Many scientists and individuals acknowledge
Tesla's foresightedness and accredit him as being the originator of
many of today's inventions. The wording to describe Tesla's 1891 carbon
button lamp (the "brush"), with minimal word change, serves well as a
description of the million-magnification point electron microscope
developed by Vladimir R. Zworykin in 1939. The "brush" has also been
related to the cyclotron and the atom smasher.
Tesla described a vacuum bulb, considered to
be the forerunner of the radio vacuum tube. He talked about visible and
invisible light and described blurred photographic plates in his
laboratory, considered to be the earliest reference to X-rays. And did
Nikola venture into plasma physics when he created a flame and
described it as "burning without consuming material or even a chemical
reaction"? Fifty years before the development of the fluorescent lamp,
Nikola built phosphor-coated globes and illuminated his gas-filled
tubes, which he had twisted into names. The disputed credit for the
invention of the radio was settled in 1943 when the U.S. Supreme Court
reversed an initial finding in Marconi's favor to rule that Tesla had
anticipated all other contenders with his fundamental radio patents.
The list of credits given to Nikola Tesla is
large indeed. He has been associated with cosmic rays, radar,
diathermy, the high-frequency furnace, wave-guide for microwave
transmission, space navigation code, cryogenic engineering,
electrotherapeutics, energy transmission to satellites, principles of
solid state transistor technology, and the reciprocating dynamo.
Tesla's genius with electricity received
further stimulation through his interest in resonance. The ubiquitous
Tesla Coil is evidence of the synergy of electricity and vibrations.
With a power cord from an insulated handle at one end and primary and
secondary coils tuned to resonate at the other end, the Tesla Coil,
when plugged in, begins to vibrate and hum. The small Tesla Coil
generates high voltages and high frequencies and is used in one form or
another in every radio and television set and can be found in every
university science laboratory: used to detect leaks in vacuum apparatus.
It has been said that resonance is a manner
in which nature works. It covers all aspects of science from
electricity to nuclear fusion. Nothing exists in the Universe that does
not have vibration. Nikola knew that vibration is the rapid
back-and-forth motion of an object, which creates waves. He also knew
that resonance is the effect of these waves on another object when, in
1898, he made an oscillator no larger than a fist and attached it to a
steel link two feet long and two inches thick. "For a long time nothing
happened..." he said. "But at last ... the great steel link began to
tremble, increased its trembling until it dilated and contracted like a
beating heart - and finally broke!"
Though his genus was often ridiculed, his
own comments showed his confidence. "I know that you are a noble fellow
and devoted friend and, noting your indignation at these uncalled-for
attacks, I am afraid that you might give it expression. I beg you not
to do it under any condition, as you would offend me. Let my 'friends'
do their worst, I like it better so. Let them spring on scientific
societies worthless schemes, oppose a cause which is deserving, throw
sand into the eyes of those who might see - they will reap their reward
In his younger years Nikola sensed the
universe was "composed of a symphony of alternating currents with the
harmonies played on a vast range of octaves. The 60-cycles-per-second
AC was but a single note in a lower octave. In one of the higher
octaves at a frequency of billions of cycles per second was visible
light. To explore this whole range of electrical vibration between his
low-frequency alternating current and light waves, he sensed, would
bring him closer to an understanding of the cosmic symphony." (1)
In his sunset years, Tesla believed that all
matter came from a primary substance, the luminiferous ether, which
filled all space.
Nikola once said, "...I continually
experience an inexpressible satisfaction from the knowledge that my
poly phase system is used throughout the world to lighten the burden of
mankind and increase comfort."
Amongst his many legacies to society are a
number of small items that employ Nikola's discoveries in both
electricity and vibration. Nikola influenced the production of personal
oscillators that vibrate in tune with "the luminiferous ether"
(collectively called, Purple Plates). Like many of his inventions, the
plates cannot be explained, and yet for over twenty-eight years the
plates have continued to offer the same "increase comfort and
happiness" to society that his poly phase system has provided since
Nikola Tesla, aged 86, died from coronary
thrombosis at 10:30 PM on January 7, 1943 in his room at the Hotel New
(1) Tesla - Man Out Of Time by
Margaret Cheney (Highly recommended reading)