while only an obscure unit of magnetic flux density remembers Tesla. It is in respect to Tesla that I have reverted to the old unit in this book. Hertzian radio is straight-line, light-like radiation's that bounce off hills and mountains. Long distance Hertzian transmissions are explained in terms of radiation's bouncing off a radio reflective upper layer called the ionosphere. Tesla thought this was all nonsense and declared in 1919 that Hertzian thinking has stifled creative effort in the wireless art and retarded it for 25 years. Hertzian radio is aerial.
Most of us are conditioned to thinking in terms of aerial radio; the air waves, on the air. Tesla's radio is grounded; the lower end of the energized coil is rooted in the earth. Pure Hertzian radio has no such natural load. Tesla doesn't speak of antennas as such; the element he places aloft is an elevated capacity. Tesla said radio devices should be designed with due regard to the physical properties of this planet and the electrical conditions obtaining in same. Grounded radio is indeed more powerful than the Hertzian aerial. But this is true particularly for the frequencies Tesla was using. The higher frequencies do behave in a Hertzian manner. Yet grounding is all but a lost concept in consumer electronics. Up through the 1940's, AM radio receivers customarily had a terminal one was encouraged to connect to a cold water pipe or other deep earth connection. Ground the chassis of any of today's receivers, and, unless there is some kind of interference coming up through the ground (from fluorescent circuits, light dimmers, which are oscillators, or from the local Tesla coil), you will usually improve signal strength and range.
Among Tesla's contributions to radio was remote control. Tesla demonstrated a radio-controlled boat before crowds at Madison Square Gardens and sent another robot craft 25 miles up the Hudson River. Grounded radio works particularly well through water. Tesla's basic radio tuning tank circuit for receiving (coil plus capacitor between antenna and ground) was, and is, all by itself, a powerful signal amplifier, and a beautifully simple one, at that. But as radio developed over the years, the tank circuit shrank in size and the result was a loss in gain. This was compensated for by the addition of stage upon stage of complex amplification circuitry.
Tesla watched this development with bewilderment. Tesla knew that the most efficient long-distance radio took place in the lower frequencies, especially those close to the earth-resonant frequency. Frequencies well below the AM broadcast band were the favored ham frequencies in the early days prior to World War I. In fact, waves of 600 meters (500 kc) were considered short while considered fairly long were the waves of 1200 meters (25 kc). Like a lot of good real estate, many of these more radio-effective frequencies below the AM broadcast band have been appropriated for military use, but also for navigation beacons, weather stations, and time registers.
The mind conditioned by Hertzian aerial radio concepts has trouble grasping the idea that signaling can take place without any above-surface antenna, totally through the ground. James Harris Rogers, taking a cue from Tesla, circa World War I, built a radio system in which both sending and receiving antennas were sunk completely into the ground or submerged in bodies of water. He found this system far more effective and far less vulnerable to interference than any aerial radio Signal strength has been said to be 5,000 times stronger
The military is on to this, as evidenced in the Navy's ELF and by a U. S. Air Force project underway called Ground Wave Emergency Network. GWEN is a low-frequency communications system designed for used during a nuclear war. The network will have a cross-continent series of 600-foot diameter underground copper screens connected to 300-foot towers reminiscent of Tesla's Wardenclyffe.
Among the advantages of the system is its invulnerability to the effects of the electric pulse sent out by nuclear blasts. Such a pulse fries at one stroke any and all solid-state electronics within its extensive range. (Strong electric vibrations from a Tesla coil or magnifying transmitter have a similar effect on solid state and will scramble or disable such circuitry temporarily or even dud it permanently.) It's revealing that for last-ditch doomsday communications, the government reverts to Tesla's grounded radio.
J. P. Morgan sinks Tesla
Tesla's ambitious World System came to an end when its principal financier, J. P. Morgan pulled the plug on funding. Morgan, the financial giant behind the formation of many monopolies in railroads, shipping, steel, banking, etc., was a major conduit of European capital into U. S. industrial development in the Robber Baron era. He looms large in Tesla's life. Morgan money was in the Niagara Falls project. He backed Edison, too. It was Morgan's pressure on Westinghouse, whom he also financed, that caused the cancellation of Tesla's dollar-a-horsepower contract and the loss of millions in royalties to Tesla for his poly phase.
When Tesla's lab burned down (arson was suspected), one of Morgan's men promptly arrived with aid, as well as with the offer of a partnership with Morgan interests. Acceptance would have put Tesla firmly under Morgan's control. Tesla refused. And Tesla succeeded in preserving his autonomy until he became possessed with overwhelming ardor to fulfill the dream of his World system. Tesla was ready to sell his soul to finance Wardenclyffe, and J. P. Morgan was right there to buy it.
In 1901, Tesla signed over to Morgan controlling interest in the patents he still owned, as well as all future ones, in lighting and radio. Morgan then put about $150,000 startup funding into Wardenclyffe. Later he invested more, just enough to bring the project within sight of completion. Morgan then became elusive. Tesla tried desperately to communicate with the investor, but to no avail. When word was out on Wall Street that Morgan had withdrawn support, no one would touch the project. This finished Tesla as a functioning inventor. Work on the Wardenclyffe tower came to a halt. Left to dereliction, the tower remained only as a curiosity to passersby. During World War I, the tower was unceremoniously dynamited to the ground.
In 1891 Tesla said that existing methods of lighting were very wasteful, that some better methods must be invented, some more perfect apparatus devised. Tesla went and did just that. Yet, here we are today, in a world lit predominantly by the same Edison bulb! Edison's bulb burns with six percent efficiency, the rest going off as heat, while the high resistance filament cooks at 4,000 degrees and eventually breaks without warning. Today's fluorescent tube, though inspired by Tesla, is no model of efficiency either.
Its inner surfaces are stimulated to phosphorescence by energy-consuming filament-like cathodes that also burn out, and the lit-up tube would present a dead short to the current if it were not for the so-called ballast transformer, an inductance placed in the circuit to oppose and thus eat up yet more current. What sent Tesla into an exploration of high frequency phenomena was his conviction that these rapid vibrations held the key to a superior mode of lighting. The explorations were not Tesla's first venture into lighting. His very first U. S. patent (1885) is for an improvement in the arc lamp. He used an electromagnet to feed carbons to the arc at a uniform rate to produce a steadier light (No. 335,785).
Early arc lamps produced a brilliant blue-white light, good for street lighting but not for the home, and they emitted noxious fumes. Home lighting was by gas. Street arc lighting used series circuits. Edison introduced the parallel circuit, and designed his lamp for such a circuit. Edison introduced the big scale production and sale of electric power itself on the model of gas lighting, a major industry at the time. He wanted to be first in the business and announced to the press that he had an operable bulb before he actually had a bulb that worked. When Tesla's a.c. system was established, it was grafted on to Edison's, greatly extending its range and efficiency. But, essentially, it was still Edison's parallel circuit, high consumption, incandescent lighting system, and this is what we have to live with today.
A better way
Tesla patented both his spark-gap oscillator and his Tesla coil specifically as power sources for a new lighting system that used currents of high frequency and high potential. Lest you get the impression that a lone genius named Tesla invented this new form of lighting out of the blue, you should know that others before him had used high frequencies to stimulate light, and others, like Sir William Crookes, had done the same with high potentials, but Tesla was the first on record to put the two together.
In Jules Verne's 1872 novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth, the narrator tells of a brilliant portable battery lamp used by the underground explorers. The device was powered by a Ruhmkorf coil; a high voltage buzzer-type induction coil (step-up transformer) popular among early electrical experimenters. The Ruhmkorf coil stimulated a lamp (type unspecified but probably a gas tube), which produced the light of an artificial day. The lamp had such a low current draw that the battery lasted throughout the subterranean adventure. Verne evidently was drawing, at least in part, on experimental knowledge of his day for what he calls this ingenious application of electricity to practical purposes.
Perhaps somebody should reinvent such a high potential lamp to replace today's flashlight, which seems to exist for the purpose of enriching the Eveready division of Union Carbide. Modern neon lighting is high potential at 2,000 to 15,000 volts. (Neon sign transformers are good for powering tesla coils, but a low-frequency, high voltage device: caution.) Neon, as well as its cousin, 7,500-volt cold cathode (filament's) fluorescent, which is used in some industrial lighting, is as close as we get to Tesla lighting today.
Circa 1900, Tesla experimented with luminous tubes bent into alphabetic characters and other shapes. Although today's neon is simplistic Tesla, being driven by 60-cycle high-voltage transformer power alone without the benefits of high-frequency excitation, it should suggest to us the amazing efficiency of high-potential lighting, since a single 15,000-volt neon transformer drawing only 230 watts can light up a tube extending up to 120 feet. How superior is the economy of Tesla high potential, high frequency lighting over Edison incandescent? Tesla says certainly 20 times, if not more light is obtained for the same expenditure of energy.
