Tuned Lightning

Friday, March 8, 1907
Archived Page: 

Menon 8 1907 ENGLISH MECHANIC AND WORLD OF SCIENCE: No. 2189. 107 TUNED LIGHTNING. By Nixon Tesu. I READ with interest sn`article in the Sumlru/ Hhrlzl of Jan. 20 on “ Tuned' Lightning” described as a. mysterious new energy, which isto turn every wheel on earth, and is supposed to have been recently discovered by the Danish inventors Waldemar Poulsen and P. 0. Pedersen. From other reports I have gathered that these gentlemen have so far contlned themselves to the peaceful production of miniature bolts not many inches long, and I am wondering what an account of their prospective achievements would read like it they had succeeded in obtaining, like myself, elec- trical discharges of100ft., for surpassing lightning in some features of intensity and power. In view of their limited Joi-ian experience, the programme outlined by the Danish.engiaeers is rather extensive, Lord Am1strong's vast resources notwithstanding. Naturally enough. I shall look with interest to their telephoning across tha Atlantic, supplying light and propellingairships withontwires. A/iz-/i' in sono pittorr. ;(l', too, am a painter.) ' In the mean time it may not be aniiss to state here incident- ally that all the essential processes of and appliances for the generation, transinission, transformation, distribution, direction, storage, regulation, control, and economic utilisation of " tuned lightning ” have been patented hy me, and that I have long since undertaken, and am sparing no eiort to render these advances instrumental in insuring the welfare, comfort, and convenience, primarily, of my fellow- citizens. _ There is nothing remarkable in the denwnstrntinir reported to have been made before Sir \\'|llinm I’reece.a.nd Prot. Sylvanus P. Thompson, nor is there any novelty in the electrical devices employed. The lighting of arc lamps through the human body, the fusing of xi. piece of copper in mid-air, as described, are simple experiments which by the use of my high, frequency transformers any student of electricity can readily perform. They teach nothing new, and have no bearing on wireless transmission, fur the actions virtually cease at a distance of aiew feet from the source of vibratory energy. Years ago I gave exhibitions of similar and other much iuore striking experiments with the some kind of appara- tus, many of which have been illustrated and explained in technical iournals. The published re- cords are open to inspection. Regardless of all that, the lanish inventors have not as yet olfered the sligh_ ut proof that their ex- pectations are realisahley and heforo advancing seriously the claim that ancfliciont wireless distribu- tion ol light and power to great distances is possible, they should, at'lea.st,'|epeat those of my experiments which have furnished this evidence. A soieutilic audience cannot: help being impressed by is display of interesting phenomena, but the originality and significance of a demonstration such as that referred to can only be iudged by an expert possessed of full knowledge and capable oi drawing correct conclusions. A novel etfect, spectacular and surprising, might be quite unimportant, while another, seemingly trilling, is of the greatest conse- quenoe. To illustrate, let me mention here two widely ditferent experiments of mine. In one the body ot aperson was subjected to _the rapidly-alternating pressure of an electrical oscillator ot two and a half million volts; in the other a small incandescent lamp was lighted by means of a resonant circuit grounded on one cnd, all the energy being drawn through the earth elect.ril'lcd from a distant trans- mitter. ` The first presents a. sight marvellous and unfor- gettable. One sees the experimenter standing on ia. big sheet otlieroe, blinding ilame, his whole body enveloped in n. rnsss ot phosphorescent cloud. From his ears, nose, and hair issue iridcscant wriggliug streamers like the tentacles ol an octopus. Bundles of light stick out lrom his spine. As he stretches out the arms, thus forcing the electric tluid out- wardly, roaring tongues of tire leap from his linger- tips. Ubjects in his vicinity bristle with rays, emit musical notes, glow, grow lint. He is the ceuhwof still more curious actions, which are invisible. At each throh of the electric force myriads of minute proiectiles are shot od’ from him with such velocities as to pass through the adjoining walls. He is in turn being violently bombarded by ‘tho surrounding

108 ENGLISH MECHANIC AND WORLD OF SCIENCE No 2189 Mruzcxr 8 1907 air and dust. He experences sensations which urs indescribable. A luymau, utter witnessing this stupendous 'ind incredible spectacle, \viIl think little ot the second modest exhibit. llut thc export will not he deceived. He realises at once that the second experiment ie ever so much more ditticult to perform u.ud im- mensely more censeluentiul. H-s knows that to make the little filament glow, the entire surface of the planet, two hundred million square miles, must he strongly electritied. This cnlls for peculiar electrical activities, hundreds ot times greater than those involved in thelighting of an arc lamp through the human body. Whnt impresses hirn most, how- ever, is the knowledge that the little lu.mp will spring into the some brillinncy anywhere on the g obe, there being no appreciable diminution of the eltect with the increase ot distance from the trans- mitter. This is a fact ot overwhelming importance, point- ing with certitudo to the liuul and lasting solution ot all the great social, iudustrinl, tinnncial, philan- thropic, internettionnl, end other problems confront- ing humanity, u. solution ut which will.be brought about by the complete annihilation of distance in the conveyance of intelligence, transport of bodies ani1mnterinls,:|.nd the transmission of the energy necessary to miu‘s existence. More light has been /thrown on this scientitic truth lately through Prot. Sle.by‘e splendid and path-breaking experiment in ,establishing perfect wireless telephonic connection between Nanm and Berlin, Germany, e. distance ot twenty mules. With apparatus properly organised such telephonic olmmunicotion cm be elleetod with the enme facility and precision at the greatest terrestrial distance. The discovery oi the stntioniry terrestrial waves, showing that, despite its vast extent, the entire planet can he thrown into resounnt vibration like n little tuning-fork; that electrical oscillations suited to its physical properties and dimensions pass through it nnimpeded, in strict obedience to n aim le miihamstical law, has proved beyond the shadow ot n doubt that the earth, considered ns is channel for conveying electrical energy, even in such delicnm and complex transmissions as human speech or musical composition. is infinitely superior tn A wire or cable, however well desi;\\e\\. Very econ it will hs possible ts talk across an eceen as clcxrly and distinctly us across n table. The first praeticsl success, ulrendy forecast by Sluhy's convincing demonstration, will he the eiguul tor revolutionury improvements which will take the world hy storm. p _ However great the success ot the telephone, it is just beginning its evidence of usefulness. \Vireless transmission of speech will not only proviils ne\v but also enorunusly extend existing facilities. This win be merely no forerunner ni ever so much more important dsvelepment, which will proceed at u. furious pace until, by the application of tnase same great principles, the power of watertclls can be focussed whenever desired; uutil the uir is con- quered, the soil tructilied und embellished: until, in all departments ot huiniu lite distuuce has lost its meaning, and even the immense gulf separating ns from other worlds 's bridged.