"To the popular mind this sensational advance conveys the impression of a single invention but in reality it is an art, the successful practice of which involves the employment of a great many discoveries and improvements. I viewed it as such when I undertook to solve wireless problems and it is due to this fact that my insight into its underlying principles was clear from their very inception.
"In the course of development of my induction motors it became desirable to operate them at high speeds and for this purpose I constructed alternators of relatively high frequencies. The striking behavior of the currents soon captivated my attention and in 1889 I started a systematic investigation of their properties and the possibilities of practical application. The first gratifying result of my efforts in this direction was the transmission of electrical energy through one wire without return, of which I gave demonstrations in my lectures and addresses before several scientific bodies here and abroad in 1891 and 1892. During that period, while working with my oscillation transformers and dynamos of frequencies up to 200,000 cycles per second, the idea gradually took hold of me that the earth might be used in place of the wire, thus dispensing with artificial conductors altogether. The immensity of the globe seemed an unsurmountable obstacle but after a prolonged study of the subject I became satisfied that the undertaking was rational, and in my lectures before the Franklin Institute and National Electric Light Association early in 1893 I gave the outline of the system I had conceived. In the latter part of that year, at the Chicago World’s Fair, I had the good fortune of meeting Prof. Helmholtz to whom I explained my plan, illustrating it with experiments. On that occasion I asked the celebrated physicist for an expression of opinion on the feasibility of the scheme. He stated unhesitatingly that it was practicable, provided I could perfect apparatus capable of putting it into effect but this, he anticipated, would be extremely difficult to accomplish.
Figs. 5 & 6. — A Section of the Earth and Its Atmospheric Envelope Drawn to Scale. It is Obvious That the Hertzian Rays Cannot Traverse So Thin a Crack Between Two Conducting Surfaces For Any Considerable Distance. Without Being Absorbed, Says Dr. Tesla, in Discussing the Ether Space Wave Theory.
"I resumed the work very much encouraged and from that date to 1896 advanced slowly but steadily, making a number of improvements the chief of which was my system of concatenated tuned circuits and method of regulation, now universally adopted. In the summer of 1897 Lord Kelvin happened to pass through New York and honored me by a visit to my laboratory where I entertained him with demonstrations in support of my wireless theory. He was fairly carried away with what he saw but, nevertheless, condemned my project in emphatic terms, qualifying it as something impossible, “an illusion and a snare.” I had expected his approval and was pained and surprised. But the next day he returned and gave me a better opportunity for explanation of the advances I had made and of the true principles underlying the system I had evolved. Suddenly he remarked with evident astonishment: “Then you are not making use of Hertz waves?” “Certainly not,” I replied, “these are radiations. No energy could be economically transmitted to a distance by any such agency. In my system the process is one of true conduction which, theoretically, can be effected at the greatest distance without appreciable loss.” I can never forget the magic change that came over the illustrious philosopher the moment he freed himself from that erroneous impression. The skeptic who would not believe was suddenly transformed into the warmest of supporters. He parted from me not only thoroughly convinced of the scientific soundness of the idea but strongly exprest his confidence in its success. In my exposition to him I resorted to the following mechanical analogues of my own and the Hertz wave system.
"Imagine the earth to be a bag of rubber filled with water, a small quantity of which is periodically forced in and out of the same by means of a reciprocating pump, as illustrated. If the strokes of the latter are effected in intervals of more than one hour and forty-eight minutes, sufficient for the transmission of the impulse through the whole mass, the entire bag will expand and contract and corresponding movements will be imparted to pressure gauges or movable pistons with the same intensity, irrespective of distance. By working the pump faster, shorter waves will be produced which, on reaching the opposite end of the bag, may be reflected and give rise to stationary nodes and loops, but in any case, the fluid being incompressible, its inclosure perfectly elastic, and the frequency of oscillations not very high, the energy will be economically transmitted and very little power consumed so long as no work is done in the receivers. This is a crude but correct representation of my wireless system in which, however, I resort to various refinements. Thus, for instance, the pump is made part of a resonant system of great inertia, enormously magnifying the force of the imprest impulses. The receiving devices are similarly conditioned and in this manner the amount of energy collected in them vastly increased.
Fig. 7. — The Theory Has Been Seriously Advanced and Taught that the Radio Ether Wave Oscillations Pass Around the Earth by Successive Reflections, as Here Shown. The Efficiency of Such a Reflector Cannot be more than 25 Per Cent; the Amount of Energy Recoverable is a 12,000-mile Transmission being but One Hundred and Fifteen Billionth Part of One Watt, with 1.000 Kilowatts at the Transmitter.
