Financially supported by J. Pierpont Morgan, Tesla built the Wardenclyffe laboratory and its famous transmitting tower in Shoreham, Long Island between 1901 and 1905. This huge landmark was 187 feet high, capped by a 68-foot copper dome which housed the magnifying transmitter. It was planned to be the first broadcast system, transmitting both signals and power without wires to any point on the globe. The huge magnifying transmitter, discharging high frequency electricity, would turn the earth into a gigantic dynamo which would project its electricity in unlimited amounts anywhere in the world.
Tesla’s concept of wireless electricity was used to power ocean liners, destroy warships, run industry and transportation and send communications instantaneously all over the globe. To stimulate the public’s imagination, Tesla suggested that this wireless power could even be used for interplanetary communication. If Tesla were confident to reach Mars, how much less difficult to reach Paris. Many newspapers and periodicals interviewed Tesla and described his new system for supplying wireless power to run all of the earth’s industry. Because of a dispute between Morgan and Tesla as to the final use of the tower. Morgan withdrew his funds. The financier’s classic comment was, “If anyone can draw on the power, where do we put the meter?”
The erected, but incomplete tower was demolished in 1917 for wartime security reasons. The site where the Wardenclyffe tower stood still exists with its 100 feet deep foundation still intact. Tesla’s laboratory designed by Stanford White in 1901 is today still in good condition and is graced with a bicentennial plaque.
Tesla lectured to the scientific community on his inventions in New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis and before scientific organizations in both England and France in 1892. Tesla’s lectures and writings of the 1890s aroused wide admiration among contemporaries popularized his inventions and inspired untold numbers of younger men to enter the new field of radio and electrical science.
Nikola Tesla was one of the most celebrated personalities in the American press, in this century. According to Life Magazine’s special issue of September, 1997, Tesla is among the 100 most famous people of the last 1,000 years. He is one of the great men who divert the stream of human history. Tesla’s celebrity was in its height at the turn of the century. His discoveries, inventions and vision had widespread acceptance by the public, the scientific community and American press. Tesla’s discoveries had extensive coverage in the scientific journals, the daily and weekly press as well as in the foremost literary and intellectual publications of the day. He was the Super Star.
Tesla wrote many autobiographical articles for the prominent journal Electrical Experimenter, collected in the book, My Inventions. Tesla was gifted with intense powers of visualization and exceptional memory from early youth on. He was able to fully construct, develop and perfect his inventions completely in his mind before committing
them to paper.
In 1915, a New York Times article announced that Tesla and Edison were to share the Nobel Prize for physics. Oddly, neither man received the prize, the reason being unclear. It was rumored that Tesla refused the prize because he would not share with Edison, and because Marconi had already received his.
On his 75th birthday in 1931, the inventor appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. On this occasion, Tesla received congratulatory letters from more than 70 pioneers in science and engineering including Albert Einstein. These letters were mounted and presented to Tesla in the form of a testimonial volume.
Until Tomorrow: Keep our innerself shining all day long.