differences between AC-1 and AC-2. Then he set the motor running in his hcad, and quietly saw that by throwing one switch he could reverse the phase between AC-1 and AC-2 so that AC-1 now leads AC-2 by 90° — and presto-the motor smoothly reversed direction! His grand design was done - he had grasped the principle of the rotating magnetic field, and given it physical embodiment in a working model - all on the visual display computer screen in his mind.
In the fall of 1882 Tesla moved to Paris, hoping to work for the French branch of Thomas Alva Edison's Continental Electric Company. He was able to bring with him his good friend and now master mechanic, Antal Szigety, as an assistant. He readily obtained the job he sought. However, work demands prevented him from building his new invention in the flesh of iron, steel and copper. It was not until the summer of 1883 when he and Szigety were sent to Strasbourg to do some motor repairs chat they had the time and a machine shop in which to build the first physical alternating current motor. The test was an instant success, and followed faithfully in performance the model that Tesla had been running on his mental computer screen. He was now 27 years old with a proven theoretical and practical solution of the mission declared impossible by his erstwhile Professor Poeschl.
Tesla was kept busy in Strasbourg until the spring of 1884, when he returned to Paris. There he enlisted the interest of the Paris manager of the Edison works, Mr. Batchellor. Mr. Batchellor recognized his genius and the value of his invention; and urged him to go to America to work with the great Mr. Edison. Tesla accepted this invitation, and prepared to leave Paris. At the Paris train station, he discovered to his horror that his baggage, his transatlantic passage tickets, and his wallet had been stolen! As the train began to pull out, he had to make a choice: should he chance getting on the train and the boar — or cancel his journey? He chose to leap aboard the train. When no one showed up to take his place on the steamship, he was allowed to board. And so he was on his way across the ocean to an unknown land, but one to which all immigrants in 1880's believed was the land of promise and of gold. He landed at Ellis Island in New York HaTbor on June 6, 1884 with four cents in his pocket. But he had in his pocket a letter from Mr. Batchellor introducing him to Mr. Edison, which said in part:
"I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man."
The period from age 28 (1884) where Tesla is penniless and homeless, digging ditches in New York City to survive - to the age of 35 (1892) when he becomes the most famous inventor in the world, is a millionaire, socially lionized, and honored by all of the great scientists in London. It is difficult to find in the life of any contemporary person one who has gone through so many transformations in seven years as did Tesla from 1884 to 1892, age 28 to 35. With four cents in his pocket, and his letter of introduction, he found his way to Edison. This meeting could have been the break that Tesla needed, because Edison, as a patron, could have given him all the opportunity necessary to realize his dreams. It is an irony of history that the two men net at all, because, temperamentally, they were at opposite poles. Tesla with his great scientific mind was systematically seeking first principles in nature end using his inventions as tools for deeper, more refined probing. Edison had the great mind that could find associative relations between material systems, which resulted in new inventions as an end in itself. Tesla's mind was seeking to understand the architecture of nature with geometrical comprehension. Edison followed each clue of nature from point to point with linear reduction to practice.
Much has been written about the nine-month period when Tesla worked for Edison. Suffice it to say that Edison was committed to a future electrical technology based on direct current - from batteries and direct current generators. He had perfected the incandescent lamp and was trying to create a marker for it — and to do this he had to supply electricity. In order to do this, he had to create DC power stations aboard ships, in cities, and for factories. In this Edison was successful, and power stations were being built rapidly as the United States became electrified. Furthermore, the financial backing of J.P. Morgan was securely behind the Edison ventures which assured success.
Against this array of industrial growth and financial power stood the tall, thin Tesla with his visions of using alternating current to industrialize and power the earth. He tried to catch Edison's attention by performing meticulously and creatively as an engineer. In this he succeded and won Edison's highest compliments. But when he tried to open up a conversation about his ideas on alternating current, Edison would not listen. Edison had made up his mind that the future electrification of the world would be with direct current. Tesla became discouraged realizing that he would have to develop his ideas on his own, and left the employ of Edison. Little did Edison realize that his lowly employee would soon become his greatest and most worthy technological and business opponent. The war of the giants was in the making.
