Tesla's Magnifying Transmitter

The general consensus is that a TMT is a Tesla coil with a third, so called “extra coil”. This is what you will find explained in Wiki, but there is absolutely no basis in Tesla’s work for this assumption. The best “explanation” for this misconception is that Tesla’s patent 1,119,732 contains an image that vaguely resembles his Wardenclyffe tower, and we know that at Wardenclyffe he intended to build a TMT. The image of this patent is shown in the Wikipedia entry, and to avoid confusion I will not copy it here.
I wanted to correct Wiki on this, but in Wiki’s rules you will find that Wiki represents the general consensus even if it can be proven wrong. So that ruined my appetite.

Leland Anderson, a great researcher of Tesla’s legacy provided us with a number of different schematics of the TMT which are much more likely to be true.
TMT diagrams
These were published in the “Electric Spacecraft” of Apr/May/Jun 1997. As you can see this also shows a tower but here in the accompanying text you will find that this is closely related to the Wardenclyffe project.
Browsing through Tesla’s Colorado Springs Notes we find numerous diagrams to support Leland Anderson’s finds.
CSN diagrams

These are only a few examples.
Tesla describes the TMT in the following articles:

1904 March 5th, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires”.
1905 January 7th, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace”.
both published in the “Electrical World and Engineer”.
1916, the pre-hearing interview.
1919, his autobiography.
What you’ll read in these articles completely rules out that the general consensus would be correct.
The best description by far, you will find in his coded masterpiece of June 1900 “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy”. That is of course, once you understand the code.
You can also find mentions in these articles but without much explanation:
1907 May 3rd, “Tesla's Tidal Wave to Make War impossible”, English Mechanic and World of Science.
1907 June 23rd, “Can Bridge the Gap to Mars”, New York Times.
1927 October 16th, “World System of Wireless Transmission of Energy”, Telegraph and Telegraph Age.

In many famous pictures of Tesla you will see very large high voltage discharges. Some people say that although Tesla was fascinated by this display, it was not his ultimate goal to produce these discharges. I think there is some nuance to be added here as can be seen in the above diagrams which all include a spark gap.
Having shown the true diagrams of the TMT and mentioned some of the things that it can accomplish this concludes the introduction.

Let's get into the details.

High Voltage Generation

The road to extremely high voltages knows many traps and pitfalls. First of course, in its containment and safety, but that is not today’s topic. Today I want to talk about how to generate voltages of well over 1 million volt.
Starting with an ordinary transformer which is just two coils (a primary and a secondary) on an iron core, this iron core is the first thing that gets in our way, for two reasons:
  1. the obvious risk of creating shorts
  2. the more power you need, the more iron you need to transfer that power
Luckily, by raising the frequency of the (alternating) current (the grid provides 50 or 60 Hz depending on where you live, but this can be raised to almost 1,000,000 Hz before you run into new problems) you need less iron and from a certain frequency upward you do not need any iron at all.
The next problem is the voltage between adjacent turns. By organizing the turns into 1 layer and choosing the frequency such that it matches the natural resonance frequency of the coil, this problem is minimized and thus we arrive at the well known Tesla coil.
With such a coil voltages of up to 400,000 are easily obtained, and when you put in more power you can get even higher voltages.
Coils coils coils

Changing the frequency
In Tesla’s days there were two ways to create high frequency AC. First of course you can speed up your generator and let it have more poles. That way you can go up to a few 10,000’s alternations per second. Usually that is not enough and this is where the spark gap oscillator comes in.
The combination of a coil and a capacitor forms a resonating circuit (like a tuning fork) and the spark gap is like a hammer. The spark gap hits the resonating circuit, as it were, and this produces a high frequency tone. Instead of a very brief spark, you can also prolong the spark a little, in which case the circuit more resembles a pan flute; the spark now being like an air stream blown over a resonating circuit.
You may start out with rectified AC or DC or you can use a slow AC (like we have from our mains), you can use single phase or 3-phase AC, they all have some points of attention, but they can all be used.
Today we have power transistors through which we have very precise control over currents. This offers new ways to create the high frequency currents that are needed.
Finally we now have very powerful RF amplifiers that we can use to amplify a signal from a signal generator and in that way we have the ultimate control over the high frequency current that we use in our Tesla coil. RF mini

