Tesla discovered that excessive sparking, though impressive to observers, were actually “lossy instabilities”. The distant radiant effects he desired were interrupted and distorted whenever sparking occurred. Both sparking and brush discharges actually ruined the distant broadcast effects of radiant electricity, a situation which had to be remedied. Tesla sought elimination of the discharges now. Tesla had already found that metals could focus radiant electrical effects. Additional stability in his Transformers could be achieved with the addition of large copper spheres to the active terminals. Tesla considered copper spheres to be “aether gas reservoirs”, providing his transmitters with an additional aether gas supply.
Copper spheres attached to Transformer terminals reduced the required electrical levels for an efficient electric radiance. Copper spheres significantly reduced the injurious instabilities of visually spectacular brush discharges, but did not eliminate them entirely. What Tesla required was a new means for transmitting the radiant electricity without loss.
Tests with elevated copper spheres facilitated efficient transfer of radiant power between the Transformer and surrounding space. Now, Tesla Transformers became true Tesla Transmitters. Tesla found it possible to broadcast harmless radiant electricity with great power to very great distances. Numerous subsequent patents recorded his progressive conquest of the broadcast power principle.
He succeeded in making radiant electricity safe for human use. It would simply travel around conductors if made to impulse quickly enough. Only specially entuned receivers could properly intercept the radiant power for utility. Not three years before he had accidentally discovered the radiant electrical effect. He dreamt of safely sending electrical power without wires in 1892. Now, in 1895, he had realized his dream. Would the system work across the vast distances which he envisioned?
He took his more portable Transmitters outdoors, away from the confines of his South Fifth Street laboratory. Both in northern Manhattan and Long Island, Tesla tested his radiant broadcast systems without restriction. He measured the distant radiant electric effects of these designs in electrostatic volts. Broadcast power could be converted back into current electricity if so desired, the harmless high voltage becoming current in appropriate low resistance transformer coils.
He found to his very great surprise that very distantly positioned vacuum tubes could be lit to great white brilliance when the primary system was operating. The requirement for this action was twofold. First both the system and the receivers had to be grounded. Second, specific volumes of copper had to be connected to the receivers. When these two requirements were satisfied, lamps maximized their brilliance, and motors operated with power.
Copper in the receiver had to “match” the copper mass of the transmitter in a very special equivalence, otherwise radiant transfer would not be efficient. The requirements differed very much from those of ordinary radio antennas. He also found that elevated copper spheres more powerfully enhanced the broadcast radiant power from his transmitters. This was Tesla’s means by which his transmitters and receivers could be better “connected” despite their distance.
Tesla believed that these electrical beams invisibly linked both his transmitter and receivers together. He considered each as “disconnected terminals” to ground. Electrical radiance spread out in all directions from the elevated copper sphere of his transmitter. The secret in receiving a maximum signal was to match the transmitter’s copper mass with the receiver mass. Then, the aether streams would actually focus into the matched receiver. This affinity would take time, the transmitter energy “searching” for better ground sites. Radiant electricity evidenced curiously vegetative “growth characteristics”.
Receivers now were outfitted with small copper spheres. These provided a more efficient affinity and absorption for the radiated power. The additional copper spheres which surmounted Tesla transmitters effectively lowered the input electrical power for the production of focused aether discharges.
Tesla took the gas dynamic analogy to another level when he found that both low pressure gaseous and vacuum tubes could replace copper. Electro-radiant effects from gas-filled globes were projected with less electrical loss and even greater power. Large low pressure argon gas filled globes were empirically found to broadcast tremendous radiance when used atop his transmitters. Additionally, he found that argon gas at low pressures could serve as an equivalent receiver as pure copper spheres. The gas filled globes would be less costly than copper spheres to disseminate in public use. He was approaching a totally efficient system. Numerous personages were invited to observe these historic tests. J.H. Hammond Jr. was one such individual. Enthralled with Tesla’s developments, he and his wife invited Tesla repeatedly to their home in later years. Tesla was their honored guest for months at a time. Later in years, after World War I, both Tesla and Hammond worked on robotics and remote control.
Tesla envisioned small power units for both home and industrial use. The installation and maintenance of these units would require a small monthly fee. Through these wireless units one could draw sufficient power to operate factories and homes alike. Electrical usage could be metered. The superiority of this new broadcast power system was obvious to all who observed it in operation.
Tesla also described the use of these power units for transportation. Transatlantic ships could simply draw their motive power from continental power broadcast stations. Trains and automobiles could be operated by drawing their power. The potential fortunes would soon stimulate financiers to invest heavily in the “coming activity”
In keeping with his publicity-mindedness, several investors were always invited to Tesla’s private demonstrations. Tesla knew that their urge to support his new world-shaking venture would become irresistible when once each had beheld his small broadcast power system. The demonstrations were deemed by these individuals as “entertaining”, in their typical dry tone. But, he rarely heard from these people again.
Here was a new change. Shy moneymen. A true contradiction.
Their reticence left Tesla in a state of bewilderment. Once, in a ditch, his conversation alone was sufficient perfume to attract the bees. Now? None would dare leap into the new world sea. Why? What sharks were there besides themselves? Tesla could simply not understand this new “dearth”, this incredulous conservatism and lack of imagination on the part of New York investors.
- EARTH ENERGY & VOCAL RADIO: Nathan Stubblefield
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