Various Tesla book cover images

Nikola Tesla Books

Books written by or about Nikola Tesla
Phot. XXII. Five incandescent lamps lighted by current passing from "extra coil" to ground plate.


January 2

In this entry of 21 pages (the longest in the Notes) Tesla describes 11 photographs.

The explanation to Photograph XXII concerning the transmission of power from the excited primary circuit to the “extra coil” via the earth is similar to that he gave in 1893(6). The experiment to which the photograph refers was made with the aim of estimating the power of the oscillator from the thermal effect of the HF current. What Tesla calls the “total energy set in movement” would correspond to the total energy transferred to condenser in the secondary (i.e. the power) if an energy of $!{1 \over 2}$! CV2 is transferred in each half-cycle. It can be shown that the active power dissipated in the circuit is much less than this and is inversely proportional to the Q-factor of the oscillating circuit.

The next few photographs show a movable coil which powers light bulbs by means of the high-frequency power which it picks up. One end of the coil is grounded, the other free or just connected to a short piece of wire. The bulbs are inductively coupled to the resonant coil via the auxiliary secondary. Tesla gives no data about the distance of the resonant coil from the oscillator coil.

Tesla's commentary on photograph XXVIII illustrates that he still retained a lively interest in the problem of electric lighting, even after a period of over ten years. His earlier discovery of the luminescence of the gas and not only the filament with HF currents was here again confirmed(5).

In photograph XXVIII the bulb is connected in series with the terminal capacitive load. In the calculation Tesla does not use the “total energy set in movement” but assumes that 1/2 CV2 of electrostatic energy is consumed in the bulb in each half-cycle. A similar comment applies to photograph XXIV.

Several times Tesla remarks that the principle energy transfer from the oscillating to the receiving coil takes place via the earth. He finds confirmation for this in the experiment described on p. 363 (photograph XXX). He found that the voltage induced in the receiving coil was greatly reduced if the ground connection was broken. It may be that such experiments led him to the conclusion that “transmission” through the earth was a more efficient method of wireless transmission of power than the “inductive method”.

Photograph XXXI is an X-ray picture of a finger. Tesla's comments on this experiment illustrate his interest in this type of radiation, already referred to (see the commentary to 6 June 1899).

January 2

Tesla gave his observations on 22 pages. On them he described eleven photographs. The explanation along with photograph No. 22 about energy transmission from excitation of the primary circuit to "additional coil" over the earth surface is similar to the one from 1893(6). Otherwise the experiment to which the photograph is related was performed for the purpose of oscillator power estimate on the basis of thermal effects of high frequency current.

That which Tesla calls "total energy placed in motion" would correspond to the total energy which is supplied to a capacitor per second (i.e. power) if energy ½CV2 is supplied during the duration of one half of the period. 

It could be shown that the active power which is spent in the circuit is considerably smaller than this power, and opposite, proportionally to the quality factor of the oscillating circuit. On several following photographs, the movable resonant coil with connected bulbs is photographed which is supplied by transmitted high frequency energy. One terminal of this coil is connected to the ground, and the other is open ended or a short piece of wire is connected to it. Bulbs are coupled by means of the auxiliary secondary coil inductively with the secondary coil. The data was not given on the distance of resonant coil from the oscillator coil. Tesla's comment on photograph No. 27 illustrates the interest on the question of electrical lightning, though he worked on this for more than ten years. One earlier discovery on gas elimination and not only filament, when working with high frequency currents is again proven(5).

On photograph No. 28 the bulb is connected in series with a terminal capacitance load. In the calculations "total energy placed in movement" is not taken when it was assumed that the electrostatic energy ½CV2 is spent in the bulb during one half of the period. A similar comment is valid for photograph No. 29.

Tesla mentioned several times that the main transmission from the exciting to the excited circuit is done via the ground. The proof for this statement he found in the experiment illustrated by photograph No. 30. He concluded that the induced voltage in the excited circuit is significantly reduced when the ground connection is disconnected. Photograph No. 31 is an X-ray photograph of a finger. The comments on this experiment are an illustration of Tesla's interest in the radiation field which was mentioned earlier (please see comment on June 6, 1899).


Lowercase tau - an irrational constant defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its radius, equal to the radian measure of a full turn; approximately 6.283185307 (equal to 2π, or twice the value of π).
A natural rubber material obtained from Palaquium trees, native to South-east Asia. Gutta-percha made possible practical submarine telegraph cables because it was both waterproof and resistant to seawater as well as being thermoplastic. Gutta-percha's use as an electrical insulator was first suggested by Michael Faraday.
The Habirshaw Electric Cable Company, founded in 1886 by William M. Habirshaw in New York City, New York.
The Brown & Sharpe (B & S) Gauge, also known as the American Wire Gauge (AWG), is the American standard for making/ordering metal sheet and wire sizes.
A traditional general-purpose dry cell battery. Invented by the French engineer Georges Leclanché in 1866.
Refers to Manitou Springs, a small town just six miles west of Colorado Springs, and during Tesla's time there, producer of world-renown bottled water from its natural springs.
A French mineral water bottler.
Lowercase delta letter - used to denote: A change in the value of a variable in calculus. A functional derivative in functional calculus. An auxiliary function in calculus, used to rigorously define the limit or continuity of a given function.
America's oldest existing independent manufacturer of wire and cable, founded in 1878.
Lowercase lambda letter which, in physics and engineering, normally represents wavelength.
The lowercase omega letter, which represents angular velocity in physics.