Nikola Tesla is one of the greatest inventors of all time, but these 7 inventions of the master inventor never materialized.
Nikola Tesla is one of the great inventors of history and his work has captured the imagination of generations who have followed him, living in the world he helped build.
As the holder of more than 270 patents in 27 countries – including 112 in the United States alone – Tesla has legitimately earned its place in history, but not all of Tesla’s inventions have been produced.
With that in mind, we scanned the files and found 7 of Tesla’s most important inventions that have never been built.
1. Supersonic Airships Powered by Ground-Based, Wireless Electrical Towers.
When wireless charging for your phone or tablet was introduced many years ago, we all thought it was revolutionary. Nikola Tesla, meanwhile, would scold us all for thinking so small.
In 1919 Tesla described his idea for a supersonic airship entirely powered by wireless electrical transmission from ground towers that could fly 40,000 feet above the ground and fly at 1,000 mph, making the trip from New York to London less than 4 hours.
2. Remote Controlled Navies.
Although Tesla is best known for its work with electricity, it is not the only area in which Tesla has worked. Another major area of work for Tesla was military technology.
Like Alfred Nobel, Tesla believed that the best way to prevent war was to make it totally useless or so catastrophic for the participants that no one would be angry enough to start the war again.
With that in mind, Tesla invented a small boat that he could start, stop, and steer with radio signals. He hoped that by removing humans from the equation that “battleships [sic] will cease to be built and the most tremendous artillery afloat will be of no more use than so much scrap iron.”
3. Wireless Energy Transmission.
As a person almost entirely associated with electricity, it should not be surprising that many of Tesla’s patents relate to the production and transmission of electricity. We have to thank Tesla after all for the alternating current (AC), which has been used to wire much of the world with electrical power.
What many people do not know is that Tesla also tried to build a tower that would transmit electricity by air and even asked American financier JP Morgan to finance the construction of the Wardenclyffe tower on the north coast from Long Island, which Tesla hoped to adapt in order to transmit electricity to New York.
Morgan balked at the power plan and refused to fund the rest of the project, which Tesla had to abandon in 1906, demolishing the Wardenclyffe tower a decade later in 1917.
4. The Earthquake Machine.
In 1893 Tesla obtained a patent for its mechanical steam oscillator, the vibration of which could be used to generate electricity. As he will tell reporters later, while calibrating this machine for an experiment, it started shaking up its New York laboratory so violently that it nearly knocked the building down.
“Suddenly all the heavy machinery in the place was flying around. I grabbed a hammer and broke the machine,” he said. “The building would have been down about our ears in another few minutes.”
“Outside, in the street, there was a pandemonium. Police and ambulances arrived. I told my assistants not to say anything. We told the police that it had to be an earthquake. That’s all they knew. “
This gave Tesla inspiration for its teleodynamic oscillator – a seismic machine – which could be used by scientists to discover the geological properties of the Earth and for engineers and prospectors to locate ore and metal ore deposits underground.
He was never able to build his seismic machine, but scientists and engineers use the same principle to do exactly what Tesla imagined.
5. Artificial Tidal Waves.
During its lifetime, Tesla has designed weapons of such destructive magnitude that they could compete with the atomic bomb in their devastating power – if they had worked.
One such weapon was the artificial tidal wave, which he said would be the ultimate defense against enemy navies. Tesla’s hope was to make the largest battleship a country could produce useless, so that countries don’t bother to build navies.
To do this, Tesla imagined “telautomatons” which would pilot several tonnes of highly explosive material near an enemy navy and detonate it.
The collapsing gas bubble produced by the explosion, Tesla calculated, should produce a tidal wave that, even a mile from the initial explosion, would reach nearly 100 feet high, enough to wipe out the largest. dreadnoughts of the time.
Tidal waves do not work quite that way however, as learned from the United States and the Soviet Union when they tested submarine nuclear bombs in the 1940s and 1950s.
6. The Death Ray.
Or the Peace Ray, as Tesla called it.
Tesla believed that by accelerating the isotopes of mercury to 48 times the speed of sound, the resulting beam would produce enough energy to destroy entire armies at a distance limited only by the curvature of the Earth.
Tesla apparently tried to sell the idea to several governments in the years before his death, including in the United States, but the Soviet Union was the only one to test it, and it never produced the kind of results that Tesla was hoping for.
Which is probably a good thing, all things considered.
7. The Thought Camera.
One of Tesla’s most bizarre ideas was that it would be possible to photograph one’s thoughts.
In 1933 he told reporters at the Kansas City Journal-Post:
“In 1893, while engaged in certain investigations, I became convinced that a definite image formed in thought, must by reflex action, produce a corresponding image on the retina, which might be read by a suitable apparatus.
“Now if it be true that a thought reflects an image on the retina, it is a mere question of illuminating the same property and taking photographs, and then using the ordinary methods which are available to project the image on a screen.
“If this can be done successfully, then the objects imagined by a person would be clearly reflected on the screen as they are formed, and in this way, every thought of the individual could be read. Our minds would then, indeed, be like open books.”
Obviously, this is not how thought processes work, but there is so much that we do not know about the biological mechanism of human thought and consciousness that we cannot say with certainty that Tesla wasn’t on something.
While the mechanisms used are different, who can say what technology will be able to produce in the next 50 years?