Nikola Tesla, a preacher's kid, and a contemporary and rival of Thomas Edison, was an electrical inventor extraordinary. Among his many amazing discoveries, Tesla, in spite of Edison's DC (direct current) position (the chief position of Edison's own "General Electric Company"), developed the AC (alternating current) distribution of electricity (for "Westinghouse Electric Company") which is the distribution system used in the World today. Hundreds of millions of dollars were at stake.
Excerpts from: Prodigal Genius, the Life of Nikola Tesla, by John J. O'Neill, 1978
"When our spinning earth was so transformed into a terrestrial Leyden jar, it could be alternately charged and discharged, so that a current would flow both in the upper air and in the ground, producing the electrical flow which would cause the upper air to become self-luminous. Tesla... never became quite so specific in applying the condenser plan to this problem as the preceding sentence indicates. His plan may still exist in his papers, which, at the present writing, are sealed against inspection except by Government officials." p. 146
"Tesla.... in one lecture reporting his investigations covering a period of two years, offered to the world -- in addition to his new electric vacuum lamps, his highly efficient incandescent lamp, and his high-frequency and high-potential currents and apparatus -- at least five outstanding scientific discoveries:1. Cosmic rays; 2. Artificial radioactivity; 3. Disintegrating beam of electrified particles, or atom smasher; 4. Electron microscope; and, 5. "Very special radiation" (X-rays).
"At least four of these innovations, when "rediscovered" up to forty years later, won Nobel Prizes for others; and Tesla's name is never mentioned in connection with them." p. 154>
"In 1896 while his fame was still on the ascendant he planned a nice quiet little vibration experiment in his Houston Street laboratory [ New York City]. Since he had moved into these quarters in 1895, the place had established a reputation for itself because of the peculiar noises and lights that emanated from it at all hours of the day and night, and because it was constantly being visited by the most famous people in the country.
"The quiet little vibration experiment produced an earthquake, a real earthquake in which people and buildings and everything in them got a more tremendous shaking than they did in any of the natural earthquakes that have visited the metropolis. In an area of a dozen square city blocks, occupied by hundreds of buildings housing tens of thousands of persons, there was a sudden roaring and shaking, shattering of panes of glass, breaking of steam, gas and water pipes. Pandemonium reigned as small objects danced around rooms, plaster descended from walls and ceilings, and pieces of machinery weighing tons were moved from their bolted anchorages and shifted to awkward spots in factory lofts.
"It was all cause, quite unexpectedly, by a little piece of apparatus you could slip in your pocket, "said Tesla. p. 155-156
"Samuel Clemens, better known to the public as "Mark Twain", and Tesla were close friends. Clemens was a frequent visitor to the Tesla laboratory. Tesla had been playing with his vibratory mechanism for some time, and had learned a good deal about the results that followed from varying doses of vibration, when one evening Clemens dropped in.
"Clemens, on learning abou the new mechanism, wanted to experience its vitalizing vibrations. He stood on the platform while the oscillator set it into operation. He was thrilled by the new experience. He was full of adjectives. "This gives you vigor and vitality, " he exclaimed. After he had been on the platform for a while Tesla advised him: "You have had enough, Mr. Clemems. You had better come down now."
"Not by a jugful," replied Clemens. "I am enjoying myself."
"But you had better come down, Mr. Clemens. It is best that you do so, " insisted Tesla.
"You couldn't get me off this with a derrick," laughed Clemens.
"Remember, I am advising you, Mr. Clemens."
"I'm having the time of my life. I'm going to stay right up here and enjoy myself. Look here, Tesla, you don't appreciate what a wonderful device you have here to give a lift to tired humanity...." Clemens continued along this line for several minutes. Suddenly, he stopped talking, bit his lower lip, straightened his body and stalked stiffly but suddenly from the platform.
"Quick, Tesla! Where is it?" snapped Clemens, half begging, half demanding.
"Right over there, through that little door in the corner, " said Tesla. "And remember, Clemens, I advised you to come down some time ago," he called after the rapidly moving figure.
"The laxative effect of the mechanical vibrator was an old story to the members of the laboratory staff." p 157-158
"The resentments and antagonisms engendered by the unvarying series of successful [United States Circuit Court] decisions caused individuals who were adversely affected to vent their antagonisms on Tesla although he had not in ten years held any personal interest n the patents.
"The situation that develope is well described by B. A. Behrend, later vice-president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers:
* 'It is a perculiar trait of ignorant men to go always from one extreme to another, and those who were once the blind admirers of Mr. Tesla, exalting him to an extent which can be likened only to the infatuated praise bestowed on victims of popular admiration, are now eagerly engaged in his derision. there is something deeply melancholy in the prospect, and I can never think of Nikola Tesla without warming up to my subject and condemning the injustice and ingratitude which he has received alike at the hands of the public and of the engineering profession.'
* Western Electrician, Sept., 1907
For more about Nikola Tesla, whom NYPD feared would destroy their city often leaving many scores of people excitedly pouring out into the streets abandoning neighboring tenement and factory buildings, all the while believing an earthquake had caused the smashing of windows, breaking of pipes, moving of furniture and strange vibrations,
Check out the following links, and wonder why his papers are still under "big Brother's" lock and key: