NIKOLA TESLA FAQ
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1. THE "SKIN EFFECT" PROTECTS US FROM TESLA COIL ZAPS? Wrong.WRONG!
Wrong wrong wrong. This misconception is actually hazardous. It's also
very widespread and
appears in numerous books. The true situation has
serious safety implications. It's possible to cook yourself internally
and not even know it. If you misunderstand these issues, you
could injure yourself and others.
The skin-effect mostly applies to extremely conductive materials:
to wires and metal objects. Not to salt water, not to hamburger.
Human bodies aren't metal.
At the usual operating frequencies of Tesla Coils,
the "skin depth" of electric currents in metals is a fraction of a
millimeter. But for human flesh, skin depth is at least 50cm, HALF A
METER. Or maybe more, depending on which resistivity values are used
(blood vs muscle vs internal organs.)
If you're zapped by a big TC, the path of current isn't on the surface.
It's internal. You could accidentally cook your bone marrow. Don't
forget that two common devices rely on this effect for their operation:
2GHz microwave ovens cooking the inside of meat, and in sports medicine,
27MHz diathermy muscle-warming devices used for deep-heating of muscles.
These devices employ frequencies a hundred times higher than
Tesla Coils, yet the "skin effect" isn't preventing the currents which
produce the deep heating inside muscle tissue.
Why then no shocks? If TCs can't electrocute you, well, why not? It's
simply because human nerves don't respond to AC
frequencies higher than about 5KHz. (Tesla this yourself with a signal
generator having HV output.) Tesla Coils can drive fairly high
currents through our flesh, but they're operating at far higher than 5KHz.
More like 100 to 1000KHZ, so we can't feel the electric shock; only the
heating effects of the currents.
So, whenever you allow the arcs of a large TC to strike a metal wrench
held in your hand, the current dives deep into your muscles. The current
avoids bones and fat, follows blood vessels and muscles, and apparently
heats up joint-capsules; usually your wrist, elbow, and shoulder. If
your joints seem a bit painful afterwards, that's because you were being
slightly cooked internally.
"I pray nightly that I never suffer an internal burn" - attributed to TeslaTry this skin depth calculator, use 160,000,000 or 160M uOhm-cm: https://www.pasternack.com/t-calculator-skin-depth.aspx
(human tissue resistivity in micro-ohm-cm is 50-500 million. Blood
160ohm-cm, muscle 650ohm-cm, fat 2000ohm-cm, torso 450ohm-cm
Yay, someone gets it right:
"People often claim that one can touch the secondary of the Tesla coil without being electrocuted because of the skin effect... However, for the frequencies normally used with Tesla coils (less than a MHz,) the skin depth typically exceeds the size of the body. Humans have a bulk resistivity of about 4-ohm-cm" - JC Sprott 2006 (p194), Physics Demonstrations: A Sourcebook for Teachers of Physics
2. TESLA WAS SCREWED OVER BY FINANCIERS AND DIED PENNILESS? NOPE.
Don't forget that Tesla lived his life in a suite of rooms in downtown
NYC. That's the situation of a penniless failure? Not quite! Sure, his
inventions should have made him fantastically wealthy. They didn't, but
that wasn't only the fault of financiers. Besides, "not a billionaire" is
very different than being "penniless." Don't forget that Tesla worked as
a consulting engineer for years following the failure of Wardenclyffe
(remember his bladeless turbine project?) He lost Wardenclyffe because he
gambled on putting his own income into equipment and experiments, then
he ignored bills for hotel rent, and then his landlord took over the
Wardenclyffe property to cover those bills. Apparently Tesla held back no
retirement savings, and put every cent into self-funding his personal lab.
That wasn't the fault of "financiers." After the 1929 financial crash,
Tesla perhaps would have died penniless, except the Tesla Foundation and
Yugoslav government paid him a monthly pension of $7,200 (that's in 1940s
dollars, around $100,000/yr today.) Even so, Tesla still put every cent
into research, failed to pay his rent, and during his last years was still
two years behind on the bills!
Tesla's financial problems had many causes. For example, he
absolutely refused to charge for (or even patent) any of his medical
inventions, nor would he pursue the many idea-thieves who were reaping
rewards for those inventions. His medical devices made millions for the
companies who produced them without attribution to Tesla. Also, Tesla did
court investors, but he then spent all his own hundreds of thousands in
personally paying for research equipment and entire labs. When
Westinghouse was pushed to the wall by stockholders, Tesla threw away
millions (possibly billions in today's money) by tearing up his
dollars-per-watt contract. In the end this didn't even help Westinghouse,
since the stockholders took the company away from him anyway. Another:
while building Wardenclyffe and dealing with JP Morgan, Tesla's remaining
fortune was nearly wiped out in an early stock crash. Next, he couldn't
find Wardenclyffe investors because of a stockmarket " wireless bubble" of numerous frauds cashing in on
wireless rumors by peddling stock for fake companies. And finally, his
major wealthy supporters died: Westinghouse after being forced out of his
company; JJ Astor went down with the Titanic.