Tesla had made such a powerful impression on other Edison employees that they offered to finance his inventions. Accordingly, the Tesla Electric light and Manufacturing Company was founded in March of 1885, in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City. Tesla now had a modest amount of capital, but he could not begin work on his beloved AC motor because his backers wanted him first to develop commercially saleable arclights for street lighting. This he did, and soon he was filing a stream of patents. But his success was short-lived. As the great financial depression of 1886 clamped down on the U.S., his new company was forced into bankruptcy.
Now in the 30th year of his life, just as the possibility of the successful realization of his motor was tantalizingly held before him, Tesla was thrown into a pit of despair. There was no work to be had, although occasionally Tesla was able to get a job digging ditches in New York City, as public works for sewers and water mains continued during the depression. He had no place to live and slept wherever he could get shelter for the night. He later spoke of living "through a year of terrible heartaches and bitter tears." It must have seemed pure torture to toil in a ditch, when he did have work, and at the same time to run his mental computer in the dazzling images of his colorful and poetic rotating magnetic fields. Fortunately, in the ditch with him was his foreman — also working out of his field just to keep alive. As the two men sat together eating their meager lunches, Tesla poured out his dreams and inventions. Tesla did not realize it then, but his fellow worker was the magical connection to A.K. Brown of the Western Union Telegraph Company. Almost miraculously, under Brown's initiative, the foreman's faith, and Tesla's total conviction in his vision, The Tesla Electric Company was formed in April 1887 within competing distances of the shops of the Edison Company. Tesla's working capital, in the form of a loan, was $500,000. In today's monetary values, this had the purchasing power often times that amount.
Tesla had been like pent-up lion for the past five years - ever since he understood the principle of the rotating magnetic field. But whether he was building telephone systems in Budapest, repairing DC motors and generators in Paris or Strasbourg, designing motors for Edison in New York City, or digging ditches, his powerful visual display computer was developing new designs and refining them. Thus, it was that when he obtained his laboratory, he produced an explosion of devices and patents such as had never been seen before in such a short time.
What Tesla did was to design a system to produce alternating currcnt distribute it over large distances, end utilize it in motors and lamps. He worked out every crucial detail of this system to such perfection that, to this day, his technology and concepts dominate AC systems virtually unchanged. His system is called the: "Tesla Polyphase System" because, following the conception portrayed in Figures 2 and 3 of using the 90° phase difference between two alternating current, to generate the "hula hoop" rotating magnetic field, he added more pairs of hula hoops, up to 384, to the field. This had the same effect as adding more pistons to a gas engine: it gave greater and smoother rotatory power (torque) to the motors. Thus, he built fields around his rotors, which had hundreds of "hula hoops" rotating, each pair with a precise number of degrees of phase difference from its neighbor. See appendix for Tesla patents illustrations.
With the rapid issuance of one patent after another from the U.S. patent Office, the world of electrical scientists suddenly became aware that a new luminary — a new Faraday of electricity - was in their midst. Correspondence and interviews suddenly made heavy demands upon Tesla's twenty hour days. A year later on May 16, 1888, Tesla gave the first of his famous lectures at Columbia University, New York City, under the auspices of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers  Here he revealed and demonstrated the full sweep of his polyphase alternating current system. The electrical world was amazed at his revelations. The insoluble problem had been solved: alternating current could be transmitted far hundreds of miles for industrial usage — compared to a mile or two by Edison's system. As Tesla was being applauded for his victory, the Edison forces were preparing interests massive counterattack against this threat to their vested interests.
In this lecture Tesla received not only scientific and academic recognition, but also industrial recognition. About a month after the lecture the founder of Westinghouse electric, George Westinghouse, came to see Tesla at his laboratory. Without much negotiation, Westinghouse bluntly offered to buy up all of Tesla's polyphase system patents for one million dollars in cash. Tesla said he would accept the offer if Westinghouse also paid a royalty of one dollar per horsepower of motors produced. Westinghouse agreed, and the deal was made. Thus, in two tumultuous years, Tesla went from the despair of ditch digging to world renown for his genius and independence.