The transformer dilemma
The problem that you are now facing is that the energy that is put into the primary coil, gets transferred to the secondary -just as intended- but from there gets transferred back to the primary again -which you don’t want. So the energy moves back and forth between these two coils.
This creates a dilemma, you want a closely coupled coil to transfer energy into the secondary, yet you want a loosely coupled coil so the secondary can resonate freely.
Tesla’s first step towards solving this was changing the geometry of the coil from cylindrical to conical. Thus the bottom can be closely coupled to the primary while the rest of the coil is more free.
  • up to this point you can read this story in Tesla’s own words in his article of 1899 March 29th, “Some Experiments in Tesla’s Laboratory with Currents of High Potential and High Frequency” published in the Electrical Review.
Conical TC
Intermezzo on wavelengths and velocity factor
Imagine a coil with two open ends, then imagine electrical charge bouncing back and forth between both ends of the coil. Let’s say the charge first moves to the right end, gets compressed until it stops moving, and then it starts moving to the left and gets compressed on that end, etc. What you now see is that the ends of the coil function as temporary storage -which is the same function as a capacitor has- while the middle of the coil acts as an inductor -an actual coil. Near the ends of the coil there is little movement of charge, in the middle there is a lot. In the ends of the coil you will see a potential rise, while the middle remains neutral. Electric charges do not travel all the way from the left to the right end and therefore it appears as if the signal bounces between both ends at a velocity greater than the speed of light. This apparent velocity relative to the speed of light we call the velocity factor.
So, for example, in a coil with a velocity factor of 2 it looks as if a signal travels between both ends at twice the speed of light, but the average charge moves only half the length of the coil. In actual reality it isn’t the coil’s charge but the charge density that moves half the coil’s length, but I want to keep this as simple and intuitive as possible.
This charge movement resembles theoretical gas movement in a flute with both ends closed. In this movement we have a node at both ends and an anti-node in the middle. Thus the distance between both ends equals half the wavelength belonging to the frequency.
Back to our coil we have two current nodes at the end of the coil and an anti-node in the middle. While looking at the voltage, we see one node in the middle and two anti-nodes at both ends.
This situation we call half wavelength resonance.
If we now connect one end of the coil to the ground, as is common in Tesla coils, charges do no longer get compressed on this end. Instead they flow freely into the ground, leaving the voltage at zero at all times. The nature of resonance now changes as we now have one current node at the top of the coil and one current anti-node at the bottom, making the distance between both ends one quarter wavelength. Looking at voltages, we see one voltage node at the bottom of the coil and one voltage anti-node at the top. We can compare this with a flute that has one end open and one end closed.
A Tesla coil is usually operated in quarter wavelength resonance, as in this way one end has a constant low voltage which makes it easy to put a primary coil on that end, while at the other end we get our high voltage.
Other modes of resonance are possible (three quarter, five quarter etc.) but for the sake of simplicity I’ll just leave it here.

Final solution to the transformer dilemma
The final solution is to split the secondary coil into two coils, one tightly coupled secondary and a magnetically free, so called “extra coil”.
In the secondary you want to have a one quarter wavelength resonance and in the extra coil a half wavelength resonance, so that in the combined coil you’ll have three quarter wavelengths.
This solution gives us another benefit as well. Having two coils, a primary and a secondary, the output voltage depends on the ratio of their inductances. You would therefore want to make a primary with as few turns as possible, i.e. 1 turn. Having so little inductance in the primary requires to use relatively large primary capacitors which are often the most expensive part of a Tesla coil.
Having three coils, the resonant action in the extra coil determines the output voltage, which gives you the freedom to have more primary inductance and a cheaper capacitor.

