Editorial: Tesla's Announcements

Saturday, March 9, 1901
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WESTERN ELECTRICIAN The daily newspaper reader of the last two months must have been impressed with the numerous and varied announcements of electrical experiments and developments of electrical phenomena credited to Nikola Tesla. It will be interesting to consider these announcements en bloc. Mr. Tesla began the new year with his twentieth- century greeting to the National Red Cross society, in which he asserted that his delicate instruments at his,mountain laboratory in Colorado had been unquestionably atfected by electrical influences of planetary origin. Mr. Tesla believes that communi- cation may possibly be carried on between the earth and Venus or Mars by using an enormous delivery of electrical energy, but lasting each time only a fraction of a second. He has been led to this cou- clusion, he says, by his ability to contine electrical currents of a pressure of 5o,ooo.ooo volts and to pro- duce electrical movements up to II0.00C horsepower, and by other experimental results and investigations. Together with the development of machinery for the production of powerful effects, Mr. Tesla has also' perfected novel methods for detecting feeble electrical actions, which. he feels confident. will he important in a number of lines of scientific research. Of special scientific interest is the announcement that the inventor has found electrical capacity. here- tofore generally regarded as a constant, to be vari- able. He reached this conclusion after a series of experiments at different altitudes in Colorado. from which he was led to conclude that capacity varies with the height above sea level, with the relative height of the mpacity with respect to the bodies sur- rounding it, with the distance of the earth from the sun, and with the relative change ofthe circuit \vith respect to the sun, caused by the diurnal rotation of the earth. Next came the announcement by Mr. Tesla of great improvements in his system of tube lighting. which is said to give the nearest approach to day- light of any artificial illumination yet invented. The lamp is composed of a rectangular spiral of glass tubing containing raretied gasei which emit the March 9, IQOI radiations when submitted to an extremely high- frequency current. While waiting for “a number of improvements that must be made before the new light can be gen- erally introduccd," scarcely a fortnight had passed before still another startling announcement was madc. This time it was to the effect that “the plans for the machinery of wireless telegraphy to signal across the ccean have been completed and a site for a plant selected by Nikola Tesla. and that the project \vill at once be' actively begun." Eight months is said to be the time required to perfect the ap- paratus, and pertinent to the announcement came :L later report from London, stating that an agent of Mr. Tesla \vas en route to Lisbon to establish a receiving station on the Portuguese coast, which is to be placed in communication with a transmitter located on the New Jersey coast. Accounts differ as to the system to be used for this long-distance, wire- less telegraphy. According to one, Mr. Tesla pro- poses to utilize electrical wa\'es in the earth, by the use of which, with proper apparatus, he believes a wireless transmission of signals to any point on the globe is practicable. This system has been said by some to be the one that \vill be used in commu- nicating under the ocean. Other accounts refergto a patent granted to Nikola Tesla about a year ago for a system of transmitting electrical energy through the higher strata of air without the use of wires. An interesting factor that figures in all the Tesla experiments and investigations is the use of an "oscillator" This instrument. which has been evolved after considerable study and years of ex- periment is at the basis of all the recent develop- ments of Mr. Tesla, and \vill, so the inventor asserts. accomplish many more wonders in the production of light. in telegraphy and telephony, and in the trans- mission of power. Mr. Tesla has been criticized by more prosaic elec- trical men for raising expectations in the mind of the public which cannot be realized-for talking much and accomplishing little, in other \vords. His projects are certainly bold in conception and vast in extent. If any of the schemes originating in his fertile brain, and which have been "sprung"'with such bewildering rapidity in the last few weeks, should actually, in practice, measure up to the claims made for it, it will be an achievement that will equal or surpass, perhaps, Mr. Tesla’s work in the elec- trical power-transmission field a dozen years ago. In the meantime the electrical journals and all other observers must simply await developments with fair and unbiased minds.