Science And Invention: Recent Experiments By Tesla

Saturday, April 15, 1899
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430 THE LITERA SCIENCE AND INVENTION. RECENT EXPERIMENTS BY TESLA. II{(lI,A TESLA contributes to 7%e 15/erinkal Rn/:km (March zo) an illustrated account of some of his latest ex- periments in the building of improved induction-coils for the de- velopment of great electrical pressure. Mr. Tesla says that it is RY DIGEST. [Avril 15.1899 pleinents for researcli in these various fields once recognized, it became the question in u-hat line the eflorts to this cnd would be likely to be most profitable. /\ little thought showed that it was in investigating high electrical pressures, for these were needed in most instances ....., "Soon it was recognized that . _ . generators ot steady pres- sure were entirely impractical, quite apart from their incidental limitations. lt was exactly ns if one attempted to drive piles into the ground by thc application of continuoim pressure. This would require cunibeisonic and powerful machinery, and would be very inconvenient, An inconiparably better way of 1, V ,r E, developing high pressure is by delivering violent blows `\,\_ A as with a hannner, In such a case the motion of the \'\`ir~1 X hammer being suddenly arrested pressure is developed 5, " `~`, on the point of impact, which is all the greater the \ ' `> L smaller the displacement caused; and if there were V ~ ` I . , ' ` material absolutely rigid, incompressible, and inelastic. WK; _ an indnite pressure might thus be developed by A small k I , ‘ blow. Hence one is forcibly driven to the use of a L V; Wm’-ii‘{Zff.,_, » ' l \ , transformer or induction-coil as a means for producing I V ` , iii\‘;p;1i=\» '¥= ` ' V V' V E I _ great electrical pressures." i 'V _'L z _, , _; ` A We can not follow the inventor in his detailed descrip- _ " 3 ”` s. ls.” ` _ ' tion of his work. 'I`he drst difliculty he encountered ‘i ‘ ` "K was that of insulation, but by clever devices and by _ " A 5 _ it various alterations of position and arrangement in his r 5 primary and secondary coils_ he Iinally attained re- ; if- ‘ 3g ‘ ,\ markable results, His final and most radical improve- . ' _ .` ' ment is thus described : ali " Iluring these cilorts I fortunately discovered the im- \ _ a___ ,f V *_ portant part which air played in the breaking down of '~:__'* , _ -~- l-- the insulation, and hy adopting proper methods for the , exclusion of gaseous matter, I was able to increase the ‘ ` I electromotive force to more than ten times the value "“ ` "ff" ""' ~» without breaking down the secondary. I have described solar: Exr'eR|MENTs IN 'rEsL»\’s LABORATORY WITH CURRENTS DF HIGH POTENTIAL .Ann mon FREQUENCY. The ~pt»ra¢nf'g bony, in this r-itpefiinem, as charged ui it nigh potential by means of ii mn ri-spfmsu-E to the waves transmitted to it from it distant oscillator, and along gms tube war-en in nie nima is lighted to great bi-iiuaney bythe eiectriein charges com-eyed to it uimugii the body. Courtesy uf 771: Elrrlriunl Rf1u'e1:/ easier for him to invent than it is to perfect and to record his in- ventions, He puts it thns: “Ideas come through a happy inspiration, apparently \vithout much exertion; but it is the working out of the inany harassing details and putting into a presentable form which consumes time and energy. It was impos- sible to abandon research in new directions, in which I have felt myself irresistibly drawn, and it was equally imposs ible to do full justice to the work partially com- pleted, and I can only hope gradually to retrieve my losses by the only expedient available, which is to re- double the zeal." 