Enter the velocity factor
This part is not described by Tesla but is what I learned from my experiments.
If a wave travels from a medium where it travels fast into a medium where it travels slower part of the wave energy gets reflected as you intuitively would expect. What is less intuitive is that the other way round you also get a partial reflection. Only when the velocities are equal there is no reflection. In the design of my coils I have chosen a velocity factor of 1 for both coils, thus we get a (near) perfect energy transfer between the secondary and the extra coil.
Intuitively I would say that if the extra coil has a higher velocity factor the energy transfer from secondary to the extra coil would be easy, while in the other direction it would be much harder. Thus we could ‘trap’ the energy in the extra coil and would expect better results.
Unfortunately that did not work out as expected but it remains a topic for further investigation.
two extra's
If you are interested in reading more on this part of my research, you can download this report (about 3MB). 
Power Generation

The question that so many people never ask but should ask is why did Tesla put in years of effort to generate these high voltages? What did he intend to do with it?
CSN 158

This question is answered in Tesla’s autobiography:
If we could produce electric effects of the required quality, this whole planet and the conditions of existence on it could be transformed. The sun raises the water of the oceans and winds drive it to distant regions where it remains in a state of most delicate balance. If it were in our power to upset it when and wherever desired, this mighty life-sustaining stream could be at will controlled. We could irrigate arid deserts, create lakes and rivers and provide motive power in unlimited amounts. This would be the most efficient way of harnessing the sun to the uses of man. The consummation depended on our ability to develop electric forces of the order of those in nature. It seemed a hopeless undertaking, but I made up my mind to try it and immediately on my return to the United States, in the Summer of 1892, work was begun which was to me all the more attractive, because a means of the same kind was necessary for the successful transmission of energy without wires.
Note that he mentions two things:
  • control rainfall
  • transmission of energy without wires
The latter is well documented and we’ll get into that in part 4 of this series. The first is mentioned on other occasions as well and this story is told on 4 different occasions in slightly different ways, as I have shown in Tesla’s Free Energy and the mechanism is described in a patent application but this patent was never granted.
In the above quote Tesla writes “harnessing the sun to the uses of man” which is a clear reference to his article “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy - With Special Reference to the Harnessing of the Sun's Energy” (June 1900).
In this article Tesla explains how he has experimented for many years (starting in 1889) to generate discharges that would “burn atmospheric nitrogen” so to produce useful chemicals that can be used to fertilize the Earth so that plants can grow everywhere.

A code, a message from the past
So what is it, does he want to control rainfall or burn nitrogen?
The answer is neither, this is a code.
It says he wanted to collect atmospheric electricity (burn nitrogen) to store this in (fertilize) the Earth -in the form of a standing wave- so it can be tapped anywhere around the world without the need for wires, and plants/industries can grow.
Note that if he literally wanted to burn nitrogen that would go against the rest of the story in which he clearly states that we should not burn fuels.
The precipitation of water is a analogy for the precipitation of atmospheric electricity and in one of the 4 occasions where he tells this story he accidentally (?) says precipitation of energy.
This code becomes more obvious once you put the stories and time lines that Tesla mentions in various writings next to each other and add to that the experiments that you know he was working on.

Not one but two purposes
Anyway we know now that Tesla’s Magnum Opus, his Magnifying Transmitter, had at least two purposes; the generation of power and the worldwide distribution thereof, and not only the latter as is commonly assumed. Tesla’s patent 1,119,732 only deals with distribution of power and so we know that this can not be a TMT, which we already knew because it does not match the descriptions Tesla gave.
The source of this energy and how it is tapped I already described in Tesla’s Free Energy.
The diagrams of the TMT are the ones Leland Anderson provided (published in the “Electric Spacecraft” of Apr/May/Jun 1997) and they show that the generated high voltage is used to create a spark to the dome at the top of the tower which acts as a capacitor. This capacitor is then discharged through an inductor to the ground. So we have a spark gap, a capacitor and an inductor, exactly as in our spark gap oscillator in the primary circuit of a Tesla coil.
In other words we have a giant high voltage spark gap oscillator that will put an electrical wave into the ground. Due to the enormously high voltage in this spark gap, it attracts atmospheric electricity which is collected in the dome of the tower and send into the ground (to fertilize the Earth).

And this is where things really get interesting, because this wave will travel through the Earth and bounce back at the opposite side and come back to the tower where it is reflected again etc.
Every time the wave comes back to the tower, the tower adds extra energy to it. Thus the wave grows in intensity until the losses (from resistance) equal the amount of added energy.
Now if we connect a coil to the ground that has the same resonance frequency as this wave we will get a current in this coil. But we have a coil that is connected to the ground; the secondary of the TMT. So if we design this coil to have this same frequency it can run off the energy that it first collected and put into the ground. In other words it powers itself with the energy that it collects.