Perhaps part of the "penniless" myth comes not only for his refusal to
pay rent, but also from Tesla's odd health beliefs and dietary
experiments. At the end of his life he practiced extreme vegetarianism,
and people of the time might conclude that he was too poor to afford
normal food. Rumor has it that at the end he reduced this even further,
and lived entirely off milk.
3. TESLA COILS ARE JUST AIR-CORE TRANSFORMERS? Not exactly.No, Tesla Coils are very different from turns-ratio conventional transformers such as air-core induction coils.
First of all, Tesla's later work wasn't based on the transformer.
Instead, his device was a single coil. A single coil connected to
an AC dynamo; a cylinder or pancake coil
with electrical energy being injected into one end and high voltage
appearing at the other.
So, no primary coil. A very strange invention! Its closest relative is
one that's common in ham and cb radio: the base-loaded electrically-short
car-mounted antenna: a single-wire high-Q quarter-wave resonator.
device has come to be known as the "Magnifier," as opposed to a
"transformer." Tesla drove such coils directly through their ground
connection. Or, sometimes he adjusted the amount of coupling by adding a
conventional transformer between the dynamo and the main coil, but this
wasn't essential. And finally: it's perfectly possible to build a Tesla
coil with purely capacitive coupling: with an AC-driven metal
plate placed near the grounded base of a single coil, and no primary coil.
As for older transformer-type Tesla coils such as "theatrical/stage"
lightning-bolt machines of the Vaudeville and side-show era ...these
aren't transformers; conventional transformers achieve voltage step-up
based on turns-ratio of their primary and secondary coils. But with Tesla
coils the turns-ratio is nearly irrelevant. Instead, the step-up effect
is caused by the phenomenon known as "resonant rise." In Resonant Rise,
the central role is played by the resonator's bell-like ringing or
"Q-factor" of the coils. The longer time a coil can ring, the greater is
the "Q" and the amount energy it can accumulate, and therefore the higher
the voltage it can produce. With these sorts of loosely-coupled,
tuned-primary tuned-secondary RF coils, the Z and the Q are the main
characteristics, not the turns-ratio.
Also see: What is a Tesla Coil, REALLY?
4. EDISON TOOK TESLA'S IDEAS WITHOUT PAYING, SO TESLA QUIT THE COMPANY?Nope. In hindsight, basic physics shows that Edison's "long legged Mary-Anne" design was misguided. It might even be called an embarrassingly stupid design. While working for Edison Machine Works, Tesla spent a whole year designing vast improvements using short-path cylindrical stators and very compact iron cores. This was all wasted; they fell on deaf ears probably because these weren't just small incremental advancement. Instead were revolutionary, for the time. And they showed clearly that Edison's belief in excessively long iron cores was wrong.
Just imagine if someone recommended discarding Edison's wax-cylinder
phonograph and instead using flat plate disks? Would Edison welcome such
changes, or despise them? Similar situation! If Edison had adopted
Tesla's redesign, the Edison Corp might own those products, but they'd
clearly be Tesla DC dynamos and Tesla DC motors, not Thomas Edison
signature inventions like the others.
Tesla quit because of this issue, but afterwards Edison apparently didn't
use any of Tesla's compact
core designs. They later ended up as a main feature of the Westinghouse
product line in 1889. Edison only adopted them many years later. His
"Long legged" electric motors and generators silently faded
away, and Tesla's short-core cylindrical motor
designs (even for all DC motors!) soon took over the world.
Oddly enough, Edison's industrial DC dynamos at his European branch
were being redesigned by J. Hopkinson, based on basic physics knowledge.
They eventually pushed out the Long Legged format in Edison corp.
(Speculation: Hopkinson succeeded within the Edison Co., where Tesla
failed, because the distant Edison branch in Europe wasn't aware that the
efficient short-path designs were probably a personal affront to Edison
himself, while the improved efficiency of this design were of course
obvious to their European customers.)
