The history of the Wardenclyffe Tower starts around the year 1989 when the Serbian-American scientist, Nikola Tesla, was funded by James S. Warden to develop an extraordinary project: the first wireless transmission tower in the world. What Tesla had in mind to construct was supposed to dramatically change the way data broadcasting was understood and to improve all communication channels.
Known for his revolutionary innovations in the field of alternative energy and not only, Nikola Tesla is also remembered in history as being one of the most important contributors to the future of radio communication. The unfinished project of the Long Island Tower is the first sketch of a functioning wireless data transmission center and the proof that energy can travel in space without a wired system.
The Wardenclyffe Tower and Its Short History
The main purpose of the construction was to improve trans-Atlantic telephonic and broadcasting channels. For this reason, the Tesla Tower was located on Long Island, only 6 miles away from Manhattan. In 1901, businessman James S. Warden conceded to the famous scientist 200 acres of land for the future construction of the first ‘Radio City’ or the first wireless communication center.
Designed by architect Stanford White and W.D Crow, the project had many supporters among capitalists and industrials, who were looking to establish a secure wireless system with commercial purposes, a system which would have enhanced telecommunications at sea and not only.
What Tesla intended through the construction of this tower was, not only to improve wireless communication in different fields but also to experiment the possibility of electrical energy transmission without the use of any power lines.
In theory, he demonstrated that an electric field connected by a couple of plates allows the flux of energy from one end to the other. In other words, his trials proved that the energy projected in space can be perceived by another instrument without being connected through wires.
Ambitious for its time, the project received financial support only for a brief period, to be more exact, from 1901 to 1907. Tesla struggled to refinance the project throughout the years to come, but without any success. After losing most of his equipment and many of his documents, Tesla experienced a serious depression and gave up on the project altogether.
Tesla’s Plans for the First Wireless Transmission Tower in the World
Tesla’s initial project had been designed using principles different from the ones employed by modern science in building radio broadcasting stations. The method used by the famous inventor was quite different from today’s methods and, unfortunately, his theory lacked some important components. It was the following generation of scientists that took his files and transformed them into functional prototypes.
While, nowadays, normal transmitters are built in order to maximize the power the antenna radiates, Tesla configured the transmitters in the opposite direction: to minimize this power. In order to channel energy, an iron pipe radial structure was built at the base of the tower.
His studies revealed that, by overlapping a low frequency signal with a higher frequency one, the plasma induced by the free charge through the radial structure makes wireless transmission possible.
The schematics created by Nikola Tesla clearly illustrate how data transmission is possible using the electric charge generated by the Earth. An alternative series of charges and discharges of the oscillator’s terminal capacitance leads to an altering of the Earth’s electric charge.
In simple words, the two transmitters placed in the ground allowed the establishment of a broadcasting channel. Both types of wireless transmitters that Tesla designed employed an induction coil used in combination with one sheet of metal or with two.
Nikola Tesla imagined a system that allows energy transmission in small quantities from one point to another, with a specific end. His plans had very ambitious goals: the construction was intended to develop a wide wireless data transmission network and to improve, not only telephonic channels, but also simple data transmission.
According to Tesla, the world could be connected through a number of terrestrial transmission lines, allowing, not only telegraph and telephone interconnections, but also the exchange of music, news, pictures and so on.
Basically, by using an energy source and a network of terrestrial wires, it was possible to connect parts of the world through a secure, safe wireless communication system, without the obligation to integrate a wired sub-system.
On the other hand, Tesla’s wireless tower aimed to be used on an industrial scale as well, by establishing a location system, system which included time synchronization. It is possible to say that Nikola foresaw the today’s famous GPS and other commercial applications.
Future Development of Tesla’s Wireless Transmission Tower
Following Tesla’s original schematics of the first wireless transmission tower, modern science developed the actual wireless system. Most modern discoveries start from Tesla’s experiments and studies, with the improvements and the changes brought by newer research.
Perhaps Tesla’s most important legacy is actually a series of practical applications, machines and systems, which were designed to make the world more comfortable, simpler and, why not, more efficient. Throughout the decades, his inventions were subject to many transformations and used in different domains: from entertaining to military, and with different purposes.
The modern society makes use of many of Tesla’s amazing inventions. In the production of renewable energy, Tesla’s fuelless generator was one of the most important discoveries. It led to a series of practical applications that allow the world to be a little bit more environmentally friendly and to understand that the Earth can be exploited and yet still protected in the process.
As for the famous ‘Radio City’, even though the project was not finished, it represented an important step forward in developing new theories of wireless transmission. Once again, Nikola Tesla underlined how helpful Earth can be in our daily activities, without us even knowing it.
So, considering all these facts, we could simply say that the Wardenclyffe Tower designed by Tesla was the pioneer-project of wireless data communication, a project which the world continues to develop and improve as we speak.