"Broadcast Power" — Nikola Tesla
"Lost Science" by Gerry Vassilatos
Limited permission granted to use this material in other presentations.
ISBN 0-932813-75-5 © 1999
Tesla observed that instantaneous applications of either direct or alternating current to lines often caused explosive effects. While these had obvious practical applications in improvement and safety, Tesla was seized by certain peculiar aspects of the phenomenon. He had observed these powerful blasts when knife-switches were quickly closed and opened in his Polyphase System. Switch terminals were often blasted to pieces when the speed of the switchman matched the current phase.
Tesla assessed the situation very accurately. Suddenly applied currents will stress conductors both electrically and mechanically. When the speed of the switch-action is brief enough, and the power reaches a sufficiently high crescendo, the effects are not unlike a miniature lightning stroke. Electricity initially heats the wire, bringing it to vapor point. The continual application of current then blasts the wire apart by electrostatic repulsion. But was this mechanistic explanation responsible for every part of the phenomenon?
The most refractory metals were said to be vaporized by such electrical blasts. Others had used this phenomenon to generate tiny granular diamonds. Yes, there were other aspects about this violent impulse phenomenon, which tantalized him. Sufficiently intrigued, he developed a small lightning "generator" consisting of a high voltage dynamo and small capacitor storage bank. His idea was to blast sections of wire with lightning-like currents. He wanted to observe the mechanically explosive effects, which wires sustain under sudden high-powered electrifications.
Instantaneous applications of high current and high voltage could literally convert thin wires into vapor. Charged to high direct current potentials, his capacitors were allowed to discharge across a section of thin wire. Tesla configured his test apparatus to eliminate all possible current alternations. The application of a single switch contact would here produce a single, explosive electrical surge: a direct current impulse resembling lightning. At first Tesla hand-operated the system, manually snapping a heavy knife switch on and off. This became less favorable as the dynamo voltages were deliberately increased.
He quickly closed the large knife switch held in his gloved hand. Bang! The wire exploded. But as it did so, Tesla was stung by a pressure blast of needle-like penetrations. Closing the dynamo down, he rubbed his face, neck, arms, chest, and hands. The irritation was distinct. He thought while the dynamo whirred down to a slow spin. The blast was powerful. He must have been sprayed by hot metal droplets as small as smoke particles. Though he examined his person, he fortunately found no wounds. No evidence of the stinging blast, which he so powerful felt.
Placing a large glass plate between himself and the exploding wire, he performed the test again. Bang! The wire again turned to vapor...but the pressured stinging effect was still felt. But, what was this? How were these stinging effects able to penetrate the glass plate? Now he was not sure whether he was experiencing a pressure effect or an electrical one. The glass would have screened any mechanical shrapnel, but would not appreciably shield any electrical effects.
Through careful isolation of each experimental component, Tesla gradually realized that he was observing a very rare electrical phenomenon. Each "bang" produced the same unexpected shock response in Tesla, while exploding small wire sections into vapor. The instantaneous burst produced strange effects never observed with alternating currents. The painful shocking sensation appeared each time he closed or opened the switch. These sudden shock currents were IMPULSES, not alternations. What surprised him was the fact that these needle-like shocks were able to reach him from a distance: he was standing almost ten feet from the discharge site!
These electrical irritations expanded out of the wire in all directions and filled the room in a mystifying manner. He had never before observed such an effect. He thought that the hot metal vapor might be acting as a "carrier" for the electrical charges. This would explain the strong pressure wave accompanied by the sensation of electrical shock. He utilized longer wires. When the discharge wire was resistive enough, no explosion could occur.
Wire in place, the dynamo whirred at a slower speed. He threw the switch for a brief instant, and was again caught off guard by the stinging pressure wave! The effect persisted despite the absence of an explosive conductor. Here was a genuine mystery. Hot vapor was not available to "carry" high voltage charges throughout the room. No charge carriers could be cited in this instance to explain the stinging nature of the pressure wave. So what was happening here?
The pressure wave was sharp and strong, like a miniature thunderclap. It felt strangely "electrical" when the dynamo voltage was sufficiently high. In fact, it was uncomfortably penetrating when the dynamo voltage was raised beyond certain thresholds. It became clear that these pressure waves might be electrified. Electrified sound waves. Such a phenomenon would not be unexpected when high voltages were used. Perhaps he was fortunate enough to observe the rare phenomenon for the first time.
He asked questions. How and why did the charge jump out of the line in this strange manner? Here was a phenomenon, which was not described in any of the texts with which he was familiar. And he knew every written thing on electricity. Thinking that he was the victim of some subtle, and possibly deadly short circuit, he rigorously examined the circuit design. Though he searched, he could find no electrical leakages. There were simply no paths for any possible corona effects to find their way back into the switching terminal, which he held.
Deciding to better insulate the arrangement in order that all possible line leakages could be eradicated, he again attempted the experiment. The knife switch rapidly closed and opened, he again felt the unpleasant shock just as painfully as before. Right through the glass shield! Now he was perplexed. Desiring total distance from the apparatus, he modified the system once more by making it "automatic".
He could freely walk around the room during the test. He could hold the shield or simply walk without it. A small rotary spark switch was arranged in place of the hand-held knife switch. The rotary switch was arranged to interrupt the dynamo current in slow, successive intervals. The system was actuated, the motor switch cranked it contacts slowly. Snap ... snap ... snap ... each contact produced the very same room-filling irritation.
This time it was most intense. Tesla could not get away from the shocks, regardless of his distance from the apparatus across his considerably large gallery hall. He scarcely could get near enough to deactivate the rotating switch. From what he was able to painfully observe, thin sparks of a bright blue-white color stood straight out of the line with each electrical contact.
The shock effects were felt far beyond the visible spark terminations. This seemed to indicate that their potential was far greater than the voltage applied to the line. A paradox! The dynamo charge was supplied at a tension of fifteen thousand volts, yet the stinging sparks were characteristics of electrostatic discharges exceeding some two hundred fifty thousand volts. Somehow this input current was being transformed into a much higher voltage by an unknown process. No natural explanation could be found. No scientific explanation sufficed. There was simply not enough data on the phenomenon for an answer. And Tesla knew that this was no ordinary phenomenon. Somewhere in the heart of this activity was a deep natural secret. Secrets of this kind always opened humanity into new revolutions.
Tesla considered this strange voltage multiplying effect from several viewpoints. The problem centered around the fact that there was no magnetic induction taking place. Transformers raise or lower voltage when current is changing. Here were impulses. Change was happening during the impulse. But there was no transformer in the circuit. No wires were close enough for magnetic inductions to take place. Without magnetic induction, there could theoretically be no transformation effect. No conversion from low to high voltage at all. Yet, each switch snap brought both the radiating blue-white sparks and their painful sting.
Tesla noted that the strange sparks were more like electrostatic discharges. If the sparks had been direct current arcs reaching from the test line, he would surely have been killed with the very first close of the switch. The physical pressure and stinging pain of these sparks across such distances could not be explained. This phenomenon had never been reported by those who should have seen and felt its activities.
Tesla gradually came to the conclusion that the shock effect was something new, something never before observed. He further concluded that the effect was never seen before because no one had ever constructed such a powerful impulse generator. No one had ever reported the phenomenon be cause no one had ever generated the phenomenon. Tesla once envisioned a vortex of pure energy while looking into a sunset. The result of this great Providential vision was Polyphase current. A true revelation. But this, this was an original discovery found through an accident. It was an empirical discovery of enormous significance. Here was a new electrical force, an utterly new species of electrical force, which should have been incorporated into the electrical equations of James Clerk Maxwell. Surprisingly, it was not.
Tesla now questioned his own knowledge. He questioned the foundations on which he had placed so much confidence in the last several years. Maxwell was the "rule and measure" by which all of Tesla's Polyphase generators had been constructed. Tesla penetrated the validity of Maxwell's mathematical method. It was well known that Maxwell had derived his mathematical descriptions of electromagnetic induction from a great collection of available electrical phenomena. Perhaps he had not studied enough of the phenomena while doing so.
Perhaps newer phenomena had not been discovered, and were therefore unavailable to Maxwell for consideration. How was Maxwell justified in stating his equations as "final"? In deriving the laws of electromagnetic induction, Maxwell had imposed his own "selection process" when deciding which electrical effects were the "basic ones". There were innumerable electrical phenomena, which had been observed since the eighteenth century. Maxwell had difficulty selecting what he considered to be "the most fundamental" induction effects from the start. The selection process was purely arbitrary. After having "decided" which induction effects were "the most fundamental", Maxwell then reduced these selected cases and described them mathematically. His hope was to simplify matters for engineers who were designing new electrical machines. The results were producing "prejudicial" responses in engineers who could not bear the thought of any variations from the "standard". Tesla had experienced this kind of thematic propaganda before, when he was a student. The quantitative wave of blindness was catching up with him.