By the way, and this is a painful reflection, it was Schmid and I who developed this type of frame and this general arrangement which is universally adopted now ...I remember years ago, some of my friends, Messrs. Crocker and Wheeler, started with those long magnets and I told them, "The sooner you throw these away and adopt (my) construction, the better it will be for you." They have got it now; it is all right. - N. Tesla, 1916Edison-style bipolar fan
Dynamo room photo
5. WORLDWIDE WIRELESS POWER CAN'T WORK, INVERSE SQUARE, AND LOSSES ARE TOO GREAT?Wrong, but this old chestnut was used against Tesla right from the start. In the 1950s, this particular bit of ridicule became irrelevant, when W. O. Schumann discovered Earth-resonance and the low-frequency ionospheric waveguide effect. The central idea here is that, if losses really did dominate, so that EM pulses cannot circle the Earth multiple times, then the Earth-resonance spectrum peaks cannot exist. They exist, so Tesla's detractors were wrong.
For Schumann Resonance to occur, the waves cannot radiate out into
space, instead they must travel repeatedly around the entire Earth over
and over before dying away. Going further ...the older measurements of
Earth's VLF Q-factor gave a value ~10, meaning that EM waves will circle
the Earth ten times before reducing to about half. Newer Q-factor
measurements give values one or two orders of magnitude higher, so EM
pulses will pass around the Earth hundreds of times before fading.
same pre-1950 wrong argument about "excessive losses" is still being used
against Tesla today. There are quite good arguments against Tesla's
scheme, but this particular debunking ...was itself debunked seventy years
Does the P=1/r^2 inverse square law forbid worldwide wireless? Nope, and
it's for the same reason that food in a microwave doesn't need to be
placed right near the magnetron's antenna window. The microwave oven is a
driven resonant cavity, and so is the Earth. Both employ standing waves,
and both exhibit patterns of intense e-fields far from the actual
transmitting antenna. There are nodes and antinodes, and yes, a receiver
will work poorly if placed right at a node.
Think about it this way: if your power receiver is placed out in the
Indian Ocean exactly 180deg away from the transmitter in the USA, wouldn't
you expect to find a HUGE signal out there? Don't all the waves focus
themselves at the opposite point in the atmosphere? Yes, because the
system is using a driven standing wave, not a conventional radio
And if you traveled away from that distant maximum-spot, the power
would decrease *NOT* as inverse square, but as cosine, falling to near
zero at the 1/4 wavelength 1st node location, and then rising again to the
peak in the next ring-shaped antinode. In fact, the same thing would
happen at the transmitter! As you walked away, at first the voltage field
remain the same, no inverse-square decrease, and the fluorescent tube in
your hand would stay lit. So would your Edison carbon-filament bulb.
When driving an Earth-resonance, the intense KHz voltage-field would
finally start dropping when you passed about 1/8 wavelength distance from
the tower, or about TWENTY MILES. Yes, you could stick some light bulbs
in the ground at 20 miles distant from the transmitter, and they'd light
up. Cosine anti-nodes; very weird stuff. The trick is in broadcasting
some radio kilowatts at 1KHz VLF wavelengths. Nobody has any clue about
how Tesla could do that.
Below Tesla describes where Lord Kelvin in 1897 made the same mistake about inverse square law, but then saw the light when Tesla made clear that his system wasn't using a radio transmitter...
"In the summer of 1897 Lord Kelvin happened to pass through New York and honored me by a visit to my laboratory where I entertained him with demonstrations in support of my wireless theory. He was fairly carried away with what he saw but, nevertheless, condemned my project in emphatic terms, qualifying it as something impossible, "an illusion and a snare." I had expected his approval and was pained and surprised. But the next day he returned and gave me a better opportunity for explanation of the advances I had made and of the true principles underlying the system I had evolved. Suddenly he remarked with evident astonishment: "Then you are not making use of Hertz waves?" "Certainly not," I replied, those are radiations ... No energy could be economically transmitted to a distance by any such agency. In my system the process is one of true conduction which, theoretically, can be effected at the greatest distance without appreciable loss." I can never forget the magic change that came over the illustrious philosopher the moment he freed himself from that erroneous impression. The skeptic who would not believe was suddenly transformed into the warmest of supporters. He parted from me not only thoroughly convinced of the scientific soundness of the idea but strongly expressed his confidence in its success."
6. TESLA WAS CRAZYThe public regarded Tesla as crazy for speculating that intelligent life existed on other worlds ...that he'd received numeric code signals coming from outer space ...and that the signals appeared only during hours when the planet Mars had peeked above the horizon. ALIENS!
The scientific community regarded Tesla as crazy for claiming that
radio waves could bend over Earth's horizon, that the waves could travel
repeatedly around the entire Earth, and that a radio broadcasting station
could send signals to receivers located anywhere on the planet. All of
these ideas were direct violations of known physics at the time (this was
before the Heaviside Layer, even before Marconi.) Their disdainful
disbelief in worldwide radio apparently prevented any investigation of
Tesla's discoveries, and Earth Resonance was only rediscovered decades
later after the parties in the controversy were dead.
