Nikola Tesla Articles
Tesla's Reply to Edison
Says “We Shall Soon be Talking Round the World.”
As we said last week, Mr. Edison was reported to have said in an interview of the New York World that he did not believe with Tesla in being able to talk round the world, but that he thought Marconi would, sooner or later, perfect his system.
Nikola Tesla has replied. He says:
In the course of certain investigations which I carried on for the purpose of studying the effects of lightning discharges upon the electrical condition of the earth I observed that sensitive receiving instruments arranged so as to be capable of responding to electrical disturbances created by the discharges at times failed to respond when they should have done so, and upon inquiring into the causes of this unexpected behavior I discovered it to be due to the character of the electrical waves which were produced in the earth by the lightning discharges, and which had nodal regions following at definite distances the shifting source of the disturbances. From data obtained in a large number of observations of the maxima and minima of these waves I found their length to vary approximately from twenty five to seventy kilometres, and these results and theoretical deductions led me to the conclusion that waves of this kind may be propagated in all directions over the globe, and that they may be of still more widely differing lengths, the extreme limits being imposed by the physical dimensions and properties of the earth. Recognising in the existence of these waves an unmistakable evidence that the disturbances created had been conducted from their origin to the most remote portions of the globe, and had been thence reflected, I conceived the idea of producing such waves in the earth by artificial means, with the object of using them for many useful purposes for which they are or might be found applicable.
Beat Lightning Flashes.
This problem was rendered extremely difficult, owing to the immense dimensions of the planet, and consequently enormous movement of electricity or rate at which electrical energy had to be delivered in order to approximate, even in a remote degree, movements or rates which are manifestly attained in the displays of electrical forces in nature, and which seemed at first unrealizable by any human agencies; but by gradual and continuous improvements of a generator of electrical oscillations, which I have described in my Patents Nos. 645,576 and 649,621, I finally succeeded in reaching electrical movements or rates of delivery of electrical energy not only approximately, but, as shown in comparative tests and measurements, actually surpassing those of lightning discharges and by means of this apparatus I have found it possible to reproduce, whenever desired, phenomena in the earth the same as or similar to those due to such discharges. With the knowledge of the phenomena discovered by me, and the means at command for accomplishing these results, I am enabled, not only to carry out many operations by the use of known instruments, but also to offer a solution for many important problems involving the operation or control of remote devices which, for want of this knowledge and the absence of these means, have heretofore been entirely impossible. For example, by the use of such a generator of stationary waves and receiving apparatus properly placed and adjusted in any other locality, however remote, it is practicable to transmit intelligible signals, or to control or actuate at will any one or all of such apparatus for many other important and valuable purposes, as for indicating whenever desired the correct time of an observatory, or for ascertaining the relative position of a body or distance of the same with reference to the given point, or for determining the course of a moving object, such as a vessel at sea, the distance traversed by the same or its speed; or for producing many other useful effects at a distance dependent on the intensity, wavelength, direction or velocity of movements, or other feature or property of disturbances of this character.
A Bit of Sarcasm.
Permit me to say on this occasion that if there exist to-day no facilities for wireless telegraphic and telephone communication between the most distant countries, it is merely because a series of misfortunes and obstacles have delayed the consummation of my labours, which might have been completed three years ago. In this connection I shall well remember the efforts of some, unwise enough to believe that they can gain an advantage by throwing sand in the eyes of the people and retarding the progress of invention. Should the first messages across the seas prove calamitous to them, it will be a punishment regrettable but fully deserved.