Some day…
Read Tesla’s process of obtaining iron from its ore as outlined in his article “the Problem of Increasing Human Energy”. I have drawn a diagram of it:
Now decode it and obtain this:

“Some day”, Tesla writes, “I hope, a beautiful industrial butterfly will come out of the dusty and shrivelled chrysalis.” Clearly indicating that he refers to the distant future, which is… NOW.

Power Distribution

What would be the ultimate solution to distribute the generated power all over the world, even to the most remote places?
You can read all of this in Tesla’s own words in these articles:
  • 1919 Feb, Famous Scientific Illusions - part III: The Singular Misconception of the Wireless.
  • 1919 May, The True Wireless
    Both published in the Electrical Experimenter.
    (there are more articles, but these are the most detailed)
Single Wire
To understand true wireless we must first understand single wire power distribution. We are so used to using two wires that we never even realize that the same can be accomplished using only one wire. Tesla uses a gas analogy to explain this, which in a way is funny because he believes that electricity actually is caused by a gaseous medium.
To make gas flow through a device it will have to go in on one end and out on another, that is why we use two wires. But we could connect a rubber balloon on the exit of our device leaving only one opening through which we can supply our gas flow. Then, instead of using a continuous flow we use an intermittent flow. First we fill our balloon, then we let our balloon empty again through our device, using the same air twice.


This can be done with a gas, and also with electricity. Using high frequency, high voltage we can light a bulb with only one wire going to the power supply. (the other wire goes to a small capacitance, our balloon)


In this picture you see this demonstrated. In the middle of the picture you see the lightbulb with two wires on the right. One is hanging down with an aluminium ball/cylinder attached to it, the other goes straight to the right to the top load of a small Tesla coil. So only one wire supplies power, the other goes to a temporary reservoir.

No wires
Now that we know this is possible it is not a big step to replace that one wire with the Earth.
You may think that the Earth is a bad conductor for electricity, but that is not true. Due to its immense size its conductance is excellent. 99% of the resistance is in the connection to the Earth, but once inside the Earth there is almost no resistance to speak of.
If we use the best ground connection we can make and a very high voltage we’ll have no trouble sending impulses through the entire Earth.
These impulses can be amplified by using a properly tuned coil, much like a radio uses to receive signals through the air.
So everywhere around the world you can connect your receiver coil to the ground and receive electricity.

how about mobile devices?
The ground connection of the receiver is the only thing standing in our way to use this system for mobile devices. But since most mobile devices use very little energy, that energy can easily be collected by a properly tuned coil without ground connection. The high frequency currents in the ground will induce magnetic effects that you can pick up with such a coil.

Is that safe?
Although both Tesla and I have not suffered from any adverse effects of high frequency high voltage encounters and Tesla has passed several million volts through his body (I have been a bit reluctant to repeat those experiments), RF-burns have caused lasting injuries to some people in the past. Also, this scheme is a pretty big change in our living environment and even if we are not affected, there may be animals or plants that are. This should certainly be investigated before it is installed on a large scale.

Where do we put the meter?
The (unconfirmed!) story goes that JP Morgan who financed the Wardenclyffe project learned about Tesla’s plan to distribute power worldwide and asked Tesla this question before cancelling his support. "If anyone, anywhere can use our power, where do we put the meter?"
This story is probably not true as Tesla would have had an answer. Tesla had already worked out a plan that would enable him to send power only to specific receivers, thus he would have complete control over who gets how much.
In “the Problem of Increasing Human Energy” we read:
Such an automaton evidently had to have motive power (1), organs for locomotion (2), directive organs (3), and one or more sensitive organs (4) so adapted as to be excited by external stimuli.
and, above all, the mind (5) which would be wanting to make the model complete.
(the numbers between brackets are added in this quote)