Tesla was obviously crazy for building that giant tower at Wardenclyffe.
Hold on a sec. That giant construction was for worldwide broadcasting
using a megawatt transmitter. What did BBC world service use? And Voice
of America? And the USSR competitors? GIANT RADIO TOWERS AND MEGAWATT
TRANSMITTERS. So perhaps Tesla only seems crazy because investors pulled
out, and Long Island never became a transmitter complex for the first
major worldwide radio service? Or was he only crazy because his giant
radio tower was wood rather than metal, was also much shorter than many
others built later, and his version had a metal sphere on top? Marconi's
huge antenna complex blew down in a winter seacoast storm. He rebuilt it,
then it blew down again. Built again, destroyed again. Then again. Yet
Wardenclyffe tower stood unharmed for a decade, and when dynamited,
remained complete as it lay on its side. (PS, Tesla's letters reveal that
the Wardenclyffe tower was supposed to be three to six times taller than
it was, but Tesla couldn't afford the newly-quoted construction costs.)
7. THERE'S A GLOBAL CONSPIRACY TO SUPPRESS TESLA!No, because suppression doesn't require any conspiracy. Tesla can be suppressed just fine by widespread disbelief and universal dismissive disdainful attitudes. All those people who deride Tesla's work, and who also make it their business to attack his supporters with sneering contempt ...they didn't attend any secret meetings. No conspiracy. It's the same with bigots and bullies everywhere: their motivations are individual and personal, and bullies don't have to be Hired-By-The-Oil-Companies before embarking on a poison-pen campaign against their weak defenseless victims. Stop and think: whenever racial or religious minorities complain about widespread ongoing suppression, they never magically turn into "conspiracy theorists." Women aren't kept down in job advancement and salary because of secret conspiracies of sexist employers.
So why is it that when Tesla-supporters complain about the rotten
treatment dished out
by the history experts and contemporary scientists, why all the
accusations of "Conspiracy Theory?" Isn't this a logic fallacy, "straw
Heh, perhaps those who complain loudest about Tesla
supporters being conspiracy-theorists ...are actually GOVERNMENT AGENTS
who were planted to DISCREDIT the community of Tesla
fans by equating "Conspiracy Theorists" with our legitimate
complaints of suppression. It's all a BIG CONSPIRACY to make it look like
a conspiracy when actually it ISN'T a conspiracy!!!! (Well, that's my
all-caps exclamation-points THEORY at least.) :)
8. A MAGNIFYING TRANSMITTER IS A 3-COIL DEVICE?
No, since we actually don't know what Tesla's Magnifying Transmitter
The modern "Tesla coiler" community has declared that a any
base-driven 3-coil device is a "Tesla Magnifier," yet Tesla himself had
been using such
setups at least since 1892, so to him they were not a new breakthrough
deserving a new name. What was being magnified in the new "Magnifier"
device? Not voltage, since all his coils did that. Perhaps peak power
was "magnified" during pulse-mode operation? Or perhaps the term
was simply part of Tesla's marketing hype for the Wardenclyffe project: an
improved coil with heavy conductors, extensive grounding system, and a
terminal covered with small adjustable hemispheres.
Or there's this pure speculation: apparently the Wardenclyffe tower contained racks for supporting some large glass devices: powerful sources to pre-ionize a discharge path above the main terminal. A Tesla Coil transmitter with a glass globe on top is fundamentally different from his other inventions. Perhaps "Magnifier" refers to a special Tesla coil including a gigantic plasma-contactor: a device for generating an invisible plasma-antenna much taller than the physical tower's height.
I saw that I would be able to transmit power provided I could construct a certain apparatus -- and I have, as I will show you later. I have constructed and patented a form of apparatus which, with a moderate elevation of a few hundred feet, can break the air stratum down. You will then see something like an aurora borealis across the sky, and the energy will go to the distant place. ...I came to the conviction that it would be ultimately possible, without any elevated antenna --- with very small elevation --- to break down the upper stratum of the air and transmit the current by conduction. -N. Tesla 1916
9. THE US GOVT BLEW UP WARDENCLYFFE TOWER TO PREVENT WW-1 GERMAN SPIES FROM CONTACTING U-BOATS? NOPE.No, actually it was destroyed by its new owners after Tesla went bankrupt. Tesla hadn't been paying rent on his downtown NYC apartment suite, so his landlord (the Waldorf Hotel) took over the mortgage on his land at Wardenclyffe. They wanted to sell it to developers, but the giant "crazy tower" had greatly lowered the value on the property. They had it dynamited. Later Hugo Gernsback in his magazine "The Electrical Experimenter" published several fearmongering articles about foreign "spies" erecting hidden secret radio antennas to communicate with German submarines off the coast. His magazine claimed that the US Government destroyed Tesla's tower because people were convinced it was being used by german spies. But actually the situation was much like the recent one at Wardenclyffe today: Afga, the owners of the Wardenclyffe land, still wanted to demolish Tesla's brick lab building in order to make the land more attractive to real estate developers.
