Tesla's Latest Claim

Saturday, November 19, 1898
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MINING AND SCIENTIFIC PRESS. 506 November 19,1898. Tesla‘s Latest Claim. Following is a verbatim statement from Nikola Tesla, in his application for a patent which last week was issued to him: The problem, for which the invention forming the subject of the present application affords a complete and practicable solution, is that of controlling from a given point the operation of the propelling engines, the steering apparatus and other mechanism carried by a moving object, such as a boat, or any floating vessel, whereby the movements and course of such body or vessel may be directed and controlled from a distance, and any device carried by the same, brought into action at any desired time. So far as I am aware, the only attempts to solve this problem, which have heretofore met with any measure of success, have been made in connection with a certain class of vessels, the machinery of which was governed by electric currents conveyed to the controlling apparatus through a dexible con- ductor. But this system is subject to such obvious limitations as are imposed by the length, weight and strength of the conductor which can be practically used, by the diiiiculty ofmaintaining with safety a. high speed of the vessel or changing the direction of movement of the same with the desired rapidity, by the necessity for effecting the control from a point which is practically fixed, and by many well understood drawbacks lnseparably connected with such a system. The plan which I have perfected involves none of these objections, for I am enabled by the use of my invention to employ any means of propulsion, to im- part to the moving body or vessel the highest possible speed, to control the operation of its machinery and to direct its movements from either a fixed point or from a body moving and changing its direction, however rapidly, and to maintain this control over great distances, without any artificial connections between the vessel and the apparatus governing its movements, and without such restrictions as these must necessarily impose. In a broad sense, then, my invention diders from all of those systems which provide for the control of the mechanism carried by a moving object and governing its motion, in that I require no intermediate wires, cables or other form ol’ electrical or mechanical connection with the object, save the natural media in space. I accomplish, nevertheless, similar results, and in a much more practicable man- ner, by producing waves, impulses or radiations, which are received through the earth, water or atmosphere by suitable apparatus on the moving body and cause the desired actions, so long as the body re- mains within the active region or effective range of such currents, waves, impulses or radiations. The many and difficult requirements of the object here contemplated, involving peculiar means for transmitting to a considerable distance an induence capable of causing, in a positive and reliable manner, these actions, necessitated the designing of devices and apparatus of a novel kind in order to utilize to the best advantage various facts or results which, either through my own investigations or those of others, have been rendered practically available. As to the part of my invention which' involves the production of suitable waves or radiations and the conveying of the same to a remote receiving apparatus capable of being operated or controlled by their influence, it may be carried out in various ways which are at the present time more or less understood. For example, I may pass through a conducting path, preferably enclosing a large area, a rapidly varying current and by electro-magnetic induction of the same, affect a circuit carried by the moving body. In this case the action at a given dis- tance will be the stronger the larger the area enclosed by the conductor and the greater the rate of change of the current. If the latter were generated in the ordinary ways, the rate of change, and consequently the distance at which the action would be practically available for the present purpose, would be very small; but by adopting such means as I have devised, that is, either by passing through the conducting path currents of a specially designed high-frequency alternator, or better still, those of a strongly charged condenser, a very high rate of change may be obtained, and the edective range ol the influence thus extended over a vast area, and by carefully adjusting the circuit on the moving body so as to be in exact electro-magnetic synchronism with the primary disturbances, this influence may be utilized at great distances. Another way to carry out my invention is to direct thc currents or discharges of a high-frequency machine or condenser through a circuit, one terminal of which is connected directly or inductively with the ground and the other to a body, preferably of large surface and at an elevation. In this case if the circuit on the moving body be similarly arranged or connected, differences of potential on the terminals of the circuit, either by conduction or electrostatic induction, are produced, and the same object is attained. Again, to secure the best action, the receiving circuit should be adjusted so as to be in electro-mangnetic synchronism with the primary source as before, but in this instance it will be under- stood by those skilled in the art that, if the number of vibrations per unit of time be the same, the circuit should now have a length of conductor only one half of that used in the former case. (To be Continued)