Tesla appeared on the scientific and social scene long before Marconi. We recall that most common people did not even know the name of Tesla. For most of society’s working class, Tesla did not exist The only persons who apprehended his work and his worth were, for two different reasons, found in the upper class. One group formed the educated elite. The others formed the business community. The first group was attracted to Tesla after the second group had found his inventive skills all too capable for rendering them the service of profit. In short, as long as Tesla was able to make money for the various financial bases in New York and Europe, he was applauded and “loved”. It is also for this reason that Tesla grew into extravagant tastes in his youth. Mingling with the upper social classes in New York had its definite advantages. Increased contact also stimulated increased interest.
Tesla was indeed an original discoverer of natural electrical phenomena, a research experimenter of the very highest quality. Tesla was already a scholar in his own right, a visionary who coupled revelations with rare inventive skills. Speaking several languages fluently, and having the bearing and poise of a prince in his own right, Tesla was suddenly seized upon by the New York upper class. Had Tesla been anyone else, he would never have travelled as far in these circles. The class distinctions were rigidly held by most of these families throughout the rime that Tesla was moving among them. What affiliations Tesla made in these circles was the result of his genius and suave princely manners. His was indeed one whose charms were difficult, if not impossible, to ignore. Wealth and fame brought him this mystique for a time. Socialites pushed their daughters upon him, but his was not a long lived favor. Viewed from a distance, Tesla was certainly not a long lived star in their space. As soon as the time of his favor had passed, most forgot Tesla and shifted their eyes to some other trifle.
These effects spread from the social centers of wealth outward in larger circles. Those members of the New York Academy of Science, and of the London Royal Society, who once idolized Tesla, those who indeed watched him demonstrate the impossible before their very eyes, were later found wholly given to a strange repudiation of the man and his work. The contradictory focussing and refocusing of attention on each of the two different men is not difficult for us to understand when taking note of the social caste which was directing the attention and deliberating their relative value.
Tesla was not from the upper class. Tesla therefore did not understand the real nature of his rejection by either The London Royal Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, or The United States Military. Despite his astounding demonstrations, patents, and superior technological achievements, Tesla seemed never able to attract that kind of serious interest which would have secured him a firm place in the convention. Their rejection was not based on an inability to apprehend the truth, but on a boredom with “the show”. The fickle attentions of this community were so obviously unwilling to delve into Teslian discoveries that The very criticisms of his work reveal a singular vacuousness, one not based in scientific reasoning whatsoever. The inability to reproduce his clearly defined parameters, those which would release for them the power of Radiant Energy and all of its wondrous potentials, was actually an unwillingness to apply their hands to work. Only two individuals out of the entire British consortium reported their experiments in this regards.
Sir William Crookes and Sir Oliver Lodge tried the Tesla experiments. Though neither was able to achieve the same results, only Sir William corresponded with Tesla to determine the curious cause of his own failure. Sir Oliver Lodge, very apparently, did not understand at all what Tesla had defined as the only means for obtaining Radiant Energy effects. Lodge had previously developed high frequency alternating circuits which used sparkgaps. These were similar only in their appearance with some of Tesla’s apparatus. Lodge somehow completely reinterpreted or misinterpreted Tesla’s lecture to match his own priority in the subject area, a remarkable phenomenon of misunderstanding. On wonders “where” Sir Oliver was wandering during the famed Tesla Lectures, which provoked a long standing ovation from the London Society. The very same effect was observed in the New York Academy, where Michael Pupin claimed inability to reproduce Teslian effects, and later claimed that Tesla was a charlatan. Indeed in certain last New York public lectures, Tesla endured loud verbal abuse from Pupin and others during his talk.
It was precisely about this time that Guglielmo Marconi appeared on the scene. While the Royal Society originally condemned Marconi as a first-rate plagiarist and thief, they later grew to adore him. This sort of reversal further baffled the innocent Nikola Tesla. Directed into the idolization of Guglielmo Marconi for reasons only having to do with his class and his wealth, Marconi continued being favored. Marconi was both a Marchese, extremely wealthy by birth, and his mother was a member of the honored English Aristocracy: attributes which endeared him to the Royal Society despite an initial contemp-tuousness. It is patently obvious that the rejection of Tesla was not therefore based on scientific reasoning at all. Indeed, the acceptance of Marconi was not based on scientific reasoning at all. Each response manifested the overwhelming affectations of an erudite class, a response having everything to do with position, wealth, and political connection. Fame followed wealth, as Marconi entered center stage and Tesla was asked to leave. Tesla was eliminated from these upper class deliberations with the same aloof command given to a dispatched servant. Tesla was on his own again, relying on his own wealth to carry his dreams. But certain others spied this out, and destroyed the bulk of his wealth in the fire which almost also cost him his very life.
- CHAPTER 2
- CHAPTER 4