The Tower That Destroyed Tesla: Wardenclyffe tower

A man of wonders

Many of us know Nikola Tesla for his invention of the alternating current and his rivalry with Edison on the Bulb. But, Nikola Tesla was much more than that. He was a visionary and one of the greatest inventors the world had ever seen. Tesla acquired over 300 patents. Most of his other inventions are not even recognized. Nikola Tesla did not and still does not recieve the respect and credit as the architect of the modern world.

A dream and a Vision

Tesla’s dream was to provide “free energy” to the world without the help of wires. He was working on transmitting electricity wirelessly. In 1900, Tesla started the construction of the Wardenclyffe Tower popularly known as the “Tesla tower”. He intended to transmit messages and telephony across the Atlantic to England and also add wireless power transmission to compete with Guglielmo Marconi’s radio waves based telegraph system. 

During his work in his laboratory and later in large-scale experiments at Colorado Springs in 1899, Tesla developed his own ideas on how a worldwide wireless system would work. He theorized from these experiments that if he injected electric current into the Earth at just the right frequency he could harness what he believed was the planet’s own electrical charge. This would cause it to resonate at a frequency that would be amplified in “standing waves” that could be tapped anywhere on the planet to run devices or, through modulation, carry a signal.

Why it wouldn’t work?

Tesla had earlier demonstrated wireless power transmission through the popularly known Tesla coil, but it was for a small distance and was not comparable at the scale Tesla had visualized.

His idea was based on the theories of the nineteenth century and not on the modern explanation of electromagnetic waves. Tesla assumed something as longitudinal EM waves to exist but now its well known that EM waves only exist Transverse waves.

Nevertheless, the funding of the project was stopped by JP Morgan in 1904. Soon, Tesla went into debt and had to sell the tower to clear his debts. The wardenclyffe tower was one of the last experiments of Tesla which probably was practically not possible. The tower was taken down using dynamites in 1917. Tesla died in 1943.

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