Section

From Birth to Arrival in the U.S.

Nikola Tcsla was bom under the Austro-Hungarian empire in the village of Smiljan in the region of Lika, in the mountains of present-day northwestern Yugoslavia. The simple little village looks very much today as it did some one hundred and twenty years ago. His father, Milutin, a priest of the Orthodox Serbian Church, and his mother, Djuka, received the newborn Nikola into this world at midnight between 9 July and 10 July 1856. Although young Nikola's life was idyllic up to the age of seven, he later wrote that during this early formative period, he was weak and vacillating, "a slender reed moved around by every emotional breeze." He lived in the great spaces of the mountains and benefited from his background in the "literary" world so that he was able to read and write at a very early age. I put the word literary in quotes because his mother had not been taught to read and write, which was the common lot of women in that day and age.

This phase of his life was abruptly ended by the death, due to injuries suffered by a fall from a horse, of his elder brother, Dane, age 14. So great was the shock to all in the family that Nikola's father could not bear the familiar surroundings of Smiljan and decided to leave the scene of the tragedy. The family moved to a nearby town, Gospic, which was noted as a market center of some 3000 people.

The shock of his only brother's death, and the departure from the cozy familiarity of nature had a profound effect on the seven-year-old Nikola. He suddenly became a recluse and began to live in his father's library, and in the local library, devouring every book that he could read and uderstand. It was during this unusual and early encounter with books that Tesla first became aware that he possessed unusual mental powers. Much later, he gives us a glimpse of these powers:

"In my boyhood, I suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images, often uccompanied by strong flashes of light, which marred the sight of real objects, and interfered with my thought end action. They were pictures of things and scenes which I had really seen, never of those I imagined. When a word was spoken tome, the image of the object it designated would present itself vividly to my vision, and sometimes I was quite unable to distinguish whether what I saw was tangible or not. This caused me great discomfort and anxiety. None of the students of psychology or physiology whom I have consulted could ever explain satisfactorily these phenomena. They seem to have been unique, although I was probably predisposed, as I know that my brother experienced a similar trouble.

"The theory I have formulated is that the images were the result of reflex action from the brain on the retina under great excitation. They certainly were not hallucinations such as are produced in diseased and anguished minds, for in other respects I was normal and composed. To give an idea of my distress, suppose that I had witnessed a funeral or some such nerve-racking spectacle. Then, inevitably, in the stillness of night, a vivid picture of the scene would thrust itself before my eyes and persist despite all my effort, to banish it. Sometimes it would even remain fixed in space though I pushed my hand through it.

"To free myself of these tormenting appearances, I tried to concentrate my mind on something else I had seen, and in this way I would often obtain temporary relief; but in order to get it I had to conjure continuously new images. It was not long before I found that I had exhausted all of those at my command; my "reel" had run out, as it were, because I had seen little of the world-only objects in my home and the immediate surroundings.

*As I performed these mental operations for the second or third time in order to chase the appearances from vision, the remedy gradually lost all its force. Then I instinctively commenced to make exclusions beyond the limits of the small world of which I had knowledge, and I saw new scenes. These were at first blurred and indistinct, and would flit away when I tried to concentrate my attention upon them, but by and by I succeeded in fixing them; they gained in strength and distinctness and finally assumed the concreteness of real things. I soon discovered that my best comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision farther and farther, getting new inspirations all the time, and so I began to travel ~ of course, in my mind. livery night (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys — see new places, cities and countries.

"I was about twelve years old when I first succeeded in banishing an image from my vision by willful effort, but I never had any control over the flashes of light to which I have referred. They were, perhaps, my strangest experience and inexplicable. They usually occurred when I found myself in a dangerous or distressing situation or when I was greatly exhilarated. In some instances I have seen all the air around me filled with tongues of living flame. Their intensity, instead of diminishing, increased with time and seemingly attained a maximum when I was about twenty-five years old.