What did this shift of status and recognition do to Tesla? First, he paid back the half million-dollar loan that had made his success possible. The rest of the money he used to support his laboratory and future research. But, as part of his contract, he was to go to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and work with the Westinghouse engineers to develop the production prototypes of the various parts of the polyphase system. However, here Tesla teamed something about himself: it was not possible for him to gear down his mind and work to the pace of other mortals. He felt stifled, irritated, and less-than-creative. During this period of self-assessment, Tesla learned still more about himself. He could not accommodate his mind, emotions, or actions to any human being. The drummer that he marched to beat a rhythm uniquely solo to Nikola Tesla. He knew now that total dedication to his calling, and total celibacy, were to be his way of life.
In order to consolidate his new role in life as a wanted, famous person, and his own desire for privacy, he decided to return to Europe after a five-year absence and re-formulate his entire working philosophy. The past five years of poverty and creative effort had exhausted his reserves, and so, when Tesla returned in 1889 to his native bika, he went into retreat at the Gomirje monastery. This was curious since Tesla had fought for years to keep away from organized religion. One wonders if he did not contemplate withdrawal from the world into a monastic life. But his decision must have been to go back to live in the world and yet remain apart - because he returned to New York City in January 1890. In 1890 established a pattern of life, which he was to keep up, whether rich or poor, to the end of his days. He moved into a private suite at the best hotel in New York City - the famed Waldorf-Astoria that was then at 34th street - the site of the Empire State Building. His elegant six foot, two inches, 140-pound body was encased in the most fashionable tailored clothes. Those he always wore, whether in the laboratory, or at a fancy dinner party. He worked at his laboratory from 9 AM until about 6 PM. At the Waldorf when he appeared at 8 PM he insisted that only the headwaiter should wait on him, and all food was especially prepared under his meticulous directions. He dined alone, unless he was giving a banquet for his friends. E'very aspect of the meal had to pass his scrutiny for an almost "Kosher" rigidity of preparation. The headwaiter could not touch any dish or food without the interposition of a fresh napkin between hand and dish. Tesla himself handled everything with a dozen or two eleven napkins during a meal— each napkin being used once and discarded. Tesla, the former ditch digger, gambler, and billiard professional, could no longer tolerate physical contact with another human. He never shook hands with a person. The mere contact with human skin gave him the sensation akin to an allergic reaction; the energy of others was like poison entering his blood. Yet in spite of the noxious quality he felt emanating from all persons, and his fear of germ contamination, he was considered absolutely charming and thoroughly sociable in his reserved and aloof way. This paradox gave his personality an incredible attractive power in society. Men trusted him. Women found him attractive and charming with no physical undertone. He was Lionized by the social "400" families of New York at that time. His resolve to be celibate, ascetic, and dedicated to his work was forever under attack. He did occasionally attend parties from 8 PM to 10 PM and then left to go to his laboratory. If he had a new electrical effect to demonstrate, his select friends would troop in evening clothes and gowns to his laboratory just south of Washington Square.
Here he would astound them with his Promethean displays of electrical fire and his light displays — where he would pick up a long glass tube without wires, and it would light up in his hands. He had a great sense of drama and many thought that his laboratory was the best theater in New York. But the dinners at the Waldorf, the fancy clothes, the Tesla Theater were only small dues, which he paid to his adulating society. The real Tesla inside returned to his laboratory after the 10 PM dinner and went to work until 3 AM. Here in the stillness of his laboratory he pursued his vision secretly. It is only years later that we are able to piece together what was really going on in that most magnificent of laboratories: the mind of Tesla. What the world saw from Tesla were a series of inventions, each of which would have been the climax of a lifetime of work for an inventor. But what no one knew was that Tesla was only developing new tools in order to explore deeper and deeper into the mysteries of electricity.
