S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Nikola Tesla Page keywords = tesla nikola nicola nicholas Wardenclyffe electricity alternating current transmission radio radiation Long Island

Updated:   15 Aug 2012, 15:50  ET
[Page created 30 Mar 2006; converted 16 Aug 2012
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/tesla.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/tesla.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Nikola Tesla Page

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General Historical Material.

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Nikola Tesla

Nikola (Nicola, Nicholas) Tesla was a famous Serbian-American electrical engineer, scientist, and inventor, who was born ca. 09/10 Jul 1856 in Smiljan, Lika, in what was then Austria-Hungary but was later considered Yugoslavia and is now in Serbia.  He died on 07 Jan 1943 in New York City and his lifetime accumulation of papers appears to have been confiscated by the U.S. government and hidden from public view ever since.

Among Tesla's many inventions were a telephone repeater, the rotating magnetic field principle, a polyphase alternating-current system, the induction motor, alternating-current power transmission, the Tesla coil transformer, wireless communication, radio, and fluorescent lights; Tesla held more than 700 other patents.

[My mother, Hungarian-born, insisted that Tesla was Hungarian but,
in reality he was no Magyar but a true Serb - sorry Mom.]

He emigrated to the United States in 1884 and worked first with Edison and later Westinghouse. Perhaps Tesla's most significant contribution to humanity was A.C. (Alternating Current), which allowed efficient long-distance transmission of electrical energy and which was developed commercially with Westinghouse:

Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
God said, "Let Tesla be", and all was light.
        B. A. Behrend, AIEE annual meeting, New York City, 18 May 1917

Tesla was interested in almost every aspect of life and technology and held the view that everything should be examined from the bottom up, from the smallest known unit (atoms, originally) outward to the universe and beyond.  He also felt that energy in the form of elecricity could be beamed in significant quantity through the ether.  In 1900, to further his investigations, he built a laboratory (named Wardenclyffe and transmission tower in Shoreham, Long Island, New York, remnants of which are still visible right next to the Shoreham Post Office and Shoreham Fire House on Route 25A, inside the Agfa (GAF) cyclone-fence and you can still recognize the old Tesla building from the front, looking through the fence.  I must get out there to take my own photos (hard to do now that I'm up in Massachusetts - 2012).

In the interim, here is Tesla with other dignitaries at a most (moist?) odd dinner party:

[Click on thumbnailed image for larger picture]

or in this cropped blowup:


Take a look at the lower right-hand corner; I believe you will recognize Nikola Tesla in the lower right with Harvey S. Firestone behind him and Thomas Alva Edison next to him and possibly Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes to Edison's right.  This was a dinner given in the tube to celebrate the opening of some tunnel or other, possibly a subway or the Pennsylvania RR's New York City MacAdoo tunnels under the North (Hudson) River or the Steinway tunnels under the East River.  Pity the poor horse; was he destined for dinner?

[This photo was sent to me without provenance; I will try to find from whence it came - I suspect the Library of Congress American Memory collection.]

Dave Keller, famed Long Island Rail Road photo archivist and author (see LIRR Bibliography) sent along some very old photos of the Tesla Lab taken by one Thomas Bayles (they were very dark and I took the liberty of cropping them ever-so-slightly and enhancing them significantly, as well as three of his own; full captions will follow - these are from my memory, corrected per Dave on 11 Apr 2006):

Tesla09 Tesla01
The Lab | Rear of Lab
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]
{photos by, from archives of, and © D. Keller}

Tesla02 Tesla05
Water Tank with Lab beyond | The Lab and the Tower
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]
{D. Keller photo (l.) and T. Bayles photo (r.) from archives of and © D. Keller}

Tesla06 Tesla08
Route 25A looking east from the Tower | LIRR station facilities at Shoreham from the Tower
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]
{T. Bayles photos from archives of and © D. Keller}

Note the old car, ca. 1910-1920, on the road; the tower was almost adjacent to Route 25A.

Tesla07 Tesla03
The Lab from the Tower  | Dynamiting of the Tower (1917)
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]
{T. Bayles photos from archives of and © D. Keller}

There IS a top on the cupola | Look at the onlookers on the roof and at the fence!

Tesla04 Teslao4
Inside of the Lab | Enlargement of Fan and Engine
[Click on thumbnailed image (left) for larger picture]
{T. Bayles photo from archives of and © D. Keller}

This last picture appears to show the inside of the abandoned Laboratory with a large cooling fan apparently driven by an aero engine.

All of the above Lab photos were taken by Thomas Bayles (except the first three, as noted), and all are provided through the great courtesy of, and from the archives of,Dave Keller.

Here are five Lab photos from a German Net site whose URL I can't find:

Teslade1 Teslade2 Teslade3 Teslade4
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]

However, this fifth one is the kicker:

Teslade5 Tesla03
The Tower after dynamiting (German site) | The Tower after dynamiting (T. Bayles)
[Click on thumbnailed images for larger pictures]
{German site (left) / T. Bayles photo from archives of and © D. Keller (right)}

How about that?  Those sure appear to be left- and right-cropped portions of one and the same photo!  It seems the tower was dynamited several times without doing any more than leaning as shown and when it finally was toppled, it merely lay over without breaking up!

Dave Keller confirms that they are from the same negative but has "had negative damage over the years through deterioration" and "was forced to crop the men out of the scene to eliminate more of those lines in the emulsion, one of which just had to go across the front of the tower!!!!"  To which Dave appended "Grrrrrrrrrr!!!"; I most-regretfully second the motion!

Dave Keller's full captions will follow.

Some text is based on the excellent Tesla site of Bogdan R. Kosanovic.

The Long Island Wireless Historical Society is reportedly trying to buy Wardenclyffe
and restore it as an interpretive historical site; I must thank Long Island Motor Parkway Panel member Pat Masterson,
who is also a LIWHS member, for his help with the Keller images and captions.

[More to follow.]

This is a work in progress.



  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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