"These luminous phenomena still manifest themselves from time to time, as when a new idea opening up possibilities strikes me, but they are no longer exciting, being of relatively small intensity. When I close my eyes I invariably observe first, a background of very dark and uniform blue, not unlike the sky on a clear but starless night. In a few seconds this field becomes animated with innumerable scintillating flares of green, arranged in several layers and advancing towards me. Then there appears, to the right, a beautiful pattern of two systems of parallel and closely spaced lines, at right angles to one another, in all sorts of colors with yellow, green and gold predominating. Immediately thereafter the lines grow brighter and the whole is thickly sprinkled with dots of twinkling light. The picture moves slowly across the field of vision and in about ten seconds vanishes to the left, leaving behind a ground of rather unpleasant and inert gray which quickly gives way to a billowy sea of clouds, seemingly trying to mold themselves into living shapes. It is curious that I cannot project a form into this gray until the second phase is reached. Every time, before falling asleep, images of persons or objects flit before my view. When I see them I know that I am about to lose consciousness. If they are absent and refuse to come, it means a sleepless night.

"To what an extent imagination played a part in my early life, I may illustrate by another odd experience. Like most children, I was fond of jumping and developed an intense desire to support myself in the air. occasionally a strong wind blew from the mountains rendering my body as light as cork and then I would leap and float in space for a long time. It was a delightful sensation and my disappointment was keen when later I undeceived myself.

"During that period, I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some of which I can trace to external impressions while others are unaccountable. I had a violent aversion against the earrings of women, but other ornaments, such as bracelets, pleased me more or less according to design. The sight of a pearl would almost give me a fit, but I was fascinated with the glitter of crystals or objects with sharp edges and plane surfaces. I would not touch the hair of other people except, perhaps, at the point of revolver. I would get a fever by looking at a peach, and if piece of camphor was anywhere in the house, it caused me the keenest discomfort. Even now I am not insensible to some of these upsetting impulses. When I drop little squares of paper in a dish filled with liquid, I always sense a peculiar and awful taste in my mouth. I counted the steps in my walks and calculated the cubical contents of soup plates, coffee cups and pieces of food — otherwise my meal was enjoyable. All repeated acts or operations I performed had to be divisible by three and if I missed. I felt impelled to do it all over again, even if it took hours. "[3]

Tesla discovered at school, The lower Real Gymnasium, when he was ten, that he could call out all arithmetical and mathematical calculations in his head just as clearly as if he were working it all out on a blackboard. This capacity served him like a modern high-speed computer all of his life. In 1870, at the age of fourteen, he graduated from The Real Gymnasium and shortly thereafter had the second major shock of his life. He was swimming in a stream with his friends wherein was anchored a long and large float. In order to surprise his friends, he decided to dive under the float, i.e., to "disappear" and emerge at the far end. He did not realize that he lacked the capacity to swim this length under water. So he swam as long as he could and came up to surface for air — only to find a wooden bean against his head, and no air. By this time he was getting frantic for lack of air, and the large build-up of carbon dioxide in his blood further aggravated his sense of suffocation. At this point his brain was reeling and he began to sink. Just then a flash of light illumined his mind, and he thought he saw the planks above the beam trapping some air. He floated up to the planks, pressed his mouth against them, and found enough air to inhale. With his lungs and brain ventilated he was able to escape his entrapment. This close escape from death by drowning in his fourteenth year, however, was only the prelude for a sea of troubles that plagued him for the next seven years.

Following graduation and this near-drowning episode in 1870, he was sent to the Higher Real Gymnasium in Karlovac, Croatia, where he lived with his uncle. Here he lost his robust health when he contracted malaria, which racked his body with aches and fevers for the next three years. The only control then known for malaria was quinine, and he did not know which was more deleterious - the malaria or the quinine. We do know today that one of the most common deleterious effects of quinine is damage to the hair cells of the hearing nerves. That Tesla did not suffer from this kind of damage will be made evident from some of his subsequent experiences in hearing.

However, in spite of weakness from malaria and supersensitivity to all stimuli, his three years at Karlovac were the true beginning of his scientific work, the only life he would really know. We begin to see in these painful years the birth of his major ideas. His teacher in physics was Prof. Martin Sekulic who was well-informed as to what was happening on the contemporary scientific scene, as can be gathered from his Communications to the Yugoslav Academy of Arts and Sciences. He particularly emphasized electricity in his physics teaching. The young Tesla was utterly fascinated as he watched Prof. Sekulic vigorously turning the handle of a static electricity machine which developed a charge very much the way rubbing a plastic comb with a piece of wool develops sparks. The spark output of the static machine was then directed toward a small globe made of paper covered with metal foil balanced on the tip of a needle so that it could freely rotate like a magnetic compass. It fascinated Tesla to understand how the static charge is converted into a rotational motion. As he said himself, each such demonstration set off in his mind a thousand echoes of further probing and explorations. But his mind did not stop at the electrical forces acting on the small spinning paper globe. He expanded this idea to include the entire terrestrial globe. He worked out a plan to build a huge ring around the equator which would spin at the speed of some 1000 miles per hour, or as we would say today, in synchronous orbit. He planned to use this as a means for high-speed transport around the earth and toyed with various methods of getting his passengers on and off of his high-speed platform.

He now had two main elements working in his mind, which were to lead him on to his first great discovery: the rotating magnetic field. He knew from simple static machine demonstration that he had an experiment, which he could run in his head and put it on his mental display screen and re-run it over and over again. Today we would say that his mind was organized like a super-computer with all powers of analysis, integration, enormous memory bank, and such powerful visual display of all operations that they competed with physical events for reality quality. It was in this same period that another primordial image entered his mind, which he was able to give birth to thirty years later. He visualized the mighty torrent of Niagara Falls in the far-off United States/Canadian border after seeing a postcard picture.

In his mind, he invented a mighty water wheel with which to get mechanical energy from the falling waters. Thus, his mind's eye was endlessly working over three primordial programs that he had to solve:

1) the bulb spun by static electricity;

2) the ring platform suspended around earth's equator;

3) the power of water turning a wheel.

After three years of intermittent illness, and the ecstasy of learning to run his powerful mental computer, Tesla graduated from Karlovac in 1873 at the age of seventeen. Upon his return home to Gospic, this budding genius was to enter a crossroads crisis of his life and endure the third great shock to his entire being. He started his journey home with some sense of foreboding because he had to face his father on the question of his future career. His father desired strongly to have Nikola enter the life of the clergy. Nikola with equal desire and strength of purpose wanted to become an electrical engineer. The very day that Nikola arrived home for the showdown encounter with his father, he contracted the dreaded cholera. He had been debilitated enough by his three-year bout with malaria, and now cholera. He lay between life and death in bed for the next nine months with scarcely the strength to move. How the pending problem with his father was resolved and his health restored is tersely described by Tesla:

My energy was completely exhausted and for the second time I found myself at death's door. In one of the sinking spells that was thought to be my last, my father rushed into the room. I can still see his pallid face as he tried to cheer me in tones belying his assurance. "Perhaps," I said, "I may get well if you let me study engineering." "You will go to the best technical institution in the world," he solemnly replied; and I knew that he meant it. A heavy weight was lifted from my mind, but the relief would have come too late had it not been for a marvelous cure brought about through a bitter decoction of a bitter bean. I came to life like another Lazarus to the utter amazement of everybody. [4]

Unfortunately, we do not know what kind of bean he had been treated with. Having survived his third great shock, Tesla had to face another major crisis as he approached the age of eighteen. He was about to be called up as a conscript in the Austro-Hungarian Army. While Tesla does not explicitly mention this episode in his life story, it is known from other sources that he had no intention of becoming a military conscript. [5] This was especially more painful in that both sides of his family had a long list of military careers to their credit, as well as priests, of course. Having survived the family priestly pressures, he now had to survive the family military pressures.