Tesla invented a variety of lamps, not all of which show up in his patents. He lit up solid bodies like carbon rods in vacuum bulbs, or in bulbs containing various inert gases at low pressure (rarefied). He noted that tubes devoid of any electrodes may be used, and there is no difficulty in producing by their means light to read by. But he noted that the effect is considerably increased by the use of phosphorescent bodies, such as yttrium, uranium glass, etc. Here Tesla lays the foundation for fluorescent lighting. Applied to such lamps were currents at potentials ranging from a lower limit of 20,000 volts up to voltages in the millions and vibrations of 15,000 cycles per second and up.
Tesla dreamed of creating what he called pure light or cold light by generating electric vibrations at frequencies that equaled those of visible light itself. Light produced by this direct and efficient means would require vibrations of 350 to 750 billion cycles, but Tesla believed such oscillations, far above those attainable by his coils, would someday be achieved. Even so, his rarefied gas-tube lamps produced a light that more closely approximated natural daylight than any other artificial source Tesla's light is like the full-spectrum light that is coming to be recognized as far more healthful than Edison incandescent and particularly more healthful than conventional fluorescent. Full-spectrum lighting is believed by some health practitioners actually to have healing properties.
No sudden burnout
Tesla's gas tube lamps burn indefinitely, as do today's neon tubes, for there is nothing within to be consumed. Tesla's lamps that contain electrodes like carbon rods, however, do undergo some deterioration. In Tesla's words, a very slow destruction and gradual diminution in size always occurs, as in incandescent filaments; but there is no possibility of sudden and premature disabling which occurs in the latter by the breaking of the filament, especially when incandescent bodies are in the shape of blocks. In vacuum lamps, the life of the bulb depends upon the degree of exhaustion, which can never be made perfect. Also, the higher the frequency applied to such a lamp the slower the deterioration. Electrodes glow at high temperatures, and this raises the problem of how to conduct energy to them since wires or other metallic elements will melt. The problem must be addressed in lamp design. For example, in the incandescent lamp shown at the opening of this chapter, the lead-in wires connect to the hot electrodes via bronze powder contained in a refractory cup. Tesla may have designed his capacitor-base bulbs to help address this same problem.
Tesla's search for the ideal electrode is reminiscent of Edison's search for the long lasting filament: The production of a small electrode capable of withstanding enormous temperatures, said Tesla, ìI regard as the greatest importance in the manufacture of light. One of the electrodes he tried was a small button of carbon, which he placed in a near vacuum. Tesla regarded the high incandescence of the button to be a necessary evil. For lighting purposes, it was the incandescence of the gas remaining in the mostly evacuated chamber that was important. But the carbon-button lamp proved to have some remarkable properties beyond its use for illumination. When the voltage was turned up, the lamp produced such tremendous heat that the carbon button rapidly vaporized. Tesla experimented extensively with this fascinating phenomenon. For the button of carbon he substituted zirconium, the most refractory substance available at the time. It fused instantly. Even rubies vaporized. Diamonds, and, to a greater degree, carborundum, endured the best, but these could also be vaporized at high potentials.
Tesla worked on the problem of heating. I have read that he contributed to the development of a high-frequency induction heating. Did Tesla work on the problem of space heating? Certainly the huge current draw of conventional electric heaters, which use resistive elements, argues for some inventiveness in this area. Tesla did observe that the discharges from a tesla coil resembled flames escaping under pressure and were indeed hot. He reflected that a similar process must take place in the ordinary flame, that this might be an electric phenomenon. He said that electric discharges might be a possible way of producing by other than chemical means a veritable flame which would give light and heat without material consumed. The behavior of the carbon-button lamp suggests that a new heating mode might be found in the effects of high-frequency currents in a vacuum.
Lighting up the sky
Hold a fluorescent tube near a Tesla coil and it will light up in your hand. This is true of any tube or bulb with vacuum or rarefied gas. A more efficient way is to ground one end of the tube and put a length of wire as a sort of antenna on the other. Better yet, put a coil of wire that resonates with the secondary in series with the tube and ground and you have the optimal wireless power arrangement.
Tesla conducted many experiments with different arrangements like this, using on some occasions the widely available Edison filament incandescent, which lighted up more brilliantly than usual because of the effects of high frequencies on the bulbs rarefied interior. Inside his New York lab Tesla strung a wire connected to a tesla coil around the perimeter of the room. Wherever he needed light he hung a gas tube in the vicinity of this high frequency conductor.
