At the beginning of the 20th century, Tesla became famous for his work on ac power, but he had other great ideas. Nikola Tesla has built a huge tower for wireless transmission of electricity around the world. However, things did not go according to his plan.
The tower was 57 meters high. The base was framed with wood, and at the top there was a giant ball 20 meters in diameter, made of steel. Underneath the tower, underground, there were tunnels and a system of iron “roots” that penetrated deep into the ground. Tesla believed that the tower was just the beginning of an entire system that could wirelessly supply electricity worldwide.
In his lab in Colorado, he worked on a wireless transmission experiment, trying to send electricity across the country. It is difficult to draw conclusions from his notes on this work, but it seems that at least one occasion the experiment was successful. Eventually he returned to the East, convinced that this idea could translate into reality on a much larger scale.
Tesla secured $ 150,000 support from JP Morgan. The investor was most interested in the idea of wireless communication. At that time, the Italian inventor Marconi introduced a system of wireless telegraphy, sending messages from ships to the mainland. But Nikola Tesla had bigger ideas.
Construction of the tower began in 1901 on Long Island, what would later be known as the Wardencliffe Tower. Tesla imagined it would be the start of a network of at least 30 towers around the world. He believed those towers would allow him to send electricity through the atmosphere so anyone with equipment could plug in and electricity would be present everywhere.
However, this idea never worked out: the scientific theories on which Tesla’s dream was based were later split. Electricity can be transmitted through the air, but the amount of force needed to send significant energy makes the system impractical.
Even to try, Tesla needed more money, which Morgan did not want to provide. There were reports of sparks flying from the tower, but the metal sphere remained in place for mysterious reasons.
As finances dried up, Tesla pledged property and eventually lost everything he had as financial problems worsened. In 1917, the new owner decided to destroy the tower with dynamite and turn it into metal scrap. After the first explosion, the tower bent to the ground, and then the workers tore it down to the ground.