Positioned behind his copper mantle, Tesla initiated the action. ZZZZZZ ... the motorized switch whirring, dynamo voltage interrupted several hundred times per second, the shock action was now continuous. He felt a steady rhythm of electrostatic irritations right through the barrier accompanied by a pressure wave, which kept expanding. An impossibility. No electrical influence should have passed through the amount of copper, which composed the shield. Yet this energetic effect was penetrating, electrically shocking, and pressured. He had no words to describe this aspect of the new phenomenon. The shocks really stung.
Tesla was sure that this new discovery would produce a completely new breed of inventions, once tamed and regulated. Its effects differed completely from those observed in high frequency alternating current. These special radiant sparks were the result of non-reversing impulses. In fact, this effect relied on the non-reversing nature of each applied burst for its appearance. A quick contact charge by a powerful high voltage dynamo was performing a feat of which no alternating generator was capable. Here was a demonstration of "broadcast electricity".
Most researchers and engineers are fixed in their view of Nikola Tesla and his discoveries. They seem curiously rigidified in the thought that his only realm of experimental developments laid in alternating current electricity. This is an erroneous conception which careful patent study reveals. Few recognize the documented facts that, after his work with alternating currents was completed, Tesla switched over completely to the study of impulse currents. His patents from this period to the end of his career are filled with the terminology equated with electrical impulses alone.
The secret lay principally in the direct current application in a small time interval. Tesla studied this time increment, believing that it might be possible to eliminate the pain field by shortening the length of time during which the switch contact is made. In a daring series of experiments, he developed rapid mechanical rotary switches, which handled very high direct voltage potentials. Each contact lasted an average of one ten-thousandth second.
Exposing himself to such impulses of very low power, he discovered to his joy and amazement that the pain field was nearly absent. In its place was a strange pressure effect, which could be felt right through the copper barriers. Increasing the power levels of this device produced no pain increase, but did produce an intriguing increased pressure field. The result of simple interrupted high voltage DC, the phenomenon was never before reported except by witnesses of close lightning strokes. This was erroneously attributed however to pressure effects in air.
Not able to properly comprehend their nature at first, Tesla also conservatively approached the pressure phenomenon as due to air pressure. He had first stated that the pressure field effect was due to sharp sound waves, which proceeded outward from the suddenly charged line. In fact, he reported this in a little-known publication where he first announced the discovery. Calling the pressure effects "electrified sound waves", he described their penetrating nature in acoustic terms.
Further experimentation however, gradually brought the new awareness that both the observed pressure effect and electrical shock fields were not taking place in air at all. He demonstrated that these actions could take place in oil immersions. Impulse charged lines were placed in mineral oil and carefully watched. Strong pressure projections emerged from sharp wire ends in the oil, as if air were streaming out under high pressure.
Tesla first believed that this stream was wire-absorbed air driven off by electrical pressure. Continual operation of the phenomenon convinced him that the projected stream was not air at all. Furthermore, he was not at a loss to explain the effect, but was reluctant to mention his own theory of what had been generated by high voltage direct current impulses.
Tesla made electrical measurements of this projective stream. One lead of a galvanometer was connected to a copper plate, the other grounded. When impulses were applied to wire line, the unattached and distant meter registered a continual direct current. Current through space without wires! Now here was something which impulses achieved, never observed with alternating currents of any frequency.
Analysis of this situation proved that electrical energy or electrically productive energies were being projected from the impulse device as rays, not waves. Tesla was amazed to find these rays absolutely longitudinal in their action through space, describing them in a patent as "light-like rays". These observations conformed with theoretical expectations described in 1854 by Kelvin.
In another article Tesla calls them "dark-rays", and "rays which are more light-like in character". The rays neither diminished with the inverse square of the distance nor the inverse of the distance from their source. They seemed to stretch out in a progressive shock-shell to great distances without any apparent loss.