What he had in mind was to build the tools that could produce any kind of electricity he desired. First, he wanted to explore the various frequencies of electricity. He knew that electricity must have different qualities when the number of cycles per second changed, or increased. Therefore, he had to invent machines that would produce electricity smoothly over the range from one cycle per second (now called Hertz, or Hz) through tens per second, hundreds per second, and so on up to light frequencies. But he was the only one on the planet earth who had the total scientific approach for producing these frequencies at this time. First, he invented and built a series of alternating current generators, which allowed him to reach frequencies of tens of thousands of cycles per second. Here he mastered all the problems of building copper coils to produce the magnetic fields that would turn the rotors, winch produced alternating current. Here he solved the complex geometries of magnets, coils, and windings that produced the desired frequencies. But he learned the limitations of the production of AC waves by the rotating generator. He found that magnetic coils produced such high self-induction that they damped electromagnetic oscillations so much that the higher frequencies neither could nor be produced. In order to solve this problem, he came upon his next greet invention, which is called the Tesla Coil. The invention is utter simplicity itself, but no one had seen the solution before him.
Since the days of Faraday, experimenters had obtained different frequencies and different voltages of electricity by means of an inductance coil. This device uses a battery as a direct current source. A long wire coming from one terminal of the battery is coiled like a spring upon a round stick of iron, and then the other end of the wire is connected back to the other terminal of the battery. The electric current coursing through this coil (called a primary coil) produces a magnetic field in the iron care. This magnetic field can be used to energize a second call wrapped around the primary coil, and a current will be induced in the secondary coil. The value of such induced currents is that the voltage can be markedly increased in the transference of energy from the primary to the secondary in a definite ratio, which is proportional to the number of wire turns between the secondary and the primary. Far example,
1000 turns secondary = JO ratio =10:1 voltage step-up 100 turns primary 1
So if you put 100 volts DC into the primary, you can get 1000 volts DC out of the secondary. Furthermore, to get a pulsed DC current out of the induction coil, one interrupts the DC current with a kind of telegraph-key switch, and one would now have an "interrupted current."
Now Tesla would produce nice sine waves (he called them harmonic waves) out of his AC generator, and then in order to increase their voltage he would use an induction coil to exceed the peak voltage output of his generator. Yes, he would get higher voltages, but he would mess up his nice sine waves of alternating current end get chopped up pulses from the coil output. (See Fig. 4.) He solved this problem by using a simple device called the Leyden Jar, which had been around longer than the induction coil. The Leyden Jar can be simply described as an open glass cup whose outside is lined with metal foil. This geometric form of an insulator (glass) lined with foil (as conductor) has the property of being able to store a large amount of electric charge, and furthermore, to discharge it quietly. This Leyden Jar is more formally known as a condenser. Lord Kelvin had studied the properties of the condenser and had described them in an elegant mathematical formulation. Tesla knew this Kelvin formulation. He suspected it had the key to his problem. The details of Tesla's solution are well known to every physics student today, and we will try to explain it in layman's language. Just as Tesla had placed two AC waves 90 degrees out of step to create the hula hoop rotating magnetic field, so he knew that in any single AC wave there were two components within that wave that were 90 degrees out of step: in any AC wave the current lags the voltage by 90 degrees. Now the voltage can be likened to the pressure, which a tall column of water exerts; and the current is the amount of water in that column. Obviously, if we keep the amount of water constant (volume) we can increase or decrease the pressure it exerts by changing the height of the column. Now Tesla further knew that the current in a magnetic coil is 90 degrees out of phase with the current in a condenser, now called a capacitor. It is as though one held two glasses, on in each hand, one of which is filled with water. Now the glass in the left hand is held vertically and is empty. The glass in the right hand is filled with water and is
tipped so that it is at right angles (or 90 degrees) to the glass in the left hand. As the right hand glass is tipped it will empty water into the left hand glass. If we roek the two glasses (always held at right angles to each other) back and forth, the water will slosh back and forth between the two in a smooth harmonic transfer. The water, of course, is to be likened to the amount of electric charge held first in the magnetic field coil (right hand), and then transferred to the capacitor, or condenser (left hand). The rate at which the electrons can be sloshed back and forth between the coil and the condenser becomes the frequency of the oscillation of the alternating current. It so happens, by the laws of nature, that the timing of the filling up and emptying of the condenser with electrons can be precisely determined by two values. The first is by the electron charge-carrying capacity of the insulator (the dielectric constant); and the second is by the surface area of the metal foil conductor covering the insulator. These two factors give a precise time constant for the charge/discharge cycle of a given capacitor; and when mated to an equivalent time constant for the coil (inductance), Tesla could precisely control the peak frequency of any given coil, and thus produce his smooth harmonic sine wave alternating current Once he had perfected his "Tesla coil", he could produce any frequency of electricity of any potential, or power level, he desired. He now had the cools to find out about the nature of electricity.