Since we have no reliable data to go on about how Tesla managed to escape being a conscript, we have to reconstruct this period of his life from the historical context. We do know that Tesla states that it was his father's idea that he should disappear into the mountains for a time, to which proposition Tesla states that he reluctantly agreed. It so happens that my own father was born under the Austro-Hungarian Empire, not far from the region where Tesla was brought up. When my father reached the age of eighteen, he faced the same crisis as Tesla with respect to military conscription. He did not want to become a conscript, and his father supported his wishes. So my father disappeared into the Dinaric Alps for a year while his father tried to buy off the military people. In this effort, he was unsuccessful. My father, Franjo Puharich, told me that he had only two choices left since he could not hide forever. The first was to maim himself so that he would be unfit for military service. He tells me that this was a common practice in his day (ca. 1910). There are rumors afloat to this day amongst people still living in Yugoslavia that Tesla attempted such self-mutilation, but this rumor cannot be confirmed. My father told me that his second alternative was to escape abroad and enter some country illegally. He chose the latter course, stowed away aboard a ship and entered the U.S. as an illegal alien. In this way he escaped military conscription and eventually became a U.S. citizen. It was some fifty years before he returned to his native land.

All we know is that Tesla spent a year in the mountains, and when his father had made the arrangements, he enrolled as a student at the Polytechnic School in Gratz, Styria (now Austria) in 1875. Tesla only states that the year in the mountains helped to restore his health and gave him the freedom to pursue his grand "Gedanken," i.e., thought experiments, in his mental laboratory. He must have put much of his life into order because he was determined to get answered as many of his questions as he could. At Gratz, Tesla programmed himself to study every day from 3:00 AM to 11:00 PM twenty hours of work, seven days a week. He not only mastered the foundations of physics, mechanics and mathematics, passing his first year at Gratz with the highest honors, but found time to further his knowledge of French, German, Serbian, and Hungarian. He wanted to learn philosophy and decided to read Voltaire, the great French philosopher, as written in the original French. Having committed himself to complete this task, he found after he had started that Voltaire had written some 100 large volumes in very small print. Having made his bargain with himself, he was bound to keep it, and thus found the "time" to read the 100 volumes of Voltaire in his "spare time." This feat clearly shows us the magnitude of his prodigality at the age of twenty. He saturated himself with the key literary products of European art and science. So intense was his work and learning that he found out later that his professors, who loved him, had secretly written to his parents asking that somehow Nikola should be encouraged to slow down ~ lest he kill himself with overwork.

Completing his first year at Gratz was a total triumph of his will over all obstacles. But his second year slowed him down, not because of lack of will or mind power, but because no scholarship aid was available in spite of his brilliance, it seemed that if ever there were a worthy student to receive scholarship aid, it was Nikola Tesla, but the fates conspired to slow him down. He stayed on in Gratz, auditing all the courses he could, but of course did not have to take exams. He read in the library, and attended demonstrations in the laboratories. His professors loved him so much that they allowed him to attend all classes even though they knew he had not paid tuition. It was at one of these demonstrations that Professor Poeschl showed the newly invented Gramme Dynamo, which he had received, from Paris. This was a crude direct current generator, which had a horseshoe shaped magnet for the field, and as a rotor turned inside it, electricity was produced. What disturbed young Tesla was the scientific lack of aestheticism of the Gramme Dynamo. It produced electricity with much noise and sparking at the commutator. The commutator was a set of rings on the dynamo shaft that collected the electricity, which the turning rotor collected from passing across the magnetic field of the horseshoe magnet. The principle here is that if a wire is moved through a magnetic field (from the horseshoe magnet) an electric current is produced, and is passed to a ring (the commutator) on the shaft of the rotor, and a sliding contact moving over the ring called the brush picks up the electricity and passes it by wires to the load. So offended was Tesla's deep sense of scientific elegance with the clumsiness of this arrangement that he protested to Prof. Poeschl with the opinion that there must be a better way to accomplish the goal. To this Prof. Poeschl replied with heavy-handed German authoritarianism, looking Tesla in the eye: "Mr. Tesla may accomplish great things, but he certainly will never do this. It will be equivalent to converting a steadily pulling force, like that of gravity, into a rotary effort. It is a perpetual motion scheme, an impossible idea. " [6]