10. TESLA DESIGNED THE NIAGARA FALLS GENERATORS?No, George Forbes designed the inside-out "umbrella design" dynamos with no sliprings, with static center coils and rotating outer field coils. But this basic design was already in use elsewhere. Tesla did patent the AC power grid. Perhaps the confusion arises because the actual generators did feature a bronze nameplate with Tesla's name and patent numbers.
http:// www.teslasociety.com/ pictures/ dcs2.JPG
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11. DON'T TRUST TESLA BECAUSE HE ALWAYS EXAGGERATES?No, and that's circular reasoning. Here's the circle: first, Tesla describes what his latest invention can do, should it ever be funded and built. Skeptics, without evidence, accuse him of exaggerating. His invention is never built, so nobody knows whether Tesla was right. Now repeat! After many years Tesla has described many inventions which were not funded and never tested. His enemies accuse him of being an untrustworthy habitual exaggerator, but this is based on their own string of assertions that Tesla's inventions wouldn't have worked, had they actually been tested. In other words, they claim that Tesla is an exaggerator, based on the fact that they've repeatedly accused him of exaggeration. They act as if his devices were all tested and shown to fail. But for all we know, if investors actually let Tesla build his creations, all would have worked exactly as he described. Or not! Nobody can claim that Tesla was OR WAS NOT trying to fool people with intentionally overblown claims *unless* we first fund his projects and watch them succeed/fail.
(Note that even Wardenclyffe never "failed" in this respect,
instead Tesla ran out of money before the device was up and running.)
Science involves "Let the
experiment be made," not "bold untested ideas are as crazy as they seem;
A less irresponsible method of examining untested devices and determining
Tesla's trustworthyness would be to examine his track record. In the past
did he make any apparently crazy claims which actually proved to be crazy?
In the mid-1800s everyone knew that brushless motors were impossible, and
in addition, DC is the obvious choice for power systems (otherwise the
great Edison wouldn't have chosen it!) Tesla's crazy AC motor ideas
couldn't attract a single investor in Europe. Finally after his move to
the USA, Westinghouse takes him seriously, and all of Tesla's "impossible"
claims are completely vindicated. Tesla was right all along. Any
physicists calling the induction
motor a "perpetual motion machine" were shown to be fools. The entire
expert community was wrong, while one lone voice was right.
claims to send signals around the curve of the Earth and that the Earth
has a fundamental resonance and overtones. He claims that a megawatt
transmitter could be built to send broadcasts to the entire world. This is
impossible: goes directly against 1890s physics. Tesla keeps his radio
experiments secret. Marconi does not, and performs the impossible by
inexplicably broadcasting around the curve of the Earth.
(Later, ionospheric reflection and Heaviside's layer is discovered.)
Then, oddly, the scientific community never bothers to look for Earth
resonance. It was real, of course. Today it's named for its
"discoverer," W.O. Schumann. Tesla's "physics-violating" crazy idea is (silently)
vindicated. Tesla invents other ridiculous things: vehicles with
transparent bubble cockpits, particle beam weapons, secure encoded
communications, cruise missiles, VTOL aircraft. All are obviously
ridiculous and were bad-mouthed in public. None attract any investors,
yet each is vindicated decades later.
12. TESLA LIT UP 200 BULBS, 26 MILES FROM HIS TRANSMITTER!
This claim was in the O'Neill biography of Tesla. No other evidence.
But wait a minute. Was Tesla bragging about sending kilowatts of wireless
power over that distance? Or might he have been bragging about managing
to transmit actual genuine signals over that distance? In 1899 neither
one had been done, so it could have been the second one.
That 26 miles ...was it roughly the distance from his lab to Pike's Peak?
If so, here's a bunch of pure speculation below.
Why would *you* decide to set up a huge bank of bulbs ~30 miles away,
for radio experiments? (Not Tesla. You.) It's obvious: it's for
instantly testing distant receiver equipment. Yes, I could pay a
telegraph company to string 40KM of wires and poles out to a distant
receiver shack. Or I could have my assistants riding horseback, back and
forth daily, delivering timed lab-notebook entries of the receiver
readings. Or they could be signalling me at the main lab with large
sun-mirrors. Or ...or ...I could set up a huge cluster of BATTERY
OPERATED light bulbs, then view them through a telescope. High watts,
large battery bank needed, to be seen 30mi away in daylight.