He knew the great equations of Clerk Maxwell which said that electric waves were identical to light waves.  In 1887 Heinrich Hertz had shown that by using an interruptor spark mil he could produce electric waves that behaved like light waves. But what Tesla wanted to do was to produce elegant sine waves octave upon octave from the very low frequcncies (8 Hz) up to light waves (9 million million Hz) and find out what was the deep inner secret of light and electricity. He had two driving insights to check out. The first was his interest in lord Kelvin's theory that all of life's processes are electrical, and that there is an unknown force in the organism that guides and integrates such electrical effects. The second was his endless fascination with his power to visualize all experiences and to create his great inventions upon his mental computer display screen. Between bioelectricity and light, he hoped not only to master the forces of nature, but also to divine the nature of life itself. He hints at these goals in his famous Franklin Institute Lecture (1893): 
"In all this vast world, of all objects our senses reveal to us, the most marvelous, the most appealing to our imagination, appears no doubt a highly developed organism, a thinking being.
"Again in all the perfect harmony of its parts, of the parts which constitute the material or tangible of our being, of all its organs and senses, the eye is the most wonderful. It is the one, which is in the most intimate relation with that which we call Intellect. So intimate is this relation, that it is often said the very soul shows itself in the eye.
"But there is something else about the eye which impresses us still more than these wonderful features - an optical instrument of being directly affected by the vibrations of the medium. (In Tesla's day "the medium" meant the aether.) This is its significance in the processes of life.
"A single ray of light from a distant star falling upon the eye of a tyrant in by-gone times may have altered the course of his life, may have changed the destiny of nations, may have transformed the surface of the globe, so intricately, so inconceivably complex are the processes in nature. In no way can we get such an overwhelming idea of the grandeur of nature as when we consider that, in accordance with the law of the conservation of energy, throughout the infinite, the forces are in a perfect balance.
Hence, even a single thought may determine the motion of a universe. "
Thus, out of the toils and coils of the laboratory, we perceive that Tesla is a really only developing better tool with which to ask more profound questions of nature. Having developed sources of alternating current and the Tesla coils to produce any frequency or voltage of alternating current, Tesla now proceeded to use these tools to produce light. He produced every known form of light in those few years, from low frequency flickers (20-30 pulses per second) of phosphorescent materials, through incandescence of solids, liquids, and gases, to X-rays and, eventually, cosmic rays. He explored the entire spectrum of radiant energy known to man today - all before 1892. He studied the illumination of every kind of gas at his disposal under high pressures, atmospheric pressures, low pressures, and high vacuum. Since he made little attempt to exploit these discoveries commercially, it has long been a puzzle as to why he pursued these arcane studies.
We find the clue in his third great lecture in 1892 in London: 
"Such discharges of very high frequencies, which render luminous the air at ordinary pressures, we have probably often occasioned to witness in nature. I have no doubt that if, as many believe, the Aurora Borealis is produced by sudden cosmic disturbances, (such as eruptions at the sun's surface, which set the electrostatic charge of the earth in an extremely rapid vibration) the red glow observed is not confined to the upper rarefied strata of the air, but the discharge traverses, by reason of its very high frequency, also the dense atmosphere in the form of a plow, such as we ordinarily produce in a slightly exhausted tube. If the frequency were very low the dense air would break down as in a lightning discharge."