Nikola Tesla now required greater power levels than those provided by his mechanical rotary switch system. He also saw the need for controlling ultra-rapid current interruptions of high repetition ("succession") rates. No mechanical switch could perform in this manner. He had to envision and devise some new means by which ultra-rapid interruptions could be obtained. In his best and most efficient system, highly charged capacitors were allowed to impulsively discharge across special heavy-duty magnetic arcs.
The magnetic arc gap was capable of handling the large currents required by Tesla. In achieving powerful, sudden impulses of one polarity, these were the most durable. Horn shaped electrodes were positioned with a powerful permanent magnetic field. Placed at right angles to the arc itself, the currents, which suddenly formed in this magnetic space, were accelerated along the horns until they were extinguished. Rapidly extinguished!
Arcs were thus completely extinguished within a specified time increment. Tesla configured the circuit parameters so as to prevent capacitor alternations from occurring through the arc space. Each arc discharge represented a pure unidirectional impulse of very great power. No "contaminating current reversals" were possible or permissible.
Reversals ... alternations ... would ruin the "shock broadcast". The effect was never observed when alternating currents were engaged. High voltage was supplied by a large dynamo. Tesla could speed or slow this dynamo with a hand operated rheostat. Power was applied in parallel across the capacitor. The magnetic arc was linked almost directly to one side of this capacitor, a long and thick copper strap connecting the magnetic arc and the far capacitor plate.
This simple asymmetric positioning of the magnetic arc discharger to one side of the dynamo supply produced pure unidirectional electropositive or electronegative impulses as desired. Tesla designed this very simple and powerfully effective automatic switching system for achieving ultra-rapid impulses of a single polarity. Capacitor values, arc distances, magnetic fields and dynamo voltages were all balanced and adjusted to yield a repetitive train of ultra-short singular impulses without "fly back" effects.
The system is not really well understood by engineers, the exceptional activities of the arc plasma introducing numerous additional features to the overall system. While the effects, which Tesla claimed, can be reproduced with electron tube impulse circuitry, these produce decidedly inferior effects. The overall power of the basic arc discharge is difficult to equal. Tesla eventually enclosed the magnetic arc, immersing the gap space in mineral oil. This blocked premature arcing, while very greatly increasing the system output.
Most imagine that the Tesla impulse system is merely a "very high frequency alternator". This is a completely erroneous notion, resulting in effects, which can never equal those to which Tesla referred. The magnetic discharge device was a true stroke of genius. It rapidly extinguishes capacitor charge in a single disruptive blast. This rapid current rise and decline formed an impulse of extraordinary power. Tesla called this form of automatic arc switching a "disruptive discharge" circuit, distinguishing it from numerous other kinds of arc discharge systems. It is very simply a means for interrupting a high voltage direct current without allowing any backward current alternations. When these conditions are satisfied, the Tesla Effect is then observed.
The asymmetrical positioning of the capacitor and the magnetic arc determines the polarity of the impulse train. If the magnetic arc device is placed near the positive charging side, then the strap is charged negative and the resultant current discharge is decidedly negative.
Tesla approached the testing of his more powerful systems with certain fear. Each step of the testing process was necessarily a dangerous one. But he discovered that when the discharges exceeded ten thousand per second, the painful shock effect was absent. Nerves of the body were obviously incapable of registering the separate impulses. But this insensitivity could lead to a most seductive death. The deadly aspects of electricity might remain. Tesla was therefore all the more wary of the experiments.
He noticed that, though the pain field was gone, the familiar pressure effect remained. In its place came a defined and penetrating heat. Tesla was well aware that such heat could signal internal electrocution. He had already made a thorough study of these processes, recognizing that such heating precedes the formation of electrical arcs through the body. Nevertheless, he applied power to the dynamo in small but steady intervals.
Each increase brought increase in the internal heating effects. He remained poised at each power level, sensing and scoping his own physiology for danger signs. He continued raising the power level until the magnetic arc reached its full buzzing roar. Tesla found that this heat could be adjusted and, when not extreme, was completely enjoyable. So soothing, relaxing, and comfortable was this manifestation that Tesla daily exposed himself to the energies. An electrical "sauna".
During this time, Tesla found shorter impulse lengths where the heating effect disappeared altogether, rendering the radiance absolutely harmless. These impulse trains were so very high that the deepest nerves of one's body could not sense the permeating radiant energy field. Now he could pursue his vision of broadcast energy systems without fear of rendering to humanity a technological curse, rather than a true blessing.