Rats, that doesn't work! The problem is that anything more distant
than ~15KM is hidden by the curve of the Earth. I'd need a tower a
quarter-mile tall, with bulbs on top. Unless! Ho ho ho, unless I find a
laboratory location with a nearby mountain, and I place my receiver-shack
at a few hundred feet elevation, up in the foothills with dirt roads.
Yessss, a distant lab way out in the boonies, with no industrial spies
watching my every move, even no educated eyewitnesses. I'd pulse my
transmitter, and watch the distant bank of bulbs through my binocs, and
instantly I know the power level needed to trigger the receiver. Sweep my
beam across the receiver, plot its sectional profile!
Mister Cisco! Pack all the trunks, we're taking the next train to
Hmm, oddly enough, three years before his 1899 lab, Tesla apparently
was in Colorado Springs, even
climbed up Pikes Peak (
and performed resonance experiments with portable radio equipment,
music for 'Ben Bolt' through the bedrock. Wow.
13. TESLA DISCOVERED X-RAYS!yes and no.
glass plate x-ray of a human foot inside a shoe, sent to Roentgen
massive burns to chest of Tesla worker
"sensitive brush tube" of 1892 a prodigious source of x-rays, same problem with most carbon-button lamps.
14. TESLA COULDN'T HAVE DISCOVERED X-RAYS: VACUUM PUMPS WEREN'T GOOD ENOUGHWrong. In his 1892 UK lecture to the Royal Society Tesla describes cathode-ray glass fluorescence and the (accidental, unrecognized) process of ion-pumping to pressures below glow-discharge threshold. His "sensitive brush" tube as well as some of his carbon-button lamps should have been prodigious sources of soft x-rays. Like Roentgen, Tesla could easily have unexpectedly encountered fluorescing screens and fogged film plates. Apparently his NYC lab was full of large film plates stacked on edge along the walls, since he was experimenting with photographers with artificial lighting. But all this could have started some time before 1892, years before Roentgen.
15. THE SECRET OF TESLA'S DEATH-RAY IS LOSTBrought from behind the Iron Curtain in 1984.
A huge VandeGraaff DC generator with a fluid pump replacing the physical belt, powering a weapon based on a sort of water-jet cutter using electrically-accelerated micro-droplets of tungsten or mercury.
16. TESLA'S "STATIC ELIMINATOR" IS A PAIR OF ADJUSTABLE PANCAKE COILSNo, instead it was a pair of adjustable, disk-shaped wooden enclosures, each of which contains two ore more coils and capacitors. Tesla mentioned using up to twenty.
By the term "static eliminator," Tesla was describing an invention
somewhat akin to Edwin Armstrong's FM radio scheme: a system which was
immune to thunderstorm static; such thunderstorm signals being AM-only.
In other words, FM radio is a "static eliminator" invention.
We have little direct evidence of how Tesla's version worked, but it
was probably a variation on Tesla's patent on spread-spectrum "frequency
hopping." Most probably it was a spinoff from what he called "Method of
Individuation," of secure and non-interceptable comms produced by his
"Sectional Circuits" and employing the concept of the "Wave-Complex."
Wave-Complex was a transmitted signal employing a beat-wave or
"line-splitting" frequency effect produced by an excited multi-resonator
device. In modern terms this was FHSS, a Spread-Spectrum comm system based
upon near-random Frequency-hopping. But Tesla's frequency-hopping was
analog, not digital; and his random hopping effect was produced naturally
via several interacting tuned circuits Tesla named "sectional circuits."
Visualize a radio receiiver with several tuning knobs for each channel,
rather than just one knob, and where thunderstorms cannot duplicate the
odd, multi-peak spectrum to which only the special receivers will respond.
"Static free" reception like FM! But based on a spread-spectrum
"Static Eliminator" was his cleaned-up prototype; a demonstration model to show off Tesla's unjammable "Method of Individuation" modulation scheme. See N. Tesla 1/1919 "The Effect of Statics on Wireless Transmission" also Horizontal-polarized antennas: Marconi/Weagant's 'static eliminator'
It is what I call a 'static preventer.' A great trouble, when I came to Colorado, was that I could not 'operate' at all. You know that the static interference is today the great bane of the wireless transmission. The reason for that is defective construction of the plants, but with this invention I am enabled to even make these defective plants operate satisfactorily.
17. THE TESLA-PROMOTERS ARE LYING. EVERYONE IS FAMILIAR WITH TESLA'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS!