Now we begin to see what Tesla is doing. He has calculated in his superb mental laboratory the various gases that exist around the earth at various altitudes, and their respective pressures. He has discovered that he can duplicate on the laboratory bench, effects at any altitude around the earth -- lightning, Aurora Borealis, clouds, night glows, etc. He has discovered that high frequency alternating current under vacuum pressures becomes superconducting, and that therefore he can use the ionosphere as a conduit. He has discovered, on the contrary, that very low frequencies neither do nor conduct well, especially in the stratosphere and clouds, and that here they build up their energy into accumulated static electrical charge. He is beginning to think of an attempt to control the gigantic forces of nature - weather modification! Tesla is beginning to wonder if the earth has an electrical charge. Does the sun have an electrical charge? Suppose, he thinks, if these too bodies are charged, I can perhaps modulate the electrostatic force of the ball of the earth with low frequencies, and this may in turn draw energy from the sun by sympathetic vibration. He is already thinking of drawing more energy from the solar system, from the cosmos. That he is so thinking we know from his later (1900) article "Talking with the Planets", but we are not yet ready to understand the far reaches of his mind.
While Tesla is exploring the ionosphere laboratory equivalent with high frequency currents, he is exploring the earth as a conductor for very low frequencies. He hints at many expertments using the earth se a conductor. He is beginning to think that the earth has a resonance to electrical waves somewhere around 10 Hz, but he has not yet explored it. But now he wonders what the effect of such extra-low frequencies (ELF) will be upon living thing - if he is to use the earth as a conductor. He begins to explore the effects on himself. He repeatedly demonstrates that he can pass over a millions volts of high frequency current through his body with safely, even though his body will be engulfed in a complete sheet of electrical fire.  Since he knows the limits of safety here, he explores the low frequencies
und he may cause the brush to puss otYby merely stiffening the muscies of the arm. When it begins to rotate slowly, and the hands are held at proper distance, it is impossible lo make even the slightest motion without producing a visible effect upon the brush. A metal plate connected to the other terminal of the coil affects it at a great distance, slowing down the rotation often to one turn second.
I am firmly convinced that such a brush will, when we learn how to produce it properly, prove a valuable aid in the investigation of the nature of the forces acting in an electrostatic or magnetic field. If there is any motion, which is measurable going on in the space, such a brush ought to reveal it. It is, so to speak, a beam of light, frictionless, devoid of inertia.
I think that it may find practical applications in telegraphy with such a brush it would be possible to send dispatches across the Atlanti for instance, with any speed since its sensitivity may be so great that the slightest chang will affect it. if it were possible to make the stream more intense and very narrow, iu deflections could be easily photographed."
I am convinced that this remarkable invention, which never found any practical use, is Tesla's model of how the earth would behave if properly charged, or how the sun would behave if influenced by the charge on earth. Tesla never tells us what he may have found when he used two or more rotating brush bulbs as a model of the sun and planetary interactions. In its simplest interpretation, the central small bulb S represents the magnetosphere sheath that surrounds the earth, and the globe L represents the conducting ionosphere, and the intervening space is the atmosphere. But some seven more years were to pass before Tesla could test this model on a planetary scale.
In this period, 1892, Tesla worked feverishly to comprehend the vast scheme of nature that he was trying to unravel and, hopefully, to control. Besides overwork he was also using his own body mercilessly as a guinea pig in his experiments. One of the effects (which we now recognize as the result of repeated electro shock therapy) is a loss of memory for recent events. Tesla writes of such an experience:
"I will tell of an extraordinary experience, which may be of interest to students of psychology. I had produced a striking phenomenon with my ground transmitter and was endeavoring to ascertain its true significance in relation to the currents propagated through the earth. It seemed a hopeless undertaking and for more than a year I worked unremittingly but in vain. This profound study so entirely absorbed me that I became forgetful of everything else, even of my undermined health. At last, as I was on the point of breaking down. Nature applied the preservative, inducing lethal sleep.