"The Hertz wave system is in many respects the very opposite of this. To explain it by analogy, the piston of the pump is assumed to vibrate to and fro at a terrific rate and the orifice thru which the fluid passes in and out of the cylinder is reduced to a small hole. There is scarcely any movement of the fluid and almost the whole work performed results in the production of radiant heat, of which an infinitesimal part is recovered in a remote locality. However incredible, it is true that the minds of some of the ablest experts have been from the beginning, and still are, obsest by this monstrous idea, and so it comes that the true wireless art, to which I laid the foundation in 1893, has been retarded in its development for twenty years. This is the reason why the “statics” have proved unconquerable, why the wireless shares are of little value and why the Government has been compelled to interfere.
"We are living on a planet of well-nigh inconceivable dimensions, surrounded by a layer of insulating air above which is a rarefied and conducting atmosphere (Fig. 5). This is providential, for if all the air were conducting the transmission of electrical energy thru the natural media would be impossible. My early experiments have shown that currents of high frequency and great tension readily pass thru an atmosphere but moderately rarefied, so that the insulating stratum is reduced to a small thickness as will be evident by inspection of Fig. 6, in which a part of the earth and its gaseous envelope is shown to scale. If the radius of the sphere is 12½”, then the non-conducting layer is only 1/64″ thick and it will be obvious that the Hertzian rays cannot traverse so thin a crack between two conducting surfaces for any considerable distance, without being absorbed. The theory has been seriously advanced that these radiations pass around the globe by successive reflections, but to show the absurdity of this suggestion reference is made to Fig. 7 in which this process is diagrammatically indicated. Assuming that there is no refraction, the rays, as shown on the right, would travel along the sides of a polygon drawn around the solid, and inscribed into the conducting gaseous boundary in which case the length of the side would be about 400 miles. As one-half the circumference of the earth is approximately 12,000 miles long there will be, roughly, thirty deviations. The efficiency of such a reflector cannot be more than 25 per cent, so that if none of the energy of the transmitter were lost in other ways, the part recovered would be measured by the fraction (¼)30. Let the transmitter radiate Hertz waves at the rate of 1,000 kilowatts. Then about one hundred and fifteen billionth part of one watt is all that would be collected in a perfect receiver. In truth, the reflections would be much more numerous as shown on the left of the figure, and owing to this and other reasons, on which it is unnecessary to dwell, the amount recovered would be a vanishing quantity.
Fig. 8. — This Diagram Illustrates How, During a Solar Eclipse, the Moon's Shadow Passes Over the Earth With Changing Velocity, and Should Be Studied In Connection With Fig. 9. The Shadow Moves Downward With Infinite Velocity at First. Then With Its True Velocity Thru Space, and Finally With Infinite Velocity Again.
"Consider now the process taking place in the transmission by the instrumentalities and methods of my invention. For this purpose attention is called to Fig. 8, which gives an idea of the mode of propagation of the current waves and is largely self-explanatory. The drawing represents a solar eclipse with the shadow of the moon just touching the surface of the earth at a point where the transmitter is located. As the shadow moves downward it will spread over the earth’s surface, first with infinite and then gradually diminishing velocity until at a distance of about 6,000 miles it will attain its true speed in space. From there on it will proceed with increasing velocity, reaching infinite value at the opposite point of the globe. It hardly need be stated that this is merely an illustration and not an accurate representation in the astronomical sense.
Fig. 9. — Theory.
"The exact law will be readily understood by reference to Fig. 9, in which a transmitting circuit is shown connected to earth and to an antenna. The transmitter being in action, two effects are produced: Hertz waves pass through the air, and a current traverses the earth. The former propagate with the speed of light and their energy is unrecoverable in the circuit. The latter proceeds with the speed varying as the cosecant of the angle which a radius drawn from any point under consideration forms with the axis of symmetry of the waves. At the origin the speed is infinite but gradually diminishes until a quadrant is traversed, when the velocity is that of light. From there on it again increases, becoming infinite at the antipole. Theoretically the energy of this current is recoverable in its entirety, in properly attuned receivers.
Fig. 10. — Tesla's World-Wide Wireless Transmission of Electrical Signals, As Well As Light and Power, Is Here Illustrated in Theory, Analogy and Realization. Tesla's Experiments With 100 Foot Discharges At Potentials of Millions of Volts Have Demonstrated That the Hertz Warn Are Infinitesimal In Effect and Unrecoverable: the Recoverable Ground Waves of Tesla Fly "Through the Earth". Radio Engineers Are Gradually Beginning to See the Light and That the Laws of Propagation Laid Down by Tesla Over a Quarter of a Century Ago Form the Real and True Basis of All Wireless Transmission To-Day.