This was the challenge Tesla needed: to solve an "impossible" problem. From 1876 to 1882 he ran his prodigious mental computer laboratory over and over this problem. He admits that by 1880 (age 24) he was beginning to realize that perhaps Prof. Poeschl might be right — the problem might be insoluble. More of this later. In spite of his brilliance, Tesla could not solve the simple problem of making a living --as many a genius has found out. So Tesla turned his powerful mind to an easy way of making a living: gambling. European student life in his day was dominated by drinking, duelling, gambling and sexual adventures. In this environment it was always easy to enter into a gambling encounter to make money, and from this expertise Tesla stayed on and lived at Gratz until 1879 — the year in which he would have graduated had he been able to pay tuition. We do not know much about these years except that Tesla, in order to support himself by gambling, billiards end cards, had to be "one of the boys", and therefore had his share of personal indulgences. However, he learned from this experience that his system could not tolerate coffee, and eventually abstained from it. Alcohol he was able to tolerate in small amounts, and continued to use it as an after dinner drink for the rest of his life. His passion for gambling during these three years became a fever, but one which he finally conquered.

He left Gratz in 1879 to visit his family in Gospic, and no sooner had he come home then his father died. This sad event imposed further burdens on his already threadbare poverty. As hard and difficult as his life had been, he was determined to continue with his postgraduate education. He felt, even by auditing courses, that he had learned everything possible at Gratz. He decided to go to Prague (Bohemia) and enroll there in the ancient and distinguished University of Prague. To his great disappointment he found that he did not qualify for enrollment because he had not studied Greek in high school. In spite of this setback and continued poverty, he persisted in learning electrical engineering by auditing courses, and, of course, reading everything of interest in the library.

Tesla's family, of course, knew of both his great desire to learn and his equally dire financial straits, and tried to help him. His mother's brother, Pajo Handic, was a military officer stationed in Budapest. Pajo had a friend, Perenc Pukas, who was an executive of the Central Telegraph Office of the Hungarian government. Through this friend, Pajo arranged a job for his nephew. Tesla arrived in Budapest in January 1881 at the age of 24, eager to begin his long awaited career as an electrical engineer. However, he was bitterly disappointed to find out that the only job available was as a draftsman — work he really disliked. Fortunately for Tesla, the new telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 had just reached Europe, and the Hungarian government was eager to install an exchange in Budapest. The inspector-in-chief of the Telegraph Company recognized Tesla's mathematical and engineering talents and awarded him the job of designing the new installation. Tesla gives every indication that he was happy with his new work for the first time and his freedom from povcrty in Budapest was a joy.

It is puzzling to know that in January of 1882, Tesla suffered a fourth great shock: he had a complete nervous breakdown. What is meant by this phrase needs some explanation. We have no indication that Tesla was frustrated by his work. On the contrary, he states that in the few months before he moved to Budapest, while still in Prague, his "mental computer" was so free-running that he "invented" in his Gedankan experiments all of the motors and dynamos for which he later became famous. But he admits that while he built the mechanical models in his head, the underlying principle escaped him. Perhaps the unending quest for this Holy Grail of electrical first principles haunted him more than he realized. His nervous breakdown was in fact an exact opposite of breakdown in that it was a super sensitivity of senses and of mind organization.

Tesla retreated from the world in that month of January 1882; he found insulation between himself and the noisy world. He describes lying in bed and distinctly hearing the ticking of a pocket watch — three rooms away! When a fly landed on the table beside his bed, he experienced a dull thud in his ears. The vibrations of a carriage passing over cobblestones several miles away wracked his body. The ground under his bed and under his feet rumbled continuously from any sound; he felt as though he was in a continuous earthquake. If the sun's rays accidentally fell upon him, his brain felt as though it were being clubbed; and if the sun hit him while moving along a road where trees produced a stroboscopic effect, he felt as though he were being engulfed in hammer blows of lightning. His whole body from time to time was convulsed by twitching and Tremors. One could almost say that sensory stimuli were exciting epileptic-type electrical storms throughout his brain and body.

Even today there is no way to describe how his nerves could amplify the weak electrical signals of his sense organs. It was as though his nervous system had gone from normal thermal level electrical conduction to super-cooled typed of electrical superconductivity [7] The only other instance we know historically of such super sensitivity is from the lives of certain saints who, in undergoing a kind of final refinement and purification, would enter an ecstatic state similar to Tesla's condition.

In Tesla's case this condition of general hyper-sensitivity does not seem to have lasted for more than a month, because he recounts that with the aid of his devoted athletic friend, Antal Szigety, he began to recover. Szigety insisted that Tesla get out of bed; he walked him, and exercised him. Tesla later admits that in the recesses of his awesome computer mind was the solution to his quest - the perfect alternating current motor, but he could not reach it. Perhaps he let his body enter a higher dimension of sensitivity in order to find the solution. But it is Tesla who must describe this ultimate experience culminating the quest of his life to this moment. The climax and recovery of health rapidly came in February 1882; we do not know the exact date:

"A powerful desire to live and to continue the work, and the assistance of a devoted friend and athlete (Antal Szigety), accomplished the wonder. My health returned and with it the vigor of my mind, hi attacking the problem again, I almost regretted that the struggle was soon to end. I had so much energy to spare. When I undertook this task, it was not with a resolve such as men often make. With me, it was a sacred vow, a question of life and death. I knew that I would perish if I failed. Now I felt that the battle was won. Back in the deep recesses of the brain was the solution, but I could not yet give it outward expression".

"One afternoon, which is ever present in my recollection, I was enjoying a walk with my friend in the City Park and reciting poetry. At that age, I knew entire books by heart, word for word. One of these was Goethe's Faust. The sun was just setting and reminded me of the glorious passage:

"Sie ruckt und weicht, der tag is uberlebt,

Dort eilt sie bin und fordert neues Leben.

Oh, dass kein flugel mich vom Boden hebt

Ihr nach und immer nach zu streben!

Bin schoner Traum indessen sie entweicht,

Ach, ru des Geistes Flugeln wird so leicht

Keinen körperlicher Flugel sich gesellen!"

Translation: "The glow retreats, done is the day of toil: It yonder hastes, new fields of life exploring; Ah, that no wing can lift me from the soil, Upon its track to follow, follow soaring A glorious dream! though now the glories fade, Alas, the wings that lift the mind, no aid Of wings to lift the body can bequeath me!"

"As I uttered these inspiring words; the idea came like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagram shown six years later in my addrcss before The American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and my companion understood them perfectly. The images I saw were wonderfully sharp and clear and had the solidity of metal and stone, so much so that I told him: 'See my motor here; watch me reverse it.' I cannot begin to describe my emotions, Pygmalion seeing his statue come to life could not have been more deeply moved. A thousand secrets of nature, which I might have stumbled upon uccidentally, I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds, and at the peril of my existence."

What did Tesla visualize in his computer that had solved his agonizing problem of how to make an alternating current motor of aesthetic design? While Tesla was the first human being to have the vision of a rotating magnetic field, subsequently many engineers and scientists have been able to have this vision due to subsequent detailed scientific expositions being made of the phenomenon. Let us try to recapture Tesla's vision of February 1882 when he was all of 25 years old. Please refer to Figure 2.

AC-1 shows the representation of a normal sine wave. This can represent the rise and fall (M) of a wafer wave, and its travel to the right; or it can represent the rise and fall of an electric current from positive (+) charge state (up) to negative (-) charge state (down) and direction ( -> ) of travel; it can represent the swing of a magnetic wave from north pole (+) to south pole (-), and direction of travel. The rise end fall is shown by degrees on a 360° scale Just as in a circle, and one complete cycle is 360°. The rise phase in AC-1 is positive (+) from 0° to 90°; then the falling positive (+) phase is from 90° to 180° where it reaches zero value, 0, neither (+) or (-). This completes half a cycle of the sine wave.

From 180° the wave goes from 0 value down to full negative (-) value at 270°; from 270° the value goes from full negative (-) up to zero at 360° This completes a full cycle of action that has the form of a sine wave. Many phenomena in nature follow this cyclical pattern. Of immediate interest is that this is the way an alternating current (AC) is displayed on an osciloscope in a two-dimensional plane. However, if one saw this AC wave as it exists in nature, and as Tesla undoubtedly saw it in his mental visual display computer, it looks more like a corkscrew in three dimensions. If the direction of travel is from left to right (-> ), then components of the AC point in different directions. The magnetic component of the electromagnetic AC wave points upward in the plane of the paper where the arrow is marked M. The electric component of the electro-magnetic AC wave paints directly down through the paper (perpendicular to the plane of the paper).

What Tesla knew, and other scientists knew, was that if one placed a second alternating current in a circuit, AC-2, leading AC-1 by 90° this is called a phase difference; certain effects would occur which could be used to turn a magnet that was suspended like a compass needle.

Let us begin to build up the vision that Tesla had of the rotating magnetic field using the simple elements we have given.

Referring to Fig. 3, place a compass an the center of the circle over the part marked magnetic bar rotor. Line up the compass needle, and the line of the magnetic bar rotor so that they both point north. Now take bar of iron a pocket knife blade will do - and bring it close enough to the north pole of the compass needle so that the needle can be moved. Now move the knife point along the rim of the compass so that the needle moves first to 0° (north) and then to 90° (east). Practice guiding the compass needle so that you can move it smoothly first from 0° to 90° then from 0° to 180°; then from 0° to 270° then the complete circle from 0° to 360°. This in effect is how an alternating current motor works. Your hand 16 the alternating current that goes through a full cycle (or circle) of 360°, and it guides the magnetic component of the alternating current (the iron bar, or knifeblade), i.e., a magnetic field. In such a way that its force produces a torque, or rotation on a rotor (the compass needle). Now this part is easy. What Tesla had to solve was how to produce the magnetic field whirlwind around the circle of the rotor without any mechanical motion to create the magnetic field. The vision he had can now be visualized by us.

Referring to Figure 3, remove the compass and note the two circles, each of which is eccentric to the circle around the magnetic rotor bar: and further note at 90°and 180° that the circles are 90° out of phase with each other. Each of these circle, represents one cycle of an alternating current, AC-1, and AC-2 (as in Fig 2), but now shown as a complete cycle in the form of a circle rather than a sine wave. Now to visualize what Tesla saw: imagine circle AC- i 1 to be a hula hoop of blue color and watch it go around a person, or better still, watch a child swing a hula hoop an his hips. You can now see and feel the swing of a magnetic loop around a central rotor circle. Referring to Fig. 3, note that the outer circle represents the (+) swing of a sine wave and its perimeter the maximum (900 as in Fig. 1 AC-1) north pole magnetic field strength. The inner perimeter circle shows the (-) swing of a sine wave and represents the south pole maximum magnetic field strength (270° as in Fig. 1 AC-1). Between these two maxima there is a circle, which represents zero magnetic field strength (0° and 180° as in Fig. 1 AC-1).

Now we add a second hula hoop (AC-2), which leads the first hula hoop (AC-1) by 90°, and get them both spinning around the hips. See Fig. 3. As long as the two hula-hoops maintain their 90° phase difference, we have the identical condition of magnetic field whirlwind that Tesla saw in his vision. However, using his prodigious calculating capacity, Tesla could plot the magnetic field strength relations for every instant of time, and for every degree of the circle - and compute the field effect on the magnetic bar rotor in producing mechanical rotation and power. For example, if we take an instant of time at 90° to see what the magnetic field strengths are of AC-1 and AC-2 in Fig. 2, we see the following: Since AC-2 peak magnetic field strength is at 180° with respect to AC-1 (see Fig. 3), it will pull the south pole of the rotor clockwise toward it. Since there is inertial, or resistance in the rotor it will lag the maximum magnetic field strength of AC-2 by some degrees. Since AC-1 is going in a falling phase of magnetic field strength (going from 90° to 180° Fig. 2) its pull on the rotor is weakening, allowing the latter to follow AC-2. Since the magnetic field strengths of AC-1 and AC-2 are additive between 90° and 180° (Figs. 1 and 3) or at 135° - maximum north magnetic field strength - the rotor will be found at this part of the circle at this instant. As the two hula-hoops of magnetic field strength sweep around they will pull the rotor with them, just as if the hand were moving a magnet around a compass needle. Not only did Tesla see this immaterial set of magnetic forces spinning around, hut he encased them with the proper mechanicals - the shaft with its mechanical racer; the field coil structure surrounding the rotor. Then he encased these mechanicals with the right materials - the iron for the magnetic cares, which he wound with the proper copper wire coils. Then he devised the proper geometry and circuits that connected all the coils, which guaranteed the proper phase

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