……………………..Limits are for governments.

Nikola Tesla on Aether

The inventor responded thus to an article by Laurence M. Cockaday:

“I have read the article, and I quite agree with the opinion expressed – that wireless power transmission is impractical with present apparatus. This conclusion will be naturally reached by any one who recognizes the nature of the agent by which the impulses are transmitted in present wireless practice.

“When Dr. Heinrich Hertz undertook his experiments from 1887 to 1889 his object was to demonstrate a theory postulating a medium filling all space, called the ether which was structureless, of inconceivable tenuity and yet solid and possessed of rigidity incomparably greater than that of the hardest steel. He obtained certain results and the whole world acclaimed them as an experimental verification of that cherished theory. But in reality what he observed tended to prove just its fallacy.

“I had maintained for many years before that such a medium as supposed could not exist, and that we must rather accept the view that all space is filled with a gaseous substance. On repeating the Hertz experiments, with much improved and very powerful apparatus, I satisfied myself that what he had observed was nothing else but effects of longitudinal waves in a gaseous medium, that is to say, waves, propagated by alternate compression and expansion. He had observed waves in the ether much of the nature of sound waves in the air.

“Up to 1896, however, I did not succeed in obtaining a positive experimental proof of the existence of such a medium. But in that year I brought out a new form of vacuum tube capable of being charged to any desired potential, and operated it with effective pressures of about 4,000,000 volts. I produced cathodic and other rays of transcending intensity. The effects, according to my view, were due to minute particles of matter carrying enormous electrical charges, which, for want of a better name, I designated as matter not further decomposable. Subsequently those particles were called electrons.

“One of the first striking observations made with my tubes was that a purplish glow for several feet around the end of the tube was formed, and I readily ascertained that it was due to the escape of the charges of the particles as soon as they passed out into the air; for it was only in a nearly perfect vacuum that these charges could be confined to them. The coronal discharge proved that there must be a medium besides air in the space, composed of particles immeasurably smaller than those of air, as otherwise such a discharge would not be possible. On further investigation I found that this gas was so light that a volume equal to that of the earth would weigh only about one-twentieth of a pound.

“The velocity of any sound wave depends on a certain ratio between elasticity and density, and for this ether or universal gas the ratio is 800,000,000,000 times greater than for air. This means that the velocity of the sound waves propagated through the ether is about 300,000 times greater than that of the sound waves in air, which travel at approximately 1,085 feet a second. Consequently the speed in ether is 900,000 × 1,085 feet, or 186,000 miles, and that is the speed of light.”

~Nikola Tesla

H/T PG Truspace


4 responses

  1. Good find Zeke! ;-) It is about time Tesla regain his place as one the greatest pioneers in the field of applied science. Many of the things we take for granted were first created by him. Mechanical devices, steam devices, electronics, Radio and most lighting as well as much of our present electrical system, all first demonstrated by Nikola Tesla. Too bad he failed at his most important project which was to create an electric flying machine, In fact he said all of his other creations were needed to make the flying machine work! I guess we will have to complete that project for him. pg

    March 21, 2012 at 5:56 am

  2. Yes only the best. :D In fact I visit your blog every day. I always look forward to your comments and insights into Nikola Tesla’s work, like this gem here:


    Cheers PG.

    April 10, 2012 at 7:28 pm

  3. Aaron

    Which article was Tesla responding to?

    March 12, 2014 at 11:22 am

  4. Aaron,

    I am archiving part of the original article with the aether discussion. From this, you can infer that the writer of the article Tesla was referring to was Laurence M. Cockaday, and he was the technical editor of the radio section for the NY Herald Tribune. Cockaday was expressing doubt that power could be transmitted using radio waves, and Tesla was agreeing. I hope that helps. Zeke

    New York Herald Tribune, September 22, 1929

    Does Not Believe in Hertz Waves and Heaviside Layer, Interview Discloses

    The model of a “Tesla Coil” which will be featured in the historic exhibit of the radio show reawakens interest in its inventor.

    It is not generally appreciated that this curious apparatus, often associated with pretty or spectacular demonstrations of high voltage electricity, is really a fundamental part of modern radio. For all the tuning apparatus and circuits in every transmitting and receiving set are simply variations of Tesla coils and Tesla coil circuits.

    It was for this invention, and other inventions and principles concerned with tuning, heterodyning, and the generation of continuous waves, which were made at least several years before the very first experiments of Marconi, that many of our most reputable engineers have conceded to Nikola Tesla the title of “Father of Radio”.

    Mr. Tesla, still actively working, was interviewed last week to get his ideas regarding the prospects of the radio of 1930, and beyond. As a prophet, however, he balked. He had repeated time and again his visions for the future. As far back as 1900, he had contemplated a world-wireless system which included broadcasting, picture transmission, international time service, and in addition television and the distribution of electrical power. Part of this early prophecy has been realized – what remained, still stood as his prediction..

    Disputes Hertz Waves

    What, then, about power transmission by radio? Laurence M. Cockaday, the technical editor of this radio section, had expressed the opinion several weeks ago that, with present apparatus at least, it was hardly feasible. Mr. Tesla agreed to discuss the point at length. As a result, he made public for the first time one of the most extraordinary conclusions – that Hertz waves do not exist! If his theory is true, there may be found in it more adequate explanations of “dead spots”, fading, reflection and a dozen other problems that have always puzzled the profession.

    The inventor began by referring to Cockaday’s article:

    “I have read the article, and I quite agree with the opinion expressed – that wireless power transmission is impractical with present apparatus. This conclusion will be naturally reached by any one who recognizes the nature of the agent by which the impulses are transmitted in present wireless practice…””

    March 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

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