18. TESLA IS SERBIAN! TESLA IS CROATIAN!
19. TESLA CAUSED THE TUNGUSKA BLASTThe idea that Tesla blew up the Tunguska forest seems to have been started by a 'psychic channeler' in the 1980s. It happened when he was asked (during a trance state) about the cause of the explosion. He said it was an experiment gone wrong, then in later questions revealed that it was Tesla's experiment. But besides 'psychic channelers,' there are even more problems with this explanation...
1. A 10 megaton blast, or about 40 billion megajoules, would require broadcasting radio energy at a level of 10 megawatts for 130 years (that is, if the process was 100% efficient, longer if not.) In other words, the power-grid connected to Wardenclyffe can't produce megaton-scale explosions.
So, Tesla could not have caused the blast unless...
So "Tunguska blasts" may possibly be man-made. Still there's #2, and it would require an antenna very much larger than Wardenclyffe's tower to be able to transmit anything more than a tiny-wattage signal at VLF wavelengths. Hmmm. Corum and Corum point out that a resonant cavity not only violates inverse-square law, but the built-up resonance violates antenna-impedance rules, and because of strong local standing-waves, an electrically-short "waveguide probe" can emit far more wattage than a quarter-wave ground-plane antenna tower. Even more: they find that a resonant "microwave probe" antenna can launch low-loss Zenneck surface-waves, while a quarter-wave tower only emits very lossy Norton surface-waves, the two very different solutions of Maxwellian wave-equations. Hrm. Maybe Tesla empirically discovered some very genuine EM physics which the scientific community declared "impossible," and weren't understood theoretically until the 1980-2010 era! Hmmm!
" "It is perfectly practicable to transmit electrical energy without wires and produce destructive effects at a distance. I have already constructed a wireless transmitter which makes this possible, and have described it in my technical publications, among which I may refer to my patent 1,119,732 recently granted. With transmitters of this kind we are enabled to project electrical energy in any amount to any distance and apply it for innumerable purposes, both in peace and war. ...the power transmitted need not be necessarily destructive, for, if existence is made to depend upon it, its withdrawal or supply will bring about the same results as those now accomplished by force of arms.So Tesla planned to put this in the hands of governments? Did he believe that elected officials were honest, ethical, and ran their lives by the rules of complete personal integrity? This never happened (unless it was built based on Tesla's private notes long after his death.) If it wasn't just delusional, Tesla kept it secret. Decades after 1915 Tesla said "It would be like giving a knife to an infant."
20. TESLA COILS ARE AMAZING LIGHTNING MACHINESActually, if they're making lightning, they're being misused according to Tesla. Tesla coils are radio devices better known as "Spark Transmitters." (...theatrical coils used for decades in Vaudeville and Side Shows)
21. TESLA COILS ARE ALWAYS HORIZONTAL AND UNGROUNDED. ANY VERTICAL COIL IS AN OUDIN COIL.
Back before WWII, this strange notion was heavily propagated by hobbyist
radio magazines. Vertical coils are always called "Oudin Coils?" But
used both configurations. (coughWardenclyffe&Colorado) Perhaps the idea
was motivated by confusion over Marconi's stolen "Spark Transmitter"
system ...which of course was a Tesla Coil.
The "Tesla coil" was actually invented by three separate people: Thompson,
Oudin, and Tesla. Their discoveries were independent. Thompson and Tesla
both investigated capacitor-discharge, and found that the damped ringing
impulses could be stepped up to high voltage. But when Thompson and Tesla
faced off in the press, Thompson politely backed down and gave the credit
to Tesla. At about the same time Oudin in France was doing the same
thing. Oudin's was a single coil with a clamp-on tap (although a similar
setup appears in Tesla's 1892 presentation to the Royal Society.)
More important, Oudin's was
exclusively a medical invention for "electrical therapy," while Tesla's
was intended to be a radio transmitter. So, an Oudin coil *IS* a Tesla
coil, which *IS* a Thompson coil.
22. TESLA DISCOVERED RADIO!
On numerous occasions Tesla insisted that his invention was not radio,
and that Marconi's radio was feeble and usless. According to Tesla the
so-called "Hertzian waves" might work for line-of-sight signalling but not
for powering an advanced worldwide civilization.
Tesla's "non-radio wireless" sprang out of his early attempts to light up
the sky itself, eliminating night and any need for lightbulbs. He did
by producing some sort of guided-lightning discharge up to what's now
called the Ionosphere, and then using a huge transmitter to run the
Ionosphere like a giant fluroescent glow-lamp. He also found that this
glow-discharge in low pressure was the same as a conductor; a power line
across the sky which wrapped around the entire Earth. This was the origin
"Wireless Power" system. He even
patented it, and when the USPTO rejected his initial application, he had
of that office come and see his protoptype: two HV coils connected by
yards of hollow glass pipe, with the pipe pumped down to near vacuum. It
was like a neon-sign being used as a wire; a high-volt, low current
transmission line, the same as conventional power lines,
but without using metal cables. He demonstrated that he could send
kilowatts and drive
large electrical loads at the step-down coil at the far end of the pipe.