Tesla had a bold fantasy whereby he would use the principle of rarefied gas luminescence to light up the sky at night. High frequency electric energy would be transmitted, perhaps by an ionizing beam of ultraviolet radiation, into the upper atmosphere, where gases are at relatively low pressure, so that this layer would behave like a luminous tube. Sky lighting, he said, would reduce the need for street lighting, and facilitate the movement of ocean going vessels. The aurora borealis is an electrical phenomenon that works on this principle, the effects of cosmic eruptions such as those from the sun being the source of electric stimulation. I, for one, am grateful that this particular Tesla fantasy never materialized since it is difficult enough to see the stars with existing light pollution, and there might be undesirable biological impacts as well.
Tesla took an evacuated incandescent type lamp globe, suspended within it at dead center a conductive element, stimulated that element with high voltage currents from an induction coil, and thus created a beam-like emanation, a brush discharge that was so eerily sensitive to disturbances in its environs that it seemed to be endowed with an intelligent life of its own. The device works best if there is no lead-in wire. In the bulb shown, every measure has been taken to construct it so it is free from its own electrical influence. The bulb could be stimulated inductively by applying energy to metal foil wrapped around its neck. Thus excited, an intense phosphorescence then spreads at first over the globe, but soon gives place to a white misty light, observes Tesla. The glow then resolves into a directional brush or beam that will spin around the central element. So responsive is it to any electrostatic or magnetic changes in its vicinity that the approach of an observer at a few paces from the bulb will cause the brush to fly to the opposite side. A small, inch-wide permanent magnet will affect it visibly at a distance of two meters, slowing down or accelerating the rotation according to how it is held relatively to the brush.
Tesla never patented the rotating brush or used it in any practical application, but he believed it could have practical applications. He saw one use in radio where the device could conceivably be adapted to being a most sensitive detector of disturbances in the medium. The rotating brush appears to be a precursor of the plasma globe toys now in fashion; these are sometimes called Tesla globes. Tesla's new lighting was famous in its time. Tesla, the promoter, saw to it. He conducted demonstrations at lectures before the electric industry associations, before large audiences in rented halls, and before select groups of influential New Yorkers in his Manhattan lab.
His articles about the new lighting were published in the popular scientific press and it was reported in the newspapers. Still, it did not catch on with the powers-that-be who no doubt saw in it Tesla's perennial pile-of scrap problem. But, I wonder, would the whole electric distribution system have to be scrapped to implement the efficiencies of Tesla lighting? Conceivably, the new lighting could be run off of local oscillators at the consumer end, the old power distribution system remaining intact. This is still a possibility, as it has been for about one hundred years.
Tesla speculated, that, perhaps the most valuable application of wireless energy, will be the propulsion of the flying machine, which will carry no fuel and be free from any limitations of the present airplanes and dirigibles. The possibility of electric flight intrigued Tesla, though he never did patent an electric aircraft. But he did patent an electric railway using his high frequency, high-potential electricity in a by-wire mode, and also patented a radical aircraft that, while not electric, did have an advanced power plant: his disk turbine. Tesla's railway and aircraft can be numbered among the lost inventions. The closest transport technology has come to putting any of Tesla into actual practice is with diesel-electric power using Tesla poly phase motors, an early and notable example of which was the ocean liner Normandy. In the field of transport, Tesla is more commonly identified with antigravity flight and UFOs. Although this identification is based upon nothing more than a few public utterances, his suggestions charge the imagination with possibilities.
Tesla's high-frequency, high-potential railway picks up its power inductively without the use of the rolling or sliding contacts used in conventional trolley or third-rail systems. A pickup bar travels near a cable carrying the oscillating energy. This cable, which Tesla specifically invented to carry such currents, is the precursor of the grounded shielded cable used today to carry TV and other high-frequency signals. But unlike today's cables, which carry energy only of signal strength and shield by means of a continuous grounded static screen of fine braided copper wire, Tesla's high voltage cable uses metal pipe or screen that is broken up into short lengths, very much shorter, says Tesla in his patent, than the wave lengths of the current used. This feature reduces loss. Since the shielding must not be interrupted, the short sections are made to overlap but are insulated from one another. To further reduce loss to ground, an inductance of high ohmic resistance or a small capacity is placed in the ground line.
