about Nikola Tesla




Tesla coil laboratory - Masque teatro


When we first heard about the incredible story of Nikola Tesla, it often came to our minds that we could be dealing with a sort of urban legend: how was it possible that the man who created the first power station in the world by harnessing the Niagara falls, would be a complete unknown and driven into the corner of past century's scientific and human history, a century where he surely was the main character?
It didn’t seem to contribute to the fame of the Serb scientist the fact that he invented the three-phase system of electric power distribution that we use nowadays to fuel our industries and our houses, and that he owned the patents of the first alternating current engine and of the first appliance for radio transmission (until the sensational recognition, in 1943, from the Supreme Court of the United States, of the authorship for the invention of the radio, to the detriment of the Italian Guglielmo Marconi).
To the question “who is the greatest hacker of all times?”, someone could answer Adrian Lamo, others Kevin Mitnick, others Steve Wozniak from Apple or Richard Stallman from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but we can assert with no doubt that was Nikola Tesla.

When the first lightning fell down (115 cm in lenght, quite small compared to the ones produced by Tesla in his Colorado Springs laboratory, where he established the record of the longest lightning ever created by a man, of 260 feet, more or less 80 metres) from the first Tesla coil built and operated by Masque,  it was clear that many of the “urban legends” about the Serb scientist were true. It was also evident that the reason for that violent and ferocious disregard was due to the amazing inventions and the theories by Nikola Tesla, that were far ahead for that time, and most of all, they were openly conflicting with the newborn American electric industry that Tesla himself had so strongly helped in getting started. Coming back from Colorado Springs (where he patented his discoveries about energy wireless transmission), during a meeting with the famous banker J. P. Morgan, who was contacted for financial support for the construction of  the energy wireless transmission global system, Tesla proposed an idea of what the “global system” would have offered to humanity, underlining the advantages of the chance to transmit electric power wireless everywhere on Earth. Tesla accepted the 150.000 dollars that J. P. Morgan offered, in exchange for the 51% over his patents on wireless transmission of electric power. But J. P. Morgan was also the major financier of General Electric and of Westinghouse (these two multinationals controlled 90% of the electric power  “cable” distribution market). Before Tesla could complete his appliance of Wardenclyffe, in Shoreham, on Long Island –New York State –a 80-meter tower, designed by the famous architect White, his future was doomed. The trap that J. P. Morgan had set for Tesla worked. At the age of 48 (the New York stock exchange announced the failure of Tesla’s project of Global transmission after J. P. Morgan declared he won’t have refinanced it) Tesla was done for. He would have died at 86, alone in a New York hotel, not before patenting the “Death ray” that was used, few years ago, in the creation of the American Strategic Defense Initiative. The day after Nikola Tesla’s death, FBI put the seal “TOP SECRET” on the 20 boxes containing his various projects and devices.

But let’s come back to his most famous invention, the Tesla coil , that can produce electrostatic disruptive currents of a million volts. Here we will explain how it works: many people think that earth isn’t a good conductor. In reality, earth can absorb a great quantity of electricity, and this is why every electric appliance is connected with the earth: the third terminal (the central one) in alternating current plugs has a wiring that makes it disperse onto the ground.
In Colorado Springs, Tesla succeeded in a never before attempted enterprise: he used the whole planet as a conductor, making an electric discharge going through it. In other words, Tesla created a powerful electric power discharge and earthed it. Since it’s a good conductor, the current didn’t stop going on propagating like a radio wave at light’s speed: 300.000 km per second. The wave continued advancing: it was powerful, and it didn’t weaken even at miles’ distance…it crossed without any problem even the centre of the Earth…after all, molten iron is a perfect conductor for electricity! When the wave reached the other side of the planet, it came back , just like it does any wave facing an obstacle.

Every time it set off, it came back, and at times it reached again the starting point. Even if the idea could seem odd, it isn’t science fiction. Our planet has a 4000 km diameter: to have an electromagnetic wave crossing it’s child’s play!
When the wave comes back (around 1/30 of a billionth of a second after it has been sent), its power has considerably decreased: so Tesla thought, why not sending a second one to strengthen the first one? The two merge, react and go back, and the wave becomes more and more powerful. It’s just like pushing a swing every time it comes back: the power increases greatly with a series of small pushes.

Coming back to the latest machine we created, this is the way in which the electric tension of the principal transformers (15.000 volts in our Tesla Coil) is increased, in the so-called magnifying resonant transformer, up to around a million volts!  And we should keep in mind that 3000 volts is the minimum required to go through a millimetre of air. Now, I would like to let you know I’ve realized one of the first experiments that can confirm the experience of the wireless transmission of energy…

The distance covered by this transmission, up to now, isn’t more than 4,5 meters: we are currently building a system including two coils of great dimensions in order to achieve a distance of transmission up to 10/13 meters.
To clarify the importance of the experiment we should act with extreme clearness and precision: during the experiment, after having shown and operated a Tesla Coil that produces a million volts and an arc to the terminal of the coil itself of around 100 cm, I accompanied the public to the courtyard in front of the lecture's room: here one of my assistants dug  (live) a conductive bar of 170 cm into the ground.

First  we brought on the “scene” the receiving coil (made of a winding of around 1000 wire coils and surmounted by a sphere of conductive material) and then, at a distance of around 2 meters, the transmitting coil (identical in shape).
One end of a bulb socket that holds two incandescent light bulbs of 25 watts each, is directly connected to the earth wire connected to the bar dug into the ground. At the other end of the bulb socket is the terminal of the winding of the receiving coil.
It’s worth noticing that the system made up of  bulb socket and  receiving coil forms a system that is completely insulated from the generator that is placed at a two-meters distance.
The two coils are attuned to the same resonant frequency (around 236.000 Hz).
Using a generator that allows to change the frequency from 150.000 Hz to 280.000 Hz, when the resonant frequency of the coils is reached (236.000 Hz) we can see a transmission via “ether” of electric power: the two incandescent light bulbs will brightly turn on.

Of course it’s not a real wireless transmission, since Tesla understood he could use the earth as a global conductor. Here is a photo of the work station: at the ends of the table, the two Tesla coils. At the right of the viewer the transmitting coil, at the left the receiving one.
The receiving coil (as well as the transmitting) is made up of a winding of around 1000 copper coils treated with insulating varnish: the end of which is directly connected to one end of the bulb. The other end (and this is the extraordinary thing) is tied directly to the earth!


experiment about wireless transmission of power – Masque teatro

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