If I were ever assailed by doubt of ultimate success I would dismiss it by remembering the words of that great philosopher, Lord Kelvin, who after witnessing some of my experiments said to me with tears in his eyes: 'I am sure you will do it.'
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.
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.
The destruction of Nikola Tesla's workshop, with its wonderful contents, is something more than a private calamity. It is a misfortune to the whole world. ...The men living at this time who are more important to the human race than this young gentleman can be counted on the fingers of one hand; perhaps on the thumb of one hand.
Technical invention is akin to architecture and the experts must in time come to the same conclusions I have reached long ago. Sooner or later my power system will have to be adopted in its entirety and so far as I am concerned it is as good as done.
Following up these promising revelations I demonstrated conclusively by experiments that great amounts of electrical energy can be transmitted to any distance through upper air strata which are easily accessible, and since this truth has been recognized every fiber has been strained to realize such a transmission on a large scale.
There were many days when [I] did not know where my next meal was coming from. But I was never afraid to work, I went where some men were digging a ditch ... [and] said I wanted to work. The boss looked at my good clothes and white hands and laughed to the others ... but he said, “All right. Spit on your hands. Get in the ditch.” And I worked harder than anybody. At the end of the day I had $2.
The perfect purity of the air, the unequaled beauty of the sky, the imposing sight of a high mountain range, the quiet and restfulness of the place—all around contributed to make the conditions for scientific observation ideal.