Regaining my senses, I realized with consternation that I was unable to visualize scenes from my life except those of infancy, the very first ones that had entered my consciousness. Curiously enough, these appeared before my vision with startling distinctness and afforded me welcome relief. Night after night when retiring, I
would think of them and more and more of my previous existence was revealed. The image of my mother was always the principal figure in the spectacle that slowly unfolded, and a consuming desire to see her again gradually took possession of me. This feeling grew so strong that I resolved to drop all work and satisfy my longing. But I found it too hard to break away from the laboratory, and several months clapsed during which I succeeded in reviving all the impressions of my past life up to the spring of 1892. In the next picture that came out of the mist of oblivion, I saw myself at the Hotel de la Pair in Paris just coming to from one of my peculiar sleeping spells caused by prolonged exertion of the brain. Imagine the pain and distress I felt when it flashed upon my mind that a dispatch was handed to me at that very moment hearing the sad news that my mother was dying.
It was especially remarkable that all during this period of partially obliterated memory I was fully alive in everything touching on the subject of my research. I could recall the smallest details and the least insignificant observations in my experiments and recite pages of texts and complex mathematical formulae."  Tesla foresaw this event in late 1891 while working in New York City in February 1892 he gave his famous London Lecture, and from there went to Paris to give a lecture to the French Society of Electrical engineers. As he returned from the second lecture to his hotel, he was handed a telegram informing him of his mother's coming death. He caught the next train home to Gospic and arrived their lust in time to see her off this plane of existence. This was the fifth great shock in Tesla's life. If was all the more tragic in that it came at the very pinnacle of fame, fortune, and self-satisfaction with his work. At age 35 he seemed to have everything, but when lost his mother, the only person he loved, he collapsed. Overwork, anxiety, self-experimentation, travel, his mother's death - all combined into another one of his grave illnesses, which kept him in bed for weeks. During this period of enforced recuperation Tesla's review of his life program continued. He did not like; what he saw on his mind's screen. He had been too indulgent with himself. He had allowed himself to be idolized and lionized. He was creeping into commercialism beyond his immediate and real needs. He had not penetrated nature's secret - he had only, like Edison, proliferated gadgets and toys. He resolved to let the world go by, to be true to his calling, to lead a more spartan and stoic life -and to do it alone.
While convalescing, Tesla returned to the mountains where he had spent his nineteenth year in solitude. He tells how his inspiration came to put may of his ideas together: 
"I sought shelter from an approaching storm. The sky became overhung with heavy clouds, but somehow the rain was delayed until, all of a sudden, there was a lightning flash, and a few minutes after, a deluge. This observation set me thinking. It was manifest that the two phenomena were closely related as cause and effect, and a little reflection led me to the conclusion that the electrical energy involved in the precipitation of the water was inconsiderable, the function of lightning being much like that of a sensitive trigger. Here was a stupendous possibility of achievement, If we could produce electrical effects of the required quality, this whole planet and the conditions of existence on it could be transformed. The sun raises the water on the oceans, and winds drive it to distant regions where it remains in a state of most delicate balance. If it were in our power to upset it when and wherever desired, this mighty life-sustaining stream could be, at will, controlled. We could irrigate arid deserts, create lakes and rivers, and provide motive power in unlimited amounts.
This would be the most efficient way of hernessing the sun to the uses of man. The consummation depended on our ability to develop electric forces of the order of those in Nature. It seemed a hopeless undertaking; but I made up my mind to try it, and immediately on my return to the United States in the summer of 1892, work was begun."
By his 36th birthday, he had moved out of the opulent Waldorf-Astoria and into the smaller Hotel Gerlach on 27th Street. With his new resolve, he plunged again into a merciless schedule as the new superman who would control the secrets of Nature.
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