Tesla operated the magnetic arc system at higher power levels, experimenting with various impulse lengths and repetition rates. He measured the mysterious electrical current, which apparently flowed through space from this system. These radiant fields operated at far greater power than before. Strange effects were suddenly appearing at certain distances from the magnetic impulser.
For one thing, Tesla noticed that metallic surfaces near the impulser became covered with white brush-like corona discharges. While the sparks played in trails across the metal surfaces, Tesla observed physical movement among the metal objects. Tensions and rocking motions. Both phenomena occurring simultaneously, he was utterly fascinated. The sparks themselves seemed alive. The moving metal objects seemed to suggest new motor effects. What was this strange coalition, this synchronicity of phenomena?
Brilliant white coronas came forth with a gaseous "hissing" sound from metal points and edges. Metal plates were soon poised all around the device for observation. Tesla recognized at once that these effects were not identical with those obtained earlier while using high frequency alternating currents. These new discharges were white, energetic, and strong.
The electrical behavior of copper plates, rods, cylinders, and spheres near his primary impulser brought forth a great variety of white fluidic discharges. Strong discharge brushes appeared from the ends of copper plates. These came in prodigious volumes, hissing and arcing wildly in all directions, especially from sharp points. Tesla tried copper discs. These seemed to produce more stable discharges. He observed the curious manner in which these white discharges seemed to "race" around the disc edge at times, blending and separating with all the other sparks. Here was a greatly magnified example of Reichenbach's Od force perhaps!
He noted the manner in which white brush discharges appeared from copper conductors of different shapes. Each form, poised near his impulser, gave a characteristic corona distribution. This coronal correspondence with specific geometric form greatly impressed him. With certain metal forms the discharges were very fluidic in appearance. Smooth, fluidic sheaths covered copper cylinders of specific size. This absolutely fascinated Tesla. There was an aerodynamic nature inherent in radiant electricity.
Copper cylinders produced remarkable volumes of white discharges. The discharges from certain sized cylinders were actually larger than those being applied. This inferred that an energy transformation effect was taking place within the cylinder. This reminded him of his initial observation with the shock-excited wires. Those which did not explode gave forth far greater voltages than were initially used. He had never understood why this was occurring. Here was another instance in which applied energy was seemingly magnified by a conductor. Why was this happening?
The key to understanding this bizarre phenomenon might be found here, he thought. He observed the discharges from copper cylinders of various diameters. Each became edged with white brush discharges when held near or actually placed within the conductive copper strap of the impulser. The discharge effect was most pronounced when cylinders were placed within the periphery of the copper strap.
Tesla noticed that white corona sheaths were actually covering the outer cylinder wall at times. These would appear, build in strength, and disappear on sudden discharge with a surprising length. The sheathing action was repetitive when the cylinder had a critically small volume. Very small cylinders behaved like rods, where discharges only appeared at their edges. The stability of these strange sheath discharges varied with cylinder diameter and length. Tesla noticed that not every cylinder performed well near the impulser. Only cylinders of specific volume produced stable and continuous white electrical sheaths. If the cylinders were too small, then the sheaths were intermittent and unstable. There was an obvious connection between the supplied impulse train and the cylinder volume. But what was it?
Tesla surveyed the entire range of his recent discoveries. Impulses produced a radiant electrical effect. Radiant electricity was mysteriously flowing through space. As it flowed, it focused over metal conductors as a white fluidic corona. When the shape and volume of the metal conductors were just right, the energy appeared as a stable white corona of far greater voltage than the impulse generator supplied. More questions. More discoveries.
Rods produced sparks from their edges, but not as long as copper cylinders did. Tesla selected a cylinder, which worked very well, and placed several horizontal "cuts" all around its surface. He was totally surprised when, on testing, the spark discharge from the cut cylinder was notably larger than before. Increased spark length means increased voltage. But why did this diminished conductivity force the voltage up?
The cuts diminished conductivity in the cylinder by forcing the energy into a tighter "squeeze". He had noted that electrical impulses displayed a tendency to traverse the outer surface of metal conductors. Certain cylinders were often ensheathed in a fluidic white discharge, which smoothly traveled between coil ends in a tightly constricted layer. Here was something truly notable. His input voltage was far less than that produced from the upper coil terminal. But why from end to end?