"Some experts, whom I have credited with better knowledge, have for years contended that my proposals to transmit power without wires are sheer nonsense but I note that they are growing more cautious every day. The latest objection to my system is found in the cheapness of gasoline. These men labor under the impression that the energy flows in all directions and that, therefore, only a minute amount can be recovered in any individual receiver. But this is far from being so. The power is conveyed in only one direction, from the transmitter to the receiver, and none of it is lost elsewhere. It is perfectly practicable to recover at any point of the globe energy enough for driving an airplane, or a pleasure boat or for lighting a dwelling. I am especially sanguine in regard to the lighting of isolated places and believe that a more economical and convenient method can hardly be devised. The future will show whether my foresight is as accurate now as it has proved heretofore."
Facebook’s electricity consumption: 5.45 TWh per year
Twitter’s electricity consumption: I couldn’t find any numbers so I’m gonna put it on the same level as facebook with 5.45 TWh per year (though it’s probably less)
Bitcoin’s electricity consumption: 130 TWh per year, 13 times more than the previous two combined.
The only one to surpass Bitcoin is YouTube with 243 TWh per year.
The difference is that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube provide a service to hundreds of millions of people (or pretend to, at least) and Bitcoin only gives a handful of people fake money to buy drugs with.
“NIKOLA TESLA FOR THE FIRST TIME DESCRIBES HIS NEW SYSTEM FOR SUPPLYING WIRELESS POWER TO RUN ALL THE EARTH’S INDUSTRIES.”
By Marcel Roland. New York American, September 3, 1911.
By a series of discoveries and inventions just perfected, Nikola Tesla, the electrical scientist, has upset what has hitherto been regarded as one of the fixed laws of nature. “Every effect diminishes with distance,” is the way the textbooks have expressed it.
Tesla now says that instead of decreasing like other forces, electricity may be made to increase in intensity with the distance traveled.
The full significance of this discovery may not be at once apparent. It is obvious, however, that it annihilates space. There can be no limit to the power of the electric wave which increases in intensity the further it travels.
For nearly 20 years Tesla has been working on his plan, he calls it his wireless “World System.” If it is put into successful execution it will convert the earth into a gigantic conduit, which will pass power for all earthly activities, and make possible communication with other planets.
From time to time Tesla has made partial announcements as his work progressed. This, however, is the first comprehensive account of his system as a whole that the inventor has consented to give to the world.
“Through ages past man has anyways attempted to project in some way or other energy into space. In all his attempts, no matter what agent he employed, he was hampered by the inexorable law of nature which says every effect diminishes with distance, generally as the square of the same, sometimes more rapidly.
“I saw at once that space was annihilated in all the three aspects; in the transport of our bodies and materials and in the earth, transmission of the energies necessary for our existence. You can imagine how profoundly I was affected by this revelation. Technically, it meant that the earth, as a whole, had certain periods of vibrations, and that by by impressing electrical vibrations of the same periods upon it, it could be thrown into oscillations of such nature that innumerable benefits could be derived.
“It is difficult to convey an idea of these inventions without resorting to technical terms. The first and best known of these is my transformer, which enables the production of electrical vibrations of transcending intensities. I have already attained activities of many millions of horse power; but this is nothing compared to those which I am expecting to get with my improved apparatus.
“The second is what I have termed my magnifying transmitter, which I look upon as my best electrical invention, and with which any distance can be bridged. I have already passed of this wonderful instrument and am confident that a message can be flashed to such a distance as the planet Mars.
“Some technical men would be disposed to look upon such statements as those of a dreamer, but it is only because they have not had opportunities to see experiments which I have actually performed. The third invention I have designated as the “Art of individualization,” which enables the transmission of an unlimited number of messages through a wire or wireless, without the slightest interference. Not before this improvement is universally adopted will the world fully realise the benefits of telegraphy and telephony. The fourth invention is my receiver, which concentrates the energy transmitted over a wide area into the operating device.”
What would the voltage in your transmitter be?
“In the transmission of telegraphic and telephonic messages I shall employ from five to ten million volts, but in transmitting power in great quantities, as much as one hundred million volts will be used.“
How will your “World System” compare with those now in use as regards to cost?