Tesla could derive energy from the ambient medium (“motive power”). He could also selectively send (“organs for locomotion”) it to specific (“directive organ”) receivers (“one or more sensitive organs”) all over the world. But he needed a controlling mechanism (“mind”) so to make it possible to send specific amounts of energy to specific receiving-stations who had paid for it.
He repeats this in 1907-05-03: “Tesla's Tidal Wave to Make War impossible”
The telautomatic art is the result of endeavours to produce an automaton capable of moving and acting as if possessed of intelligence and distinct individuality. Disconnected from its higher embodiment, an organism, such as a human being, is a heat - or thermodynamic engine - comprising:- (1) a complete plant for receiving, transforming, and supplying energy; (2) apparatus for locomotion and other mechanical performance; (3) directive organs; and (4) sensitive instruments responsive to external influences, all these parts constituting a whole of marvellous perfection.
That much is done, but more is to come. A mechanism is being perfected which without operator in control, left to itself, will behave as if endowed with intelligence of its own. It will be responsive to the faintest external influences and from these, unaided, determine its subsequent actions as if possessed of selective qualities, logic, and reason. It will perform the duties of an intelligent slave. Many of us will live to see Bulwer's dream (“the House and the Brain”?) realised.
(the numbers and text between brackets are added in this quote)

So there you have it. What he needed was only a computer to control this system, and that wasn’t available in his time….
But it is today….

Communication and Navigation

Internet and GPS would have been available in 1902, had Tesla completed his Wardenclyffe project.
Well, not internet as we know it because there were no computers back then. But it would have given us a worldwide communication network without wires.

The Art of Individualization
That is what Tesla called his method of using different combinations of frequencies to trigger specific receivers. He mentions it in many articles,
  • June, 1900, “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy”
  • March 5th, 1904, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires”
  • Jan. 7th, 1905, “The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for
    Furthering Peace”
  • March 3rd, 1907, “Tesla's Tidal Wave to Make War impossible”
Just to mention a few, which again shows that the “Where do I put the meter”-story is unlikely to be true.
In 1898 Tesla demonstrated this principle by showing the worlds first remote controlled device, a boat in Madison Square Garden. Afterwards Tesla was asked to open the boat to show that there wasn’t anyone, or some trained animal inside. This boat is fully described in his patent 613,809.

Many lines
In his 25th Oct, 1907 article “Tesla on Wireless”, Tesla elaborates:
Just to illustrate what can be done, suppose that only four vibrations were isolated on each transmitter. let those on one side be respectively a, b, c, and d. Then the following individualized lines would be ab, ac, ad, bc, bd, cd, abc, abd, acd, bcd and abcd. The same article on the other side will give similar combinations, and both together twenty-two lines, which can be simultaneously operated.
He calls the different combinations “lines”, because they can be used in a similar manner. You can use them to control a light or a rudder, but you can also send voices over such a “line”.
Although Tesla had worked out this mechanism in sufficient detail and even proven it to work, it appears as if this was not yet fully incorporated in his TMT. I say this because in his Long Island Notes you can find numerous different designs to make the TMT have more than one frequency.
For example on June 13th, 1901 he is considering, among others, these 4 designs:
Also in the four diagrams that we got through Leland Anderson, the second diagram uses two different secondary transformers possibly to create different frequencies, and the third diagram is much like diagram d here above.
It appears as if he had not yet decided how to build this into the TMT even though he had sold this project to JP Morgan as a communication tower.

Global Positioning System

Because the wave that the TMT produces in the Earth travels over the surface in a very peculiar way it becomes possible to determine in what direction the TMT is to be found and how far. More precisely suppose the TMT was at the North Pole, then by measuring the impulses you can determine your latitude (say 52 degrees) but you do not know whether you are on the northern or southern hemisphere. So with just one TMT you can draw 2 circles on the globe knowing that you must be somewhere on one of those circles. With two TMT’s at different locations two more circles can be drawn and you know that you are on one of the four intersections. With three TMT’s your location can (in most cases) be determined.
This is a system that Tesla explains in some articles but there is no record of him having done any experiment to this extent. One obvious reason is that there have never been 3 operational TMT’s.

This concludes my post on Tesla’s Magnifying Transmitter. I hope you have enjoyed reading it. If you would like a file with my collected Tesla articles or patents feel free to download them here.
If you have any questions or suggestion for additional Tesla related subjects to write on, please comment below.

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