The essential reason why current preferred outer surface conduction was precisely because they were impulsing. The sudden shock, which any conductor experienced, produced an expansive effect, where the electrical charge was rejected by the conductive interior. This "skin effect" was a function of impulse time and conductor resistance. Highly resistant objects forced all of the impulse energy to the surface.
Now he was getting somewhere. Frustrated radiant electricity constricted into a tighter surface volume when encountering metal surfaces. This intense surface focusing effect brought the voltage up to tremendous values. Here was a new transformer effect! He believed it was an electrostatic transformation. Impulse currents each possessed an electrostatic nature. The bunching of charge in the impulser brings this electrostatic field to a peak in a small instant of time.
Constricting this field volume produces a greatly magnified voltage. Placement of any conductor in the field space alters the field by constricting its shape. When symmetrical conductors of special shape, volume, and resistance are placed in this space, the field is greatly constricted. Because the impulsing electrostatic field is very abrupt, it "snaps" over the conductor from end to end.
Tesla knew that here is where the secret lies. If resistance in the conductor is great enough, the snapping electrostatic force cannot move any charges. It is forced to "grow" over the conductor surface until it discharges at the end point, where greatly magnified voltages are obtained. When the wire diameter is small enough, the wire explodes under electrostatic pressures, which exceed those seen in dynamite.
In effect, Tesla had managed to interrupt a high voltage direct current several thousand times per second. In doing so, he had discovered a way to completely separate electrostatic energy from current impulses. Tesla pondered these facts, wondering if it was possible to force the magnification effect beyond the limits of standard electromagnetic transformers. In other words, how high could voltage be raised? Was there a limit to the process?
In order to achieve such enormous voltage levels, he needed a conductive shape, which offered so much resistance to charge movement, that all the applied energy would become electrostatic. In effect, Tesla wanted to convert a quantity of supply power into a pure electrostatic voltage. This phenomenon suggested that his goal was not impossible.
Tesla extended his idea of the cut copper cylinder to coils. From the viewpoint of electrostatic impulses, flat copper coils appear to be "continuously cut" cylinders. The electrostatic field focuses over the coil as it did with the cylinders, from end to end. A simple magnet coil of specific volume would offer so much resistance that it would be difficult to predict the actual resultant voltage, which results without an empirical test.
Constructing several of these, he was ready for the test. When each copper magnet coil was impulsed, Tesla saw tremendous white brushes leaping from their free ends: discharges approaching one million volts! But his supply power was nowhere near these voltages, and the coil was not wrapped in thousands of windings. These previously unexpected voltage magnifications were the result of an energy transformation, one that took electrical power and converted it completely into pressure. Watts into Volts, an unheard thing. It was the key to a new and explosive technology.
Tesla also found that such coils required very thin coil forms. He ceased using cellulose and cardboard forms, preferring "squirrel cage" type forms made of thin end-braced wooden rods. Wire was wound about these cylindrically disposed rods, producing the very best effects. Spacings were also tried between successive coil windings with excellent results. Spaced windings reduced sparking to a minimum.
Tesla remarked that the electrostatic potentials along the coil surface (from end to end) could be as much as ten thousand volts per inch of winding! A ten-inch coil of proper volume could produce one hundred thousand volt discharges. In addition, and in confirmation of his suspicions, no current was ever measured at the free terminals of these coils. A "zero coil current" condition! It was simply another paradox, which would occupy the academicians for several more argumentative decades. Tesla suddenly realized that coils represented a truly special and valuable component in his quest. The instantaneous resistance which any coil offered to an applied impulse was so immense that current could not flow through the wire length. As a phenomenal consequence, no current flowed through the coil windings at all! But sparking was observed, traveling from coil end to end. Here was yet another anomaly!
He began placing these "secondary" coils within his "primary" impulser circuit. The strap, which connected his magnetic arc to the capacitors, formed the "primary". He made necessary distinctions among his Transformer components. Few engineers actually appreciate these distinctions. The "primary" and "secondary" of Tesla Transformers are not magnetic inductors. They are resistive capacitors. Coil-shaped capacitors! Tesla Transformer action is electrostatic induction.
