My conviction has grown so strong that I no longer look on this plan of energy or intelligence transmission as a mere theoretical possibility, but as a serious problem in electrical engineering, which must be carried out some day.
The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost.
It is quite evident, though, that this squandering cannot go on indefinitely, for geological investigations prove our fuel stores to be limited. So great has been the drain on them of late years that the specter of exhaustion is looming up threateningly in the distance...
Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.
It is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering — only expensive — blind, faint-hearted, doubting world.
The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter -- for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way.
My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.
One cannot help looking at that little bulb of Crookes with a feeling akin to awe, when he considers all that it has done for scientific progress - first, the magnificent wonderful achievements of Roentgen. Possibly, it may still contain a grateful Asmodeus, who will be let out of his narrow prison cell by a lucky student. At times it has seemed to me as though I myself heard a whispering voice, and I have searched eagerly among my dusty bulbs and bottles. I fear my imagination has deceived me, but there they are still, my dusty bulbs, and I am still listening hopefully.