By 1903 Tesla's Wardenclyffe tower transmitter station was very near to being completed, except for the discovery of an unforeseen design flaw. In correcting this and in seeing through the rest of the project, yet further additional funds were required from his backers. This however proved to be a serious problem, as it became clear to them that the facility itself, by broadcasting energy freely to the masses, would allow them no way to charge people for its use, and thus see a return on their investment. In addition to this, were the project ultimately to be successful, it would represent a major threat to the profits they already had coming in from their existing commitments to established heavy industry. As a result of this, they backed out and withdrew all further funding to the Wardenclyffe Tower project, and even persuaded other potential investors to stay away from Tesla.
With the loss of funding in the years that followed, the staff
employed at the site had to be laid off, and only parts of the building
were in use up until 1907. In the next few years ahead the property was
foreclosed on, and then suffered abandonment. Inevitably this led to the
physical deterioration of the whole facility through lack of
maintenance, and in 1917, the entire site was destroyed by controlled
demolition. During this period the finances of Tesla himself suffered an
almost identical fate to that of his tower, and he became thoroughly
Although in the later years of his life the great inventor did manage to continue on with his pioneering work, developing all manner of new experiments that delved still further into the mysteries of wireless transmission of power, never again would he command the kind of funds as nearly led him to the brink of being able to broadcast power on a grand scale, through use of a facility of the magnitude of Wardenclyffe Tower. In the end, those who abandoned him with their finance at the critical moment chose ultimately to rule in hell rather than serve in heaven.
During most of his lifetime (1856 - 1943) Nikola Tesla resided within
the United States. Having being born originally in the Austro-Hungarian
Empire (modern-day Croatia) he came over to live and work in the US in
1884. During his own life, he personally witnessed the transformation of
the country, at all levels. And in this regard there are certain points
well worthy of note.
During the 1880’s in the US, the military forces of the country
were equipped to a level no greater than that of the common man. One may
cite the fact that the Cavalry was composed of nothing more than men on
horses carrying firearms. Even the common man had access to these. The
power of government (that could be wielded) was thus on par with that of
the people as a whole. At the point of Tesla’s death in 1943 however,
the world as had existed in the 1880’s was long dead. The military had
become so specialised, so expensive and organised, that the common man
was nowhere near its equal. A massive air force composed of fighter
planes and bombers, mechanised infantry and tanks.
In the realm of science also there was an immense difference
between the late 19th century and the earlier 20th century. In the case
of the former, one could point perhaps to no more than a couple of dozen
specialists in the electrical sciences world-wide, amongst which Tesla
himself ranked. By the time of his death during the midpoint of the
Second World War there were thousands; a significant number of which
were put to work on very well funded secret military projects to aid the
overall war effort.
The time of the lone genius who might acquire significant funding to develop technologies for the general advancement of all, almost guided by a personal vision, was all but gone. Now, almost all the major funding would come from governments through nationally established academies and so forth. As too would an enormous amount of new regulations. Indeed, in the world of 1899-1901 it was just possible for someone like Nikola Tesla to set up a research station in Colorado or build the Wardenclyffe Tower at Long Island to engage in experiments to broadcast power wirelessly. Today however, the odds of securing permission for something similar would be practically insurmountable.
Proceed to Part 4: