Technically, the Stubblefield device is a modified thermocouple (a bimetal in tight surface contact) but could not supply the degree of power, which he reported. While this arrangement could develop a few milliwatts of power in appropriately hot ground spots, the thermoelectric explanation of the device cannot explain the phenomenal output reported in news reports of Stubblefield’s demonstrations.
Furthermore, though the Stubblefield power receiver is wound like an induction coil, it produces a steady direct current output. This poses additional problems for the conventional engineers. Electrical induction only occurs with electrical alternations, oscillations, and impulses.
Witnesses described ground-powered motors which ran unceasingly and unattended for months without need for replacing or replenishing the ground battery. Small machinery, clocks, and loud gongs were run by other ground-buried cells as reported by credible witnesses. Stubblefield may have discovered the auto-magnifying voltage effect of electrostatic induction in coils before Tesla, who later utilized the effect in his special electrostatic Transformers.
These buried coils may have become saturated with earth electrostatic energy, which traveled from subterranean depths. In such a case, the mere battery power of the coil was replaced by the electrostatic flow, the coil acting as an electrode. This seemed obvious when considering the fact that its ordinary battery current (1 watt) was gradually replaced by a continually growing electrical current of far greater proportion.
Experimenters have observed the “slow accumulation and creep” of current up through vertically buried coils and large solid rods. This current has growth characteristics, which gains strength with lengthened burial time. Buried coils and rods do not give their full output until they have “developed” power over a few hours of time.
This behavior resembles nothing like a true electrical current. The best model to explain the phenomenon is vegetative growth … a biological expression. Only a full-scale test of the reconstructed Stubblefield device in proper grounds will give conclusive and satisfying answers.
Witnesses convey that Mr. Stubblefield’s batteries were usually buried at the roots of certain very old oak trees. From these sites it was possible for him to bring small arc lamps to their full candlepower. Tremendous amounts of energy are required for this expenditure of power. Not only was he remarkably able to draw such volumes of current from the ground reservoir for lamp lighting, but the power was available to him throughout the day.
Arc lamps were hung in the trees themselves with their receiver coils buried in the roots. Such was the nature of this current that the lamps did not heat excessively, and seemed to burn on forever in a brilliant white light. Nathan was not replacing his lamps with the frequency demanded by such continuous operation. Obtained through his employment with the telephone company, he was able to recharge old wetcell batteries with energy from these buried receivers for other experiments.
Certain conventional thinkers claimed that the Stubblefield simply used wetcell power for his telephones. Later demonstrations indicate the fundamental error of this conventional view. Stubblefield ran most of his apparatus nonstop for days; without turning off the power. It is more than likely that charged wetcells were used to “jump start” the ground electrode during certain seasons, since the patent reveals that an outer third coil could be added to the copper-iron bimetal.
We do not know the secrets of the earth charge as Nathan determined. Others since this time have observed fluctuations at certain times of the year in ground energy. It may be that a sudden induction is required before the excess ground charge surges to the surface … like priming a pump. The arc lamps could have been low-pressure gas arc lamps of the kind demonstrated by Daniel MacFarland-Moore; but these required high voltages. Nathan did not utilize such excessive voltages.
Another Stubblefield paradox deals with the erroneous notion that he simply connected hundreds of his small-wattage batteries together, producing a large and commercial output. Nowhere is this evidenced. Nathan showed that one or two such batteries were sufficient to draw off “the charge of the earth”; a very different kind of energy.
When properly placed, the weak power of the Stubblefield “battery” becomes an electrode for the powerful earth charge. But arc lighting and battery charging was not his only specialty; there were other marvels, which he began developing in methodical succession. His bimetallic coil receiver intercepted electrical waves and produced enormous power outputs, which could be modulated: superimposed with additional signals, sounds … and voices.
Salva (1795) suggested several electrical schemes for long-distance, and even transaquatic telegraphy. He suggested that physiophonic telegraphy be the communications mode; where human recipients would receive the mild shocks of a distant signal station, and so convey messages.
Salva also believed that earthquakes had subterranean electric origins. Working on the hypothesis that subterranean electricity caused violent communications under vast earth strata, Salva suggested that ground and water be used to replace wires for electrical signaling.
Sommerring (1811) first attempted telegraphic transmissions through water-filled wooden tubs. The signals were effectively passed as if through wire conductors, the thought of wireless ground resulting. James Lindsay (1830) first developed the notion of utilizing artificially generated electricity for special modes of lighting, motor-power, and communication. Mr. Lindsay suggested that submarine cables might be laid between landmasses while using “earth batteries and bare wires” as the means for power transfer.
Steinheil (1838) demonstrated the remarkable passage of signals along one-wire to the ground. When trying to use earth as the “second line” he measured large currents. This complete success proved the great conductivity of ground; and so the “earth circuit” was born, liberating telegraph systems from the expense of using the two-wire system. Morse (1842) sent telegraph signals across a river. Antonio Meucci (1852) had already demonstrated the transmission of vocal signals through seawater, but traversing the ground represents a different thing altogether.
Mr. Stubblefield reasoned that, since electrical waves traverse the whole earth, it might be possible to send signals to distant places. These ground-permeating natural electrical waves might serve as carriers for the human voice. The ground would act as both power generator and signal conductor. Like a gale carrying messages downwind, these electrical waves could bring wireless communications instantly to any part of the world.
- HEARING THROUGH WIRES: Antonio Meucci
- BROADCAST POWER: Nikola Tesla