A conundrum raised by Tesla's railway patent is that the vehicle is powered by an electric motor, but nowhere among Tesla's inventions is to be found an electric motor that runs off of high-frequency currents. Was Tesla planning to use a lower frequency here, something under 1,000 cycles? Did he have a converter in mind that could bring the frequency down? Or did Tesla invent a high-frequency motor that never made it into patent, an invention that may be among his unpublished notes? Anyway, Tesla proceeds in many of his discussions of high-frequency power as if this problem were solved. I've seen references post-Tesla to the existence of such a motor. Free-energy inventor, Hermann Plauson, (next chapter) refers to high-frequency motors. These motors have magnetic cores made of very thin laminations insulated from each other, a design that would limit damping effects.
Tesla's only patented aircraft is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) plane that he intended as an improvement upon the helicopter, already invented at this time (1921): The helicopter type of flying machine, especially with large inclination angle of the propeller axis to the horizontal, at which it is generally expected to operate, is quite unsuitable for speedy aerial transport; it is incapable of proceeding horizontally along a straight line under prevailing air conditions; it is subject to dangerous plunges and oscillations ... and it is almost certainly doomed to destruction in case the motive power gives out. Advances in helicopter design may have mitigated some of these problems, but at least the last one still holds true: Tesla's craft, which has a large wing area, is powered by two disk turbines, rotating in opposite directions. The engineering problem of swinging the pilot and passengers around 90 degrees after takeoff, is solved at least to Tesla's satisfaction. There have been some experimental VTOL's but nothing in production.
Tesla's dream electric aircraft would be powered by means of magnifying transmitters: Aerial machines will be propelled around the earth without a stop. Also, in 1900, he predicted a cold coal battery with such output that a practical flying machine would be possible. Such a battery also would enormously enhance the introduction of the automobile. Tesla fantasized a personal aerial taxi which could be folded into a six-foot cube, and would weigh under 250 lb.: It can be run through the streets and put in a garage, if desired, just like an automobile.
Explaining how his earth-resonant wireless-power system could energize vehicles aloft, he said, power can be readily supplied without ground connection, for, although the flow is confined to earth, an electromagnetic field is created in the atmosphere surrounding it. Tesla believed such a system to be the ultimate method of man-made flight: With an industrial plant of great capacity, sufficient power can be derived in this manner to propel any kind of aerial machine. This I have always considered the best and permanent solution to the problems of flight. No fuel of any kind will be required as the propulsion will be accomplished by light electric motors operated at great speed.
Tesla wrote in 1900 of an antigravity motor: Imagine a disk of some homogeneous material turned perfectly true and arranged to turn in friction less bearings on a horizontal shaft above the ground. Now, it is possible that we may learn how to make such a disk rotate continuously and perform work by the force of gravity. To do so, he said, we have only to invent a screen against this force. By such a screen we could prevent this force from acting on one-half of the disk, and rotation of the latter would follow.
Does it not follow then, that such a gravity screen could also be used to levitate a vehicle? Tesla held no patent on such a device or on any other antigravity device, and there are no published notes on experimentation in the area. Nevertheless, Tesla inevitably pops up in the literature of antigravity and UFOs. This may be because Tesla was a prominent exponent of a physics in which antigravity seems more feasible because gravity is better explained.
A researcher-theorist of today, Thomas Bearden, allows for gravity control in the physics he calls the new Tesla electromagnetic. Scalar (standing) waves in time itself can be produced electrically and this becomes a magic tool capable of directly affecting and altering anything that exists in time, including gravitational fields, says Bearden. In 1931 the editor of Science And Mechanics, Hugo Gernsback reported, It is believed by many scientists today that the force of gravitation is merely another manifestation of electromagnetic waves. Edward Farrow, a New York inventor, reported in 1911 an antigravity effect produced by a ring of spark gaps. When the gaps were fired, the device, called a condensing dynamo, lost one-sixth of its weight. T. Henry Moray wrote, Frequencies may be developed which will balance the force of gravity to a point of neutralization. Antigravity researcher Richard Lefors Clark places the frequency of gravity's vibrations right at Nature's neutral center in the radiant energy spectrum, above radar and below infrared, at l012 cycles per second.
8. Free-Energy Receiver
For starters, think of this as a solar-electric panel. Tesla's invention is very different, but the closest thing to it in conventional technology is in photovoltaic. One radical difference is that conventional solar-electric panels consist of a substrate coated with crystalline silicon; the latest use amorphous silicon. Conventional solar panels are expensive, and, whatever the coating, they are manufactured by esoteric processes. But Tesla's solar panel is just a shiny metal plate with a transparent coating of some insulating material, which today could be a spray plastic. Stick one of these antenna-like panels up in the air, the higher the better, and wire it to one side of a capacitor, the other going to a good earth ground. Now the energy from the sun is charging that capacitor. Connect across the capacitor some sort of switching device so that it can be discharged arrhythmic intervals, and you have an electric output. Tesla's patent is telling us that it is that simple to get electric energy. The bigger the area of the insulated plate, the more energy you get. But this is more than a solar panel because it does not necessarily need sunshine to operate. It also produces power at night Of course; this is impossible according to official science.
