Introduction

Home of the 'Tesla Memorial Society of the US and Canada", Western New York has a rich history of being touched and brought to life by Nikola Tesla:

1) Niagara Falls, New York was the first city in the world to have commercial alternating current generation of electricity, owing to Tesla;

2) Buffalo, New York was the first city in the world to receive electric power generated from a long distance away (22 miles) because of Tesla;

3) Buffalo, New York was the first city in the nation to have electric street lights thanks to Tesla.

Spending most of my life in Buffalo, and lots of enjoyable hours in Niagara Falls, it is my great yet humble pleasure to bring to you tonight an historical travelogue; a trip back in time, to the 1890's when the excitement and thrill of Tesla's fame was felt by everyone in Western New York.

Sit back, relax, and get ready to experience what it was like to live in that period, just as the transformation of these two cities was taking place. For the first time, articles from the Niagara Gazette (1893-1897) have been uncovered, including an interview with Tesla on the occasion of his first visit to the newly erected Adams Plant. Let's see how electrical power was extracted from Niagara Falls, from the Adams, to the Schoellkopf, and finally the Robert Moses Power Plant. We'll examine the mistakes that were made as well as how Niagara Falls, New York, has tried to commemorate the "greatest electrician that ever lived," Nikola Tesla.

To begin with, I'll read a passage from Tesla's Magnifying Transmitter by Dr. Andrija Puharich, a book that is in the hands of Dell Publishers at this time.

In 1890, the Morgan financial group had started a company to try to develop the electric power potential of Niagara Falls. It was called the Cataract Construction Company, and its president was Edward Dean Adams. An International commission was chaired by Lord Kelvin. The commission found that none of the plans were feasible. So the Cataract Company asked for plans and bids from companies in order to get the work under way. It was an incredible personal triumph for Tesla when his concept and plan were adopted by the commission. In October, 1893, two companies were awarded the contracts to electrify Niagara Falls: Westinghouse won the contract to build the AC power plant at the Falls; and General Electric, using licensed Tesla patents, was awarded the contract to build the transmission lines and distribution systems to Buffalo, New York, 22 miles away. Tesla had set huge ideas and forces in motion years ago, and now the tide of industrial civilization was lifting them higher and higher to the thundering crest of Niagara Falls' worldwide reputation ...

On the night of March 13, 1895, a fire broke out in the basement of 33 South Fifth Avenue and swept through the entire structure — including Tesla's laboratory. All of his hundreds of invention models, plans, notes, plans, notes, laboratory data, tools, photographs — all, all were destroyed ... Even as the disaster of his laboratory loss was still ashes in his heart, the power from Niagara Falls began to flow in August, 1895 - Tesla's greatest triumph to date. The builders and backers of this biggest of all electrical power plants on the planet were highly pleased with the success of the Tesla polyphase system. [1]

We have three dates to keep in mind:

1893 - start of the Adams Plant, contract awarded

1895 - power turned on at the completed Adams Plant

1896 - power sent 22 miles to Buffalo, for the first time.

Figure 1. Nikola Tesla. - Introducing Nikola Tesla.

Now starting off with a picture of Tesla, from a small rare booklet found in the Niagara Falls library entitled Introducing Nikola Tesla by Thomas L. Richardson of the Tesla Research Headquarters of Canada, let us look at some of the articles of Tesla's time from the same library.

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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