Biggest Motor in the World

An article entitled, "Biggest Motor in the World" appeared in the Niagara Gazette. August 24,1897. In 1897 they installed a 400 horsepower motor in Niagara Falls.

The caption under the title says "the biggest alternating current machine will operate on the regular 2,000 volt current, from the Power House generators, without the use of a convenor -- built for the Electric Light Plant." The article goes on to report:

Anything new in electrical machines is interesting in Niagara Falls where so much electricity is flying around, and consequently the news of a new motor being installed in the power house of the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Electric Light and Power Company, that is the largest of its kind in the world, is not without its interesting features.

When it is said that the new motor is 'the largest of its kind' it is an essential fact in this story. There is a motor larger, but not of the most modern type.

The new machine is what is familiarly called a Tesla Induction type motor. It is built on the design of Tesla, who discovered a method of using an alternating two-phase electric current for operating a motor after other electricians had tried and failed to discern this method. It was considered one of Tesla's greatest achievements to discover this method for many reasons, but chiefly for its economical features

Tesla's Renown

The earliest article to be examined is one entitled, "Tesla's Renown" from the Niagara Gazette. May 29,1893:

The subtitles read, "A young man who is becoming known to the world as the greatest living electrician. Niagara power over the sea. To perform this feat is one of his dreams -- power enough to drive every railroad, propel every ship and produce every article manufactured." The rest of this short article is reproduced in its entirety:

Nikola Tesla has been called by scientific men, who do not award praise freely or indiscriminately, 'the greatest living electrician.' At the recent convention of electricians held in St. Louis a well-known electric journal issued daily bulletins or 'extras' giving a list of the delegates and distinguished attendants as they arrived at the convention, a program of the day's proceedings and a special article of immediate interest having reference to the current discussions of the convention.

One evening during the session of the convention, Mr. Tesla lectured on some of his recent experiments. The bulletin for that day contained a brief account of his life. So great is the interest taken in this young man that over 4,000 copies of the journal containing this biographical sketch were sold on the streets of St. Louis -- something unprecedented in the history of electrical journalism -- and in the evening his lecture, in the Grand Music Entertainment Hall, was listened to by a larger audience than had ever been gathered together before in the United States on an occasion of this kind. Many were glad to purchase complimentary tickets at $4 or $5 apiece.

It is singular that this remarkable man comes to us from one of the smallest and least known nations of Europe, Montenegro; that he is a young man (only 30 years of age), and that the best scientific minds believe that he has only begun to give the world the result of valuable researches.

The following is taken from an interview with Mr. Tesla by a New York Herald reporter. "In this great country (of which I am proud to be a citizen) we have water powers which, in aggregate amount, are sufficient to supply all the needs — in fact, far more than the needs - of the whole human race. Take, for instance, Niagara. This famous waterfall is estimated variously all the way from five to six millions horse-power. Now 1,000,000 horse-power economi cally directed would light every lamp, drive every railroad, propel every ship, heat every store, and produce every article manufactured by machinery in the United States.

"It will not be long before we can transmit that power under quite practical conditions by means of wires with the alternating system over distances as great as 1000 miles. Engineers now object to the use of very high pressure which would be necessary in such transmissions of power. But I believe the time will come when we shall transmit that energy without any wire.

"Since I have experimentally proved that we can get back electric impulses over one single wire without any return we may avail ourselves of the earth as a medium of transmission as one difficult obstacle to overcome. In fact, the only serious objection to this scheme is to find a means to concentrate the energy of vibrations spread over a great area on one spot.

"If this power is to be transmitted across the ocean, it will of course involve the expenditure of an enormous quantity of energy. It has been suggested that I can produce a set of lenses made of asphaltum or gutta percha or any other good so-called non-conductor of electricity, and can concentrate these rays, or waves, to a focus where their effect would be powerful.

"This plan if at all practicable, could be applied as well across the Atlantic as it could at shorter distances on land.

"Electricity is becoming more and more an important factor in our daily life and more and more closely connected with our comfort. I think, after a considerable lapse of time, it will become practically necessary for our existence. For instance, there is the question of light The advantages of the electric light are so great that even with the present wasteful methods we have been able to succeed in making practical use of it.

"But what will be our success when we shall be able to produce a hundred times as much light as we do at the present day? To do this is merely a question of time. Electric power is obtained by the use of dangerous, cumbersome and complicated appliances. But we have electric machines now, which require no attention whatever, and which will, in a few years, supplant all other motors, simply because of their higher efficiency and ideal simplicity.

"Even now the cost is very great. Eventually we will very likely be able to heat our stoves, warm the water and do our cooking by electricity, and in fact, to perform any service of this kind required for our domestic needs.

"It has been said that it will be unpracticable to heat our houses by means of electricity on account of the great cost, but as I have said we are now looking for other methods of getting electrical energy cheap. Even with the present methods any rich man certainly prefers, instead of a stove in his room, to have it wanned by electricity. The method is expensive but ideal.

"Electric energy can be applied to bicycles, carriages and all sorts of vehicles. It will certainly be applied to rowboats and will probably be so cheap that any man in ordinary circumstances can own a boat and propel it by this means. It would be a gloomy prospect indeed for the world if we did not think that this great power will be used to the advantage of the vast majority of the human race and its benefits will not be confined merely to the wealthy.

"Some years ago I demonstrated that a lampate filament could be made to glow from a current from the human hand. The light coming from the hand is produced by the agitation of the particles of molecules of the air. I charge my body with electricity, and from an apparatus which I have devised, I can make the electricity vibrate at the rate of a million times a second. The molecules of the air are then violently agitated, so violently that they become luminous; and streams of light then come out from the hand.

"In the same manner I am able to take in the hand a bulb of glass filled with certain substances and make them spring into light; I make light come to an ordinary lamp in a similar way, simply by holding it in the hand.

"When I was in London I had the pleasure of performing one of these experiments privately before Lord Rayleigh. I shall never forget the eagerness and excitement with which that famous scientist saw the lamp light up. I can only say that the appreciation of such men simply repays me for that pains I take in working out such phenomena."

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Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

It seems like the efforts to find the best alternative energy sources are seriously being looked into by lots of countries including most US cities. One proof is the signing of the Kyoto Treaty. The main aim of the concerned group and individuals is to lessen the greenhouse gases and pollutants.

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