Tesla's vision of wireless energy

The notion of connecting people and technology around the globe dates back to the time of Tesla’s experiments with the most ambitious
project he had ever worked on – The World Wireless System.
But the feasibility of Tesla’s visionary idea of transmitting energy wirelessly remains a mystery to this day.

Apparatus for Transmitting Electrical EnergyNikola Tesla Museum

Having successfully completed his work on the AC motor, Tesla switched his focus to the field of wireless communication and energy transmission.

At this time, messages could only be transmitted through wires - that is, using telegraphy.

But by the end of the 19th century he had built the foundation for modern-day telecommunications.

Oscillating TransformerNikola Tesla Museum

Unlike his fellow scientists, whose experiments with radio signals were mainly academic and produced little practical benefit, Tesla’s experiments had tangible results.

For the first time in history, messages could be sent through the air.

Eliminator of Static ElectricityNikola Tesla Museum

Ofcourse, Tesla had to fend off repeated attempts by peers who tried to take credit for his discoveries.

It was only years later, in 1943, that Tesla secured patents for radio transmission from the US Supreme Court.

Remote Control BoatNikola Tesla Museum

At the 1892 Madison Square Garden Electric appliances Exhibition, Tesla showed to the public another revolutionary application of his work on wireless signal transmission: vehicles that could be remote-controlled.

Visitors were shoked and amazed as Tesla wirelessly maneuvered a boat he called the Teleautomaton.

Remote Control BoatNikola Tesla Museum

At the push of several buttons, Tesla could transmit stearing commands through air.

Having never seen such a performance before, spectators thought they were witnessing some kind of a magic trick.

Experiments in Colorado Springs laboratoryNikola Tesla Museum

Naturally, Tesla's next goal was to enable long-distance signal transmission. He made great progress with the oscillating transformer now known as the Tesla coil.

It was a machine capable of producing electric power at a higher voltage and frequency than ever before.

In 1890, Tesla secured this patent.

Oscillating Transformer Made for PresentationNikola Tesla Museum

Tesla's prototype of oscillating transformer, based on his own project and drawings.

Experiments in Colorado Springs laboratory.Nikola Tesla Museum

Beginning of the Wireless Journey

In order to make his big project work, Tesla built a large new laboratory in Colorado Springs in 1899. There, he set up his powerful 12-million-volt transformer. On a stormy day, while conducting experiments, Tesla’s measuring devices began to show interesting results.

Tesla's Laboratory in Colorado SpringsNikola Tesla Museum

It was then, with the help of electric discharge from the lightning, that he made a discovery of stationary waves – currents that flow through the surface of the Earth.

Laboratory in Colorado SpringsNikola Tesla Museum

Tesla understood that wireless transmission could be achieved by inducing electrical oscillations with his transformer and by using the Earth as a natural conductor.

He only needed to understand the law by which these currents work.

Tesla's Experiment with Wireless TransmissionNikola Tesla Museum

In 1900 Tesla started his new goal pursuit.

Letterhead of Tesla's CompanyNikola Tesla Museum

New grandiose idea was on the rise.
Tesla envisioned a World Wireless System – the first global system in the history of mankind.

Relation Between the Surface of the Earth and Layers of the AirNikola Tesla Museum

New Possibilities

Tesla dedicated his scientific enquiries to improving people's quality of life. He indicated two major benefits of his new discoveries in the field of wireless energy transmission: significant reduction of energy supply price and connecting of people in uncredible new ways.

Pages from Long Island JournalNikola Tesla Museum

He quickly became aware of the enormous fossil fuel consumption and started emphasizing the importance of the alternative energy sources.

Tesla proposed the use of geothermal energy, hydropower and wind power.

But it wasn't until the late 1950s the formal theories about the unsustainability of fossil fuels emerged.

Letter to MorganNikola Tesla Museum

Aware of Tesla's talents and commercial potential of the wireless project, JP Morgan decided to become his patron. He made a large investment in Tesla's idea.

JP Morgan is known for being the first person to have electric lighting installed at home.

Tesla's Laboratory on Long IslandNikola Tesla Museum

In 1901 construction of Tesla's new laboratory at Wardenclyffe on Long Island began.

Tesla's Laboratory in Long IslandNikola Tesla Museum

Laboratory in Long IslandNikola Tesla Museum

Tesla's Long Island laboratory included a 60-meter-tall tower, known as the Wardenclyffe Tower.

This imposing antenna was specially designed and constructed for the wireless transmission of energy.

J. P. MorganNikola Tesla Museum

The crash

In the middle of construction works, disturbing news hit – American market crashed.

For Tesla this meant abolishment of his project. Majority of the financiers took a step back, due to a risky moment for any investment.
J.P. Morgan stopped his involvement in the World Wireless System project.

Tesla's DeclarationNikola Tesla Museum

Tesla was devastated. His efforts were in vain.

The world only began to recognize his breakthroughs in wireless technology many decades later.

U.S. Blows Up Tesla Radio TowerNikola Tesla Museum

The Wardenclyffe tower didn't last long either.
It was blown up in 1917 in misterious circumstance.

Tesla's PortraitNikola Tesla Museum

The question remains to this day - what would wireless communication look like today, had Tesla had the chance to complete his World Wireless System?

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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