I recently watched a documentary about one of the most interesting people of the 20th century. A man who is either directly responsible, or had some effect on many of the technologies we use today, including electricity. That mans name was, Nikola Tesla.
The obscure Serbian inventor, who died in poverty, and was in love with a pigeon, is the reason that we are able to enjoy electricity at an “affordable” rate today. He was the man who invented the modern alternating current (AC) generator, among other things. But, even that one invention changed the world.
Tesla had gone into business with Westinghouse company at the time. And in his contract, if and when he could prove the AC generators worked. He would get a 2.50 royalty for every kilowatt of energy sold. A crazy amount of money for the time.
The Westinghouse CEO at the time told Tesla, after he had proved his invention worked. That the company would not be able to afford the 2.50$ royalty that they had previously agreed too, if they were going to keep the company afloat. Instead of renegotiating the terms of that agreement, Tesla tore the document in half. He just wanted to help humanity, a great humanitarian gesture, but a fatal business error.
After the success of the AC generators, Tesla became a wealthy man for some time. But his propensity for lavish living, and sparing no expense while experimenting, would run that river dry very, VERY quickly... And for the rest of his days, Tesla would be forced to seek funding for his projects from wealthy benefactors, and rely on them to cover his living expenses.
After his success with AC power generation, he became obsessed with creating a wireless power network that could span the globe. He claimed that not only could power be transmitted wirelessly, but that wireless communication, text, and video, would all be possible. Lofty claims for the time...
He had designs to build a prototype tower, that could transmit wireless communications, he wanted to build it, but had no funding available... He was however able to convince J.P Morgan to invest in the idea and construction began on Wardenclyffe tower, probably better known as Tesla tower.
Tesla was about to have another unlucky break unfortunately. Guglielmo Marconi was about to reveal the invention of radio.... And with that, the primary reason J.P. had invested in the Tesla tower was made obsolete.
Tesla tried to convince J.P to invest more money into the project, so he could not only show the possibility for wireless communication, but also of wireless power transmission. But as the story goes, when Tesla told J.P. that there would be no way to charge people for the power they used on this wireless grid, he refused to fund it any further. With no additional funding to be found, the project was abandoned in 1906.
Is wireless power generation possible? Tesla thought so, and so do I... For more than one reason. But to find out what those reasons are, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday, this is a big topic and I don’t want my blog post to turn into a 5 page essay.
Here’s some of my art that I think displays the concept of wireless power fairly accurately, and might give you an idea of what I’m thinking when it comes to wireless power transmission possibilities. :P
Happy Monday everyone, Tesla is an immensely interesting guy and some of the best things about him are yet to come.
Sincerely, Bret Frick.