There were conditions for the most efficient manifestation of the effect. Maxwell could not predict these values. Tesla empirically discovered most of the rules for impulse behavior. He found that the transformative abilities of these smooth copper coils were maximum when the coil mass equaled the mass of the impulser's conductive copper strap. It did not matter how thin the coil windings were. The equality of copper masses brought maximum transformative effects. When this equal mass condition was fulfilled, Tesla said that the coil-capacitors were "in resonance". Electrostatic resonance.
Tesla found it possible to produce millions of electrostatic volts by this method. His first Transformers were horizontal in orientation, both free ends of the secondary coil-capacitor producing unidirectional impulses of great power. White discharges from each of these free ends had very different characteristics, indicating the unidirectional flow. Electropositive terminals always appeared brush-like and broad. Electronegative terminals always appeared constricted and dart-like.
His next Transformer series employed vertical cylinders with the base connected directly to ground. Free terminals stood quite a distance above the primary capacitor strap, spouting a brilliant white crown. These marked a turning point in his theories concerning electricity, since it was possible for him to develop well over one million volts impulse power in a device scarcely taller than a child.
These discharges were of an intense white coloration. White-fire. Very sudden impulses color discharge channels with the brilliant white-fire because Tesla Transformers separate the effusive Aether from electrons. Tesla Transformer conduct Aether, not electrons. The white-fire brilliance is the distinctive Aetheric trademark of Tesla Transformers.
During this time, Tesla discovered the peculiar necessity for streamlining his Transformers. Cylindrical secondary capacitors suddenly became conical forms. These presented the most bizarre appearance of all. Tesla used cone-shaped secondaries to focus the impulses. White-fire discharges from these forms evidenced real focusing effects, the discharges themselves assuming inverted conical shapes. Their greatly intensified nature is seen in photographs, which were taken under his own intrigued supervision. The magnified voltages were reaching those thresholds in which his laboratory enclosures were far too small to continue making industrial scale progress on radiant energy systems.
The fact that white-fire discharges pass through all matter, notably insulators, revealed the Aetheric nature. Tesla saw that white-fire discharges could permeate all materials in a strangely gaseous manner. This penetration scarcely heated matter. In fact, the white-fire brushes often had a cooling effect. The sparks themselves, though violent in appearance, were "soft" when compared to all other forms of electricity. He had successfully removed the hazard from electricity. In blocking the slow and dense charges, he had freed the mysterious effusive Aether streams inherent in electricity. Because of this, new and intensified radiant effects were constantly making their appearance across his laboratory space.
Tesla found that as these new "Impulse Transformers" greatly magnified power supplied to them, so also their radiant electric effects were equally magnified. He found it possible to wirelessly project electrostatic power to very great distances, lighting special lamps to full candlepower at hundreds of feet. In these experiments, he also conceived of signaling systems. It would be possible to switch radiant effects in telegraphic fashion. Distant vacuum tube receivers would then light or dim in corresponding manner. Tesla experimented with a special breed of telegraphic wireless in 1890.
He also found it possible to wirelessly operate specially constructed motors by properly intercepting this space-flowing energy stream. He had made his own Polyphase system obsolete! The new vision was vastly more enthralling. The world would be transformed. He discovered ways to beam the energy out to any focus, even to the zenith. His plan to illuminate the night sky with a radiant energy beacon captured the minds of all who listened.
Tesla now possessed the means by which the radiant electricity could be greatly magnified and transmitted. He could now transform the very nature of the radiance so that it could carry increasingly greater power. Now he could begin developing a new technology, which would completely revitalize the world order. Power could be broadcast to any location without wire connections. Radiant electricity could be utilized in completely new appliances. A new world was about to be released!
Copper spheres attached to Transformer terminals reduced the required electrical levels for an efficient electric radiance. Copper spheres significantly reduced the injurious instabilities of visually spectacular brush discharges, but did not eliminate them entirely. What Tesla required was a new means for transmitting the radiant electricity without loss.
Tests with elevated copper spheres facilitated efficient transfer of radiant power between the Transformer and surrounding space. Now, Tesla Transformers became true Tesla Transmitters. Tesla found it possible to broadcast harmless radiant electricity with great power to very great distances. Numerous subsequent patents recorded his progressive conquest of the broadcast power principle.
He succeeded in making radiant electricity safe for human use. It would simply travel around conductors if made to impulse quickly enough. Only specially entuned receivers could properly intercept the radiant power for utility. Not three years before he had accidentally discovered the radiant electrical effect