Carlson, Tesla, ch. 15 - fifteen r e t p Cha ower t k r a the d 905(19011 To achieve a great result is one thing to achieve it at the right moment is

Carlson, Tesla, ch. 15 - fifteen r e t p Cha ower t k r a...

This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 38 pages.

331 To achieve a great result is one thing, to achieve it at the right moment is another. TESLA TO J. P. MORGAN, 13 OCTOBER 1904 BLINDSIDED BY MARCONI, DOUBLE-CROSSED BY MARTIN Th rough the fall of 1901 , as Tesla supervised construction of his labora- tory and tower at Wardencly ff e, he was con fi dent that he was close to success. As he gaily wrote to Katharine Johnson on 13 October 1901 : 13 is my lucky number and so I know you will comply with my wish   .   .   . [for you to] come to the Waldorf. And if you do—when I transmit my wireless messages across seas and continents you will get the fi nest bon- net ever made [even] if it breaks me.   .   .   . I have ordered a simple lunch and you must come en masse. We must exhibit Hobson.   .   .   . I know he likes me better than you. 1 Chapter fifteen the dark tower (1901–1905)
Image of page 1
332 © fifteen At the same time, Tesla assured Morgan that he was making prog- ress. Summarizing his work for the Great Man in November, he con fi dently stated that his latest patents covered the production of “electrical e ff ects of virtually unlimited power, not obtainable in any other ways heretofore known.” Moreover, his patents covered tech- niques for highly e ffi cient transmission. Wh ile other transmission methods su ff ered losses proportional to the square of the distance covered, Tesla claimed that his losses were signi fi cantly less and only in simple proportion to the distance. “ Th is feature alone,” reported Tesla, “bars all competition.” 2 But the competition, namely Marconi, was hardly deterred by such claims. As we saw in Chapter 12 , Marconi had transmitted messages across the English Channel in March 1899 , prompting Tesla to take up his experiments in Colorado Springs. Seven months later, Mar- coni had come to New York and used his apparatus to provide reports from the America’s Cup yacht races, hoping to secure contracts from the New York newspapers or the U.S. Navy. Unsuccessful in getting a contract with the navy, Marconi returned to England and resumed work on increasing transmission distance as well as on developing a way to tune his transmitters and receivers so that they operated on a particular frequency. By early 1900 he could cover distances up to 185 miles, and he secured a British patent (No. 7777 of 1900 ) for a system of using specially wound jiggers (or coils) in his antenna circuits that permitted tuning. 3 Wh ile Marconi publicly insisted that it was not yet possible to transmit messages wirelessly across the Atlantic, privately he had de- cided that he should try to achieve this goal as soon as possible. Mar- coni came to this decision because he was worried about the situation of his business. Despite its best e ff orts, Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company had yet to sign a major contract with the Brit- ish or American navy, the Post O ffi ce, or the marine insurance group, Lloyd’s of London. Th ough Marconi stock was being bid up specula- tively by London investors, the meager equipment sales nonetheless meant that the company was running out of capital. To solve these
Image of page 2
Image of page 3

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture