Nikola Tesla is finally beginning to attract real attention and encourage serious debate more than 70 years after his death.
Was he for real? A crackpot? Part of an early experiment in corporate-government control?
We know that he was undoubtedly persecuted by the energy power brokers of his day – namely Thomas Edison, whom we are taught in school to revere as a genius. He was also attacked by J.P. Morgan and other “captains of industry.” Upon Tesla’s death on January 7th, 1943, the U.S. government moved into his lab and apartment confiscating all of his scientific research, some of which has been released by the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. (I’ve embedded the first 250 pages below and have added a link to the .pdf of the final pages, 290 in total).
Besides his persecution by corporate-government interests (which is practically a certification of authenticity), there is at least one solid indication of Nikola Tesla’s integrity – he tore up a contract with Westinghouse that was worth billions in order to save the company from paying him his huge royalty payments.
But, let’s take a look at what Nikola Tesla – a man who died broke and alone – has actually given to the world. For better or worse, with credit or without, he changed the face of the planet in ways that perhaps no man ever has.
1. Alternating Current – This is where it all began, and what ultimately caused such a stir at the 1893 World’s Expo in Chicago. A war was leveled ever-after between the vision of Edison and the vision of Tesla for how electricity would be produced and distributed. The division can be summarized as one of cost and safety: The DC current that Edison (backed by General Electric) had been working on was costly over long distances, and produced dangerous sparking from the required converter (called a commutator). Regardless, Edison and his backers utilized the general “dangers” of electric current to instill fear in Tesla’s alternative: Alternating Current. As proof, Edison sometimes electrocuted animals at demonstrations. Consequently, Edison gave the world the electric chair, while simultaneously maligning Tesla’s attempt to offer safety at a lower cost. Tesla responded by demonstrating that AC was perfectly safe by famously shooting current through his own body to produce light. This Edison-Tesla (GE-Westinghouse) feud in 1893 was the culmination of over a decade of shady business deals, stolen ideas, and patent suppression that Edison and his moneyed interests wielded over Tesla’s inventions. Yet, despite it all, it is Tesla’s system that provides power generation and distribution to North America in our modern era.
2. Light — Of course he didn’t invent light itself, but he did invent how light can be harnessed and distributed. Tesla developed and used fluorescent bulbs in his lab some 40 years before industry “invented” them. At the World’s Fair, Tesla took glass tubes and bent them into famous scientists’ names, in effect creating the first neon signs. However, it is his Tesla Coil that might be the most impressive, and controversial. The Tesla Coil is certainly something that big industry would have liked to suppress: the concept that the Earth itself is a magnet that can generate electricity (electromagnetism) utilizing frequencies as a transmitter. All that is needed on the other end is the receiver – much like a radio.