Science Playing Catch Up With 1901 Technology

See that look in his eyes? That's the look of a man with a Death RayI came across this article from CNN the other day, about a company called WiTricity, derived from an M.I.T. research group. They are experimenting with the wireless transfer of electricity. Being the League’s Archivist, I was immediately reminded of one of my very favorite, (not so) mad scientists, Nikola Tesla, and his similar experiments back in 1901.

 

Tesla built Wardenclyffe Tower (also known as Tesla Tower) as a demonstration of the transmission of power without wires. Sadly, as the tower neared completion, his main financial backer, J.P. Morgan, pulled out of the project. Rumors say this is due to the fact that it was impossible to meter the power consumption from the tower and as there was little financial gain in providing free power, Morgan backed out. Tesla tried various ways to fund the Tower’s completion, but sadly he was nowhere near as good with the U.S. banking and legal systems as he was with electricity. Over the next ten years or so, the employees were dismissed, the Tower was shut down, vandalized and deteriorated. “Tesla’s million-dollar folly”, as it was dubbed by the newspapers, is said to have been at least partially responsible for Tesla’s mental breakdown. Eventually the property was sold and in 1917 the Government had the Tower blown up with dynamite, fearing it was being used by German spies and as a landmark by enemy submarines.
 

Okay... MAYBE a little phallic...

 

So now, only 108 years after Tesla demonstrated this ability, we’re starting to understand it. Eric Giler of WiTricity is experimenting with various methods to allow for the wireless transmission of electricity from short distances (powering your electronic devices wirelessly throughout a room) to massive distances (beaming electricity via magnetic resonance across a state or even oversees). While these methods may not have been exactly what Tesla had in mind (and definitely don’t involve as cool of a tower as Tesla had built), it’s impressive to finally see our modern technology finally catching up to 1901…

It makes me wonder if it isn’t worth giving his Death Ray another look soon…

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