Weird doings at the Tesla plant

Natives around Wardenclyffe, Long Island, having the time of their lives guessing what the electrician is trying to do

Whatever Nikola Tesla is trying to do at Wardenclyffe, Long Island, he has succeeded in keeping the natives guessing. Some think he is trying to signal Mars; others think that he has evolved a new system of communication by electricity through the air without wires; still others believe that he has another station off in China or Siberia, and is trying to communicate with it by electrical currents through the earth.

Weird doings around the Tesla plant at Wardenclyffe serve to excite the inhabitants these fine nights. None of the natives is allowed to get near the bewildering stack of towers, poles and queer structures that the Tesla workmen have erected, and these same workmen are as reticent as clams. The tall electrician is seen but seldom, and when he does condescend to speak all he will admit is that his experiments have to do with wireless telegraphy.

“Some day,” he said today, “but not at this time, I shall make an announcement of something that I once never dreamed of.”

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For a great many years, Mr Tesla has been on the verge of making an announcement calculated to paralyze the world. In a laboratory up in Houston Street, he had a mysterious machine that poked white shafts of lightning into the atmosphere. Many men of science and finance looked at the machine and wondered.

Similar flashes, longer and more intense, leap from the tower of the Tesla works at Wardenclyffe. The villagers sit out in front of their houses, and at intervals between batting mosquitoes from their visages speculate on the meaning of the strange lights that shoot out and appear to dissolve in the surrounding atmosphere.

Under the tall tower there is a hole in the ground 150 feet deep. Mr Tesla admits that he shoots electric currents down this hole, and there is no doubt that he creates flashes long enough to reach the bottom of it. But there is a great deal of speculation concerning why he should want to shoot electric flashes into a hole in the ground.

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Wise-looking men of mystery who have been snooping around Wardenclyffe have been heard to say that Tesla is trying to get electricity out of the earth without the employment of artificial mediums. A man in Chicago thinks that if he can shoot a magnet into the air far enough he can accumulate electricity which can be carried to the earth on a wire. Why shouldn’t Mr Tesla dig a deep hole in the ground and bring electricity to the surface? It is easier to drop a magnet into the earth than it is to fire a magnet into the atmosphere and make it stay fired!

In the interval of waiting for what Mr Tesla is going to announce the people of Wardenclyffe and the surrounding country are having the time of their lives.


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About this story

Source publication: The Evening World (New York, NY)

Source publication date: July 17, 1903

Filed under: 1900s, Discoveries & inventions, Notable people, Places

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