The Tesla Invention We Were Not Allowed To Have
By James Donahue
Imagine if every home, business and factory in the world could operate with free energy transmitted through the air
or the earth under our feet. The great inventor Nicola Tesla perceived such a world, attempted to build a transmission system
to make it become reality, but was stopped by big business interests.
The reason the Tesla project was stopped was simple. There was no way to measure the volume of energy people would
use so there was no profit motive. It all involved money, power and greed.
While Thomas Edison is recognized as the invention of the electric light bulb, it was Tesla’s discovery of the
rotating magnetic field that gave us the means of transmitting electricity through wires to our homes by means of alternating
Tesla also invented the brushless AC induction motor, radio, radio remote control, super-conductivity, fluorescent
lighting, the bladeless turbine engine, the capacitor discharge ignition system for cars, the mechanical oscillator and a
long list of other technical inventions that have had a dramatic impact on our lives.
Tesla’s one important invention that put him in conflict with the nation’s corporate energy giants was
perhaps his downfall. When he discovered that energy could be extracted from the heat of the ambient air, and that electrical
power in the form of radiant energy could be broadcast to everyone in the world through the ground, he was legally and financially
stopped from ever building the mechanism that would have made it all possible.
It was in 1900 that Tesla published his theory in Century Illustrated Magazine. The article, titled The Problem of
Increasing Human Energy, suggests the possibility of a “Self-Acting Engine” that can gather heat from the ambient
air. He believed such an engine could run indefinitely from the solar energy stored in the air.
It was his work trying to solve the technical problems for building such a machine that led to Tesla’s discovery
of super-conductivity at ultra-low temperatures, his bladeless turbine and mechanical oscillator and various other inventions.
Tesla was already busy working on the erection of his infamous Wardenclyffe Tower on Long Island, New York, which he
hoped to use to actually transmit power in 1898, two years before he published his theory. He obtained the financial backing
of various wealthy industrialists including J. P. Morgan. A local lawyer and banker, James S. Warden, for whom the structure
was named, donated 200-acres of land for the project.
The initial idea was to use the building as Tesla’s headquarters and laboratory and to erect a tower for commercial
trans-Atlantic wireless telecommunications. He also intended to use the tower to demonstrate the transmission of power without
wires although it was obvious that he did not make this information available to his wealthy financial supporters when the
project was first launched.
Warden saw Tesla’s involvement on the site as a win-win situation for him. He built a resort community called
Wardenclyffe-On-Sound and believed that once Tesla’s “world system” of communication began operations, a
Radio City would arise around it.
Tesla moved his laboratory into Wardenclyffe in June, 1902, but by 1903, when the tower was near completion Morgan
discovered there was going to be no way of measuring the power transmitted and used in such a system. When he discovered there
was no way to personally profit from such a system, Morgan withdrew his financial support. It was said he also advised other
investors to back out of the project.
In short, Morgan ruined the greatest inventor of our century because Tesla’s discovery would have cost a lot
of people, including the Morgan empire, a fortune in potential energy sales.
In May 1905, Tesla’s patents on alternating current motors and other power transmission systems expired so his
royalty payments dried up. Tesla did not have the money to finish his tower. Morgan had invested heavily in General Electric
Company and went out of his way to stop Tesla from completing a method of putting the new and lucrative electric power generating
systems out of business. Consequently we now have a nation filled with polluting coal-fired generating plants and ugly wire
transmission lines leading to every building.
Instead of being a boon to the world and a center of great success, Tesla’s Wardenclyffe project on Long Island
became his undoing. Tesla’s finances unraveled, newspapers called Wardenclyffe his “million dollar folly,”
and the inventor collapsed into a state of deep depression.
Tesla died penniless in a hotel in 1943.