Thursday, March 12, 2009

Which Electric Energy Form For Power?

Well, I guess I should start out with the biggest hook... the one that got me into all this in the first place. I remembered a friend in junior high school talking about making a Tesla coil for the science fair. He didn't actually do that, but he did magnetize aluminum ( that caught my attention and has been stored in the ol' memory banks ever since) and the name Tesla stayed with me for all these years.

Well when I decided to find different ways to generate electricity, I thought I should start by looking up this Tesla guy... I had never heard of him other than through my buddy. In fact for years, I had thought that the name was pronounced Tulsa (like the place in Oklahoma) but couldn't find the great genius under that handle. I began following links on this Nicola Tesla guy and WOW. For some reason we don't study about him in school, but he is basically the founder of our modern age.

Did you know Tesla owns over 1800 patents in the US? His biggest contributions, or inventions that made him famous (or why he at least SHOULD be famous,) include the following:

  1. Harnessed Niagara Falls for electrical power

  2. Induction motor (yes, the thing EVERYONE uses today)

  3. Radio (no Marconi didn't invent it, he stole the idea from Nicola, and in 1943 the courts said so too.)

  4. Remote Control (wireless)

  5. Tesla coil - probably one of his coolest inventions

  6. Tesla turbine - look ma... no propeller... let's use flat plates instead!

  7. A/C electricity

Yeah, and there's more... did you know that the Star Wars program touted by Ronald Regan in the 80's was based on Nicola's ideas? Way.

So getting back to my title for this, did you know that Tesla used to work for Thomas Edison? In fact they had some big fights... first over the fact that Edison bilked Tesla out of $20,000.00 saying it was just a joke, and then over whether A/C electricity was better than D/C electricity. Of course we know today who won that argument... Thomas Edison was going for D/C because he sold D/C dynamos, or generators. He didn't go down without a fight though, and even tried to scare people away from Tesla's A/C current by electrocuting stray dogs (and in one case, an Elephant) in front of people to show them the danger.

OK so the purpose of this blog is to share with you the resources I've found. Here's my first two resources. The first is a link to the account of Nicola Tesla wiring up the 1893 Colombian Exposition in Chicago with George Westinghouse, to demonstrate A/C power.

The second is just a really really cool video of a giant Tesla coil in action. Check it out.

I'll keep posting these, you keep reading them and together we'll get this free energy thing licked yet!


P.S. Did you know Tesla drove his nephew around the countryside in an electrically powered Pierce Arrow in the 30's... uh... with NO BATTERIES! Yeah... the guy was a genius.

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