For this reason, you could not get a patent on such an invention today. Many an inventor has learned this the hard way. Tesla had his problems with the patent examiners, but today's free-energy inventor has it much tougher. Tesla's free-energy receiver was patented in 1901 as An Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy. The patent refers to the sun, as well as other sources of radiant energy, like cosmic rays. That the device works at night is explained in terms of the nighttime availability of cosmic rays.
Tesla also refers to the ground as a vast reservoir of negative electricity. Tesla was fascinated by radiant energy and its free-energy possibilities. He called the Crooke's radiometer (a device which has vanes that spin in a vacuum when exposed to radiant energy) a beautiful invention. He believed that it would become possible to harness energy directly by connecting to the very wheelwork of nature. His free-energy receiver is as close as he ever came to such a device in his patented work. But on his 76th birthday at the ritual press conference, Tesla (who was without the financial wherewithal to patent but went on inventing in his head) announced a cosmic-ray motor. When asked if it was more powerful than the Crooke's radiometer, he answered, thousands of times more powerful.
how it works
From the electric potential that exists between the elevated plate (plus) and the ground (minus), energy builds in the capacitor, and, after a suitable time interval, the accumulated energy will manifest itself in a powerful discharge which can do work. The capacitor, says Tesla should be of considerable electrostatic capacity and its dielectric made of the best quality mica, for it has to with stand potentials that could rupture a weaker dielectric.
Tesla gives various options for the switching device. One is a rotary switch that resembles a Tesla circuit controller. Another is an electrostatic device consisting of two very light, membranous conductors suspended in a vacuum. These sense the energy buildup in the capacitor, one going positive, the other negative, and, at a certain charge level, are attracted, touch, and thus fire the capacitor. Tesla also mentions another switching device consisting of a minute air gap or weak dielectric film, which breaks down suddenly when a certain potential is reached. The above is about all the technical detail you get in the patent.
Tesla's invention may have helped to inspire the many other inventors who have worked in the field of free energy. At least a dozen are on record. Let's look at one in particular. In 1921 Hermann Plauson, a German experimenter, succeeded in obtaining patents, including one in the U. S., for Conversion of Atmospheric Electric Energy. In school, every introduction to electricity touches on the phenomenon of so-called static (or electrostatic) electricity, and this is what Plauson means by atmospheric. Static electricity is built-up charge, electricity in a raw state, and it comes easy in Nature, as evidenced by lightning and the aurora borealis.
If you have ever seen a frictional static machine in operation, it's not difficult to imagine the tremendous potential in artificially produced static. A rotating disk type of static machine or the silk belt type, as in the Van de Graff generator, produces discharges like those from a tesla coil. Unfortunately, in school, the subject of static electricity is briefly touched upon and then abruptly dropped, never to be mentioned again. Electrical power sources thereafter are limited to the battery or the wall socket.
How it works
In the Plauson drawing the free energy converter on the left interfaces with a disk type static machine via special pick up combs. When the static collecting disk is rotated, the combs pick up the charge, one comb going positive, and the other negative. The combs, in turn, charge up their respective capacitors until sufficiently high potential builds to jump the spark gap. The oscillatory discharge is induced into the transformer primary. This is high-voltage, high frequency electric energy. The familiar spark-gap oscillator has turned charge into dynamic energy.
The transformer steps down the vibrating high voltage to practical levels to power lighting, heating, and special high-frequency motors. The Plauson patent drawing shows a device that works on the same principle but collects energy by means of an antenna, as does Tesla's receiver. Since the higher the antenna the better, and the more area the better, Plauson favors big metallic helium balloons. Plauson says the safety gap, which has three times the resistance of the working gap, is absolutely necessary for collecting large quantities of charge. The capacitors across the gaps in the series safety gap allow for uniform sparking. Plauson's device suggests that Tesla's might be explained in terms of electrostatics.
Tesla, at the press conference honoring his 77th birthday in 1933 declared that electric power was everywhere present in unlimited quantities and could drive the worlds machinery without the need of coal, oil, gas, or any other fuels. A reporter asked if the sudden introduction of his principle wouldn't upset the present economic system...
Tesla replied, "It is badly upset already."