth of an inch and double the force of the current." The details oi Mr. Tesla’s work in this direction are unfortunately lacking, but Mr. Tesla promises to prepare a paper on the subject, "which he will read presently to a few scientihc friends.” Failing full details the information thus far vouchsafed is insufficient to per- mit of much comment, but we are glad to know that we may so =oon expect a promised advance in electric lighting. All such work as this, or, in older directions, such as that on the Nernst lamp, is worthy of fullest encouragement.