It's now one of Tesla's patents.
But what about Marconi? Marconi history suggests a direct theft of
Tesla's invention, but only for powering a radio transmitter and not a
whole-sky lightning discharge. Marconi's early publicity campaign zeroed
on his "whip crack" system, his brief impulses with damped sine waves.
Supposedly this pulse signal would reach much farther than competitors.
(The competitor was Tesla, with his high-power "CW" continuous sine
waves.) Marconi had been working with the head of the British Post
Office, William Preece. Marconi found that his system couldn't be
received further than a few tens of miles, and Preece insisted that
Marconi deal with
Tesla, to license Tesla's system with its much longer range. Marconi
didn't. At this time Preece suddenly dropped out, Marconi went silent
about the glories of "whip-crack," and Marconi's transmitters suddenly
started broacasting over hundred of miles. Almost certainly this is the
point when Marconi gave up his broadband single-resonator transmitters
started employing Tesla's narrow-tuned CW, the "two resonators each at
receiver, with all four tuned to the same frequency." This radio system
was Tesla's patented invention (also known as a "Tesla Oscillator.") And
after the big legal battle, the "four resonators" description became the
legal definition of Radio. In other words, Radio is actually a pair of
distant Tesla coils connected to long-wire antennas.
So, Tesla invented radio because Tesla's sytem won the race, and
Marconi took it entire, without paying a cent to Tesla. But Tesla didn't
invent radio, because Tesla had only little interest in sending feeble
useless Morse Code signals to distant ships or between the continents.
Tesla instead wanted to power those ships with his
transmitter ...as well as powering every train and car across the planet,
as well lighting the sky and eliminating night.
23. TESLA WAS THE REAL INVENTOR OF...
Tesla has a patent on what appears to be shielded coax. But something seems fishy. His shield isn't grounded. Also, it's chopped up into segments. But it's not mysterious. Anyone involved in extreme high voltage will recognize it. It's a stack of equipotential rings! It's used to surround any long, high-voltage conductor. It's the same thing placed upon the columns of VandeGraaffs or Pelletrons, or along the drift-tube of a particle accelerator. It only functions at extreme high voltage. It's there to smooth out the voltage-fields around the conductor, preventing hotspots which may deflect a particle beam. Its second purpose is to prevent unwanted leakage (or direct discharges) between the high-volt interior and the outside air. It's a shield, but a charged electrostatic shield, and nothing like the grounded "Faraday Cage" of modern coaxial cables. Tesla's device actually only works at high voltages, where slow ion-leakage (or high-freq capacitance) causes the surrounding air to become conductive. This produces a sort of "voltage-divider effect" in the air, and that will charge up the stack of rings to the same potential as the air at that spot. The overall smoothness of the long ring-stack will eliminate any high-field point from which ion-plumes or lightning bolts may trigger. At smaller values of high voltage, the rings aren't the only valid configuration, and a chain of separate metal pipes could be used. But up in the higher megavolts we'd use a stack of polished rings with gaps between.
This was a very useful invention for anyone who wanted to connect the top
of a Tesla coil to a long cable, and either hang the cable at the ceiling
for powering wireless home appliances, or to send the cable off to
devices. Without the chain of pipes to cover the conductor, huge
lightning bolts would spring from all along its length. Obviously the
pipes could not be grounded, since that would just short out the whole
system with power-arcs to the cable. But why the segments? That's
for two reasons: with a thin cable, the cable acts as a resistor, and the
a high voltage may develop lengthwise. The pipe must maintain very small
voltage inside, and breaking it up into segments lets this happen.
Second, at high enough AC frequency, the cable starts to behave as an
antenna, or at least as a waveguide. The voltage at one spot won't be the
same as the voltage farther along. So, the outer pipe needs to be split
into segments which are far shorter than one-fourth wavelength at the
3. Neon signs
4. Fluorescent lighting
5. Earthquake machine
6. Car speedometer
7. Automobile spark-ignition
24. EDISON BURNED DOWN TESLA'S LAB IN COLORADONo, don't be misled by stuff you see on TV. "The Prestige" got it wrong, and Tesla's CS lab was never burned down at all. Tesla went back to NYC, and had much of the lab sold off as scrap.
25. OK, THEN EDISON BURNED DOWN TESLA'S LAB IN NYCUmm...