'I`he author pays his respects to the sensation-loving public, which at intervals attributes to his genius some new miracle, to the disgust of sober anv slow-going, native»born scientists. "Some people,” he says, “ have s i vely Long \vh icl\ found a singular satisfaction in dwelling exten- in their columns on my proposed glasshouse on Island, which was to cover acres of ground, and \vas to be built for the purpose of catching the sun's rays; on my claims of the discoveries of Roent- gen; on my invention enabling me to move and ex- plode torpedo-boats by will power, and on my eftorts to annihilate the entire British navy. It is to be hoped that the limits of patience of the readers have been this method since, which I am using in the manufacture of coils and condensers_ and without which it would be entirely impossible to reach any such results as I have obtained. The industrial world has profited by the rec- ognition of the action of the air, for it has helped to ex- tend power transmission to greater distances than here- tofore practicahle _...... "Further experimentation , _ _ finally led step by step tothe adoption ofa coil of large dimensions .... With snch a coil I found that there was practically no 'limit to the tension obtain- I, It \ _ i I 4 _` ~ ».\ ’ ». 5 ' -'?5'-‘~ _ , ,sm _ ~= = ‘. ‘V ._ _ , '_ ,, ~_ "" _ .U `*f ' ' _ _'-»¢_',>e,_ * _ ` ~ _ _ .' m‘p,r- ff , _ ,_ A _ s-` .»_;a,_ _ .V _ 5' _ =~ » -'j._ - . 'LP _ ,F » r% '1‘, ~‘ ‘i=.;&~f` § ` ., I ,_ _ 1, V _~\ . _._gt_ y ~ t _~v'>i.-» 'i V; it i \\ ~° \ ‘ il: \,‘ <-\"g‘\T'\;\ _ :_ I T , tn _ _ I _ , \ __ -Z I \ Y l ‘A } yy \\ _ _ //~< \ \'_f _ ` Ji'/V / \ \` V \ I ut _,K I* I _ l ` \ i _ _~_ , _ /~. _ _ / ' 14 " 'l t, y ` \ ~ f _ it .- " i /I _ f PHOTOGRAPH OF AN ACTIVE TERMINAL UF AN IMPROVED USClLLATOR\ USED rl' finally reached. " The inventor next describes the process of thought that led him to devote special attention to the improve- ment of induction-coils. He says: “ The importance of the task of providing proper im- 'rns1.A`s Exvizaiut-:urs FOR 1RANsMrrTtNe i-;l.EcTa|CAL ENERGY T0 GREA'r_Dls- TANCES \vlTHouT w|REs_ \‘Vidth of illuminated Space is x8 feel ~the pressure nn the terminal is about eight mx non wits. cmmegy Qi mf mffrf-fmz Rrviir-rr

701- XVU1-, NO- 15] THE LITERARY DIGEST able, and it is by its means that I discovered the most importantiof all'faots arrived at in the course of my investigation 'in these tields. One of these was that the atmospheric air, tho ordinarily a perfect insulator, conducted freely the currents of immense electromotivo force producible by such coils and suitable acces- sories. So great is the conductivity of the sir that the discharge issuing from a single terminal behaves as if the atmosphere were raretied. Another fact is that this conductivity increases very rapidly with the rarefaction of the atmosphere and augmentation of the electrical pressure, to such an extent that at barometric pressures which permit of no transit of ordinary currents, those generated by such a Coil pass with great freedom through the air as through a copper wire. Follo\ving up these promising revela- tions l demonstrated conclusively by experiments that great amounts of electrical energy can be transmitted to any distance through upper-air strata which are easily accessible, and since this truth has been recognized every liber has been strained to realize such a transmission on a large scale. These two observa- tions explain clearly the silent discharges noted frequently in dense-air strata, but three-or four miles above the earth's surface. Ona more equally important fact 1 may mention, which was simultaneously observed. The discharges of such a coil, \vhen of an electromutive force of a few millions of volts, excite power- ful affinitiés in the atmospheric nitrogen, causing it to combine readily with the oxygen and other elements, particularly in the presence of aqueous vapor. So energetic are these actions and so strangely do such powerful discharges behave, that l have often experienced a fear that the atmosphere might be ignited, a terrible possibility, which Sir William Crookes, with his piercing intellect, has already considered. Who knows but such a calam- ity is possible? And who can tell with certitude that periodical cessations of organic life on the globe might not be caused by ignition of the air and destruction of its life-sustaining qualities, accidentally or as a consequence of some accumulative change? A lump of coal will lie for centuries unaffected in contact with oxygen, but the combustion once started, the process continues as long as there are elements to combine."