“We could easily afford to offer a transmission of telegraphic and telephonic messages to any terrestrial distance for five cents a word. In a short while no one will think it anything out of the way to dictate or to write a long letter across the Pacific.”
How long does it take for the transmission of a message, by your system, around the world?
“The exact time is, according to my measurements, 43-1000 of a second, which is a speed about 50 per cent greater than that of light.
“The impulse starts from my magnifying transmitter with infinite speed, slows first rapidly and then at a lesser rate until, when it has penetrated to a distance of 6000 miles from the transmitter, it proceeds with approximately the speed of light. From there on it accelerates, first slowly and then more rapidly, and reaches the opposite point of the globe again with infinite speed only to rebound and pass through the same phases on its way back to the transmitter.
“This movement of electricity through the Earth, which takes place strictly in accordance with a mathematical law, and enables a great number of accurate measurements and determinations to be made, which are of immense practical and scientific value.”
Is your universal marine service based upon this principle?
“Largely so. In setting up and maintaining stationary waves in the earth its entire surface is subdivided in perfectly definite zones of electric activity, so that any observer of all those data which are of importance to navigators as the latitude and longitude, the position with reference to a given point, the speed of travel, and the course followed. This method is quite exact and reliable, and once introduced will be instrumental in a great saving of time, life and property.”
When your system of time distribution is introduced what kind of devices will be used for indicating the hour?
“They will be ever so much simpler than the ordinary clocks or watches, being entirely devoid of wheel work. For personal use a small case will be provided resembling that of a watch which would indicate precisely the time and require no more attention than a compass for instance. The large clocks on towers and public edifices in general will be replaced by extremely simple devices operated on the same principle.
“All these will be ‘tuned’ to a wireless wave sent out at a certain time. This will automatically set the hands of every ‘tuned’ time piece.”
In operating stock tickers, will the present instruments have to be replaced by others?
“Not at all, they will remain intact. A great financier told me that this should be one of the most valuable and practical applications of my system, inasmuch as the instantaneous operation of such instruments all the world over will go far toward allaying panics and failures which are at present mostly due to the inadequacy and stagnation of channels of information.”
“A business man will be able to dictate in his office a letter which will appear in type at any other place he wishes without loss of time in the transmission. It will be exactly as though he had his stenographer close by. In the same manner it will be practicable to send a handwritten letter or even a check, and what is more important, it will not be possible to falsify the signature.”
Will the transmission of complex musical productions require complicated apparatuses?
Not at all. The apparatus at any of the master plants, transmitting a great number of musical compositions, will be of necessity complicated, but the subscriber will need only a telephone receiver, and, if he desires exclusiveness, and individualizing device in connection, which, however, will be rarely required. He will be none the less able to listen to the most complex opera played in some remote party of the world. What is more, he can carry the entire outfit with him on his walks and travels, and whenever he desires to listen to the music he can do so.
The wireless system which I have developed does not contemplate competition with established lighting systems in densely populated districts, but it offers an ideal solution for the illumination of isolated places. The light will be furnished by exhausted glass tubes, bent in all sorts of ornamental shapes, and is of surpassing beauty, resembling closely the daylight. The lamps will last forever. The entire apparatus for lighting the average country dwelling will contain no moving part whatever, and could be readily carried about in a small valise. It will be quite immaterial in which region of the earth the house to be lighted is located. Distance will not affect the charge.“
How far from the Earth’s surface can power be transmitted by this wireless system?
“To any distance; in fact, the greater the elevation above the ground that easier it is to supply the power to the vehicle, such as an airship crossing the ocean.”
What do you consider the most important application of your system?
The transmission of power, of course. The operation of aerial machines alone will be of a revolutionizing influence, in as much as it will afford a perfect solution of this important problem. Another great field will be the irrigation and fertilization of the soil by wireless power. The time is not distance when a farmer will have installed on his place an apparatus for continuously manufacturing, from the gases of the atmosphere, nitric compounds which will be used to fertilize, while a motor will pump the water and perform other duties; all the energy being supplied from a plant perhaps thousands of miles away. This system can be extended so as to make productive vast tracts of now barren lands located in various countries. I believe that the export of wireless power will be one of the chief resources of the United States and other fortunately situated countries in times to come.“
***A Way to Harness Free Electric Currents Discovered by Nikola Tesla***
The World Sunday Magazine, March 8, 1896.
The World is on the eve of an astounding revelation. The conditions under which we exist will be changed. The end has come to telegraph and telephone monopolies with a crash. Incidentally, all the other monopolies that depend on power of any kind will come to a sudden stop. The earth currents of electricity are to be harnessed. Nature supplies them free of charge. The cost of power and light and heat will be practically nothing.
The scientist-electricians who have for years been trying to master the mystery of electrical earth currents with which the ground beneath your feet is filled, are on the threshold of success. The success of the experiments they have under way means much to them, but vastly more to the people. It means that if Nikola Tesla succeeds in harnessing the electrical earth currents and putting then to work for man there will be an end to oppressive, extortionate monopolies in steam, telephone, telegraphs and the other commercial uses of electricity, and that the grasping millionaires who have for two decades milked the people's purse with electrical fingers will have to relinquish their monopoly.
Nikola Tesla has discovered the secret of the electric earth currents of nature, and they will be adapted to the use of man. He has succeeded in transmitting sound by the currents that make an electric riot of the earth. The transmission of power will follow. His experiments reduced to commercially practicable uses will be able to tap the electric currents of the earth and make them serve the purposes of industry and of trade just as a well digger over on Long Island taps water or a Pennsylvania miner opens a vein of coal. The mighty electrical energy that has been stored up in the earth for ages will be harnessed and made to move the machinery of men.
Electricity will be as free as the air. For the privilege of its use legislatures will not have to be bribed or men corrupted at the polls, and public boards will not have to be "seen" to bestow exclusive franchises upon corporations organized to use public property for purposes of private gain, and make the people pay the original cost of their investment and excessive charges for service in order to squeeze dividends out of copiously watered shares.
Monopolies for purveying steams power too will be forced to capitulate to free electricity, for with the latter manufactures will only have to connect their dynamos with the earth currents to set their machinery in motion. The successful adaptation of Tesla's discovery will administer a death-blow to the most galling slavery that has ever yoked the activities of men to the treadmill of monopoly. Tesla is the wizard who is going to emancipate modern industries from the shackles of corrupting, dividend-grabbing, monopolistic corporations.
Sound travels with amazing speed, but electrical vibrations travel so swiftly that it is difficult to conjure up a figure which will graphically illustrate their speed. Here is one that will perhaps convey a vivid and lucid impression. In fancy place yourself at a table with a revolver in one hand and a finger of the other hand on the key of a telegraph instrument connected with a wire that girdles the globe seven times and laps over on the eighth turn a distance equal to 11,000 miles. Pull the trigger of the pistol and simultaneously press the telegraph key. While the sound of the report of the revolver is traveling 1,100 feet the electrical impulse imparted by the pressure on the key will pass seven and a half times around the world through the wire with which the key is connected.
Sound travels 1,250 feet a second and electrical impulse 186,000 miles a second. If the electrical currents with which the earth is filled can be harnessed and put to work a new era in electricity will have dawned. It is to the mastering of the mystery of these earth currents and their adaptation that scientist like Tesla have been striving.
In the course of Tesla's experiments it is reported he found that in the vicinity of large cities there were so many conflicting earth currents that satisfactory results could not be obtained. So he went out to Denver and near there found a better field for experimenting. There he met a friend interested in electrical research. They went to Pike's Peak. Conspicuous among their baggage were two autoharps.
Tesla and his friend scaled the rugged sides of the peak. At an elevation agreed upon they separated. Tesla skirted the peak and on reaching a point precisely opposite the place at which he left his friend he stopped. The two experimenters, on a line drawn straight through the peak, were thus separated by four miles of stratified rock. The two autoharps had been very delicately attuned before the scientists parted, and a time fixed for Mr. Tesla's comrade to play an air (also agreed upon) on the autoharp.
Tesla waited patiently the arrival of the appointed time. Then he connected his harp with the ground in such a way as to secure harmonic resonance with the earth current. The manner and medium of this connection are secrets. The receiving autoharp was equipped with a microphone. As the time approached for his friend on the other side of the peak to strum the appointed tune Tesla listened with rapt attention.
At last, as a tuning-fork responds to its harmonic note sounded on the strings of a piano, the autoharp in Mr. Tesla's hands gave out the harmonic tunes of "Ben Bolt" which his companion at his station four miles away straight through the peak was plucking from the tense wires of his instrument. The experiment was a success. After many tunes had been played Tesla and his companion descended the peak. A statement of the facts and results of the experiment was written and attested before a notary public as a matter of scientific record.
The electric currents are in the earth. Their strength is great enough to furnish all the power and light man needs. Mr. Tesla has overcome the initial difficulty, and has located and tapped the earth's currents. The rest will follow, as followed the telephone, Prof. Bell's discovery of how to transmit speech over a wire.