Nikola Tesla and the Development of Hydroelectric Power at Niagara Falls

Nature has provided an abundant supply of energy in various forms which might be utilized if proper means and ways can be devised.” – Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its TimeOne of Nikola Tesla’s first professional forays into the power of nature was the development of hydroelectric power at Niagara Falls. The idea of exploiting flowing water to convert potential energy to kinetic energy to mechanical energy has been around for centuries, but during the 1800s it was combined with the new developments in electricity as a means to generate electrical power.

The very first use of hydropower to generate electricity occurred in England in 1870. William George Armstrong created a series of artificial lakes at his estate, Cragside, which allowed him to power small incandescent lamps. By 1880, development of a brush arc light dynamo driven by a water turbine provided for the first use of hydroelectric power in the United States, lighting theater and storefronts in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The world’s first actual hydroelectric plant was small in scale and began operation on September 30, 1882 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Powered by the flow of the Fox River, the plant produced only enough electricity to light the home of Appleton paper manufacturer H.J. Rogers, along with the plant itself and a small nearby building. Not dramatic, but it was a beginning.

To this point, rudimentary hydroelectric power relied solely on direct current systems. But as discussed in Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, direct current has significant limitations. In contrast, Tesla’s alternating current system was what allowed Niagara Falls to become the biggest and most fundamentally different producer of electricity at that time. Success there changed the future of electricity forever.

Niagara Falls

Tesla statue overlooking Niagara FallsNiagara Falls has been attracting attention since it was first discovered, and for good reason. The Niagara River drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, resulting in some of the most beautiful falls in the world. Niagara Falls actually encompasses three separate waterfalls: American and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side of the border; Horseshoe Falls generally considered to be on the Canadian side (though the actual demarcation is in dispute due to erosion over the years).

Taken together, and with a maximum vertical drop of more than 165 feet, the three falls provide the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. Horseshoe Falls alone is considered to be the most powerful waterfall in North America as measured by vertical height and rate of flow.

It is not surprising that people were interested in using the Falls to make their lives easier. As far back as 1759 a man by the name of Daniel Joncairs had dug a ditch above the Falls on the American side and used the flowing water to turn a waterwheel that powered a small sawmill. Almost 50 years later, in 1805, two brothers bought the rights to American Falls and used the old ditch to feed water to a gristmill and tannery. They then tried to build a larger canal leading to a reservoir on the cliffs, which would be allowed to flow to the gorge through “turbines connected by belts to industrial machinery.” None of those ideas worked out, and several companies went bankrupt trying to finish the project.

In 1853 the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company was chartered and by 1860 the company had begun construction of a 35-foot wide, 8-foot deep hydraulic canal to transport water from above the Falls to mill sites below the Falls. Delayed by the American Civil War, it would be take another 15 years before the canals were finished and the powerhouse was operational. Initially the plant ran only a single flour mill, but eventually a small generating station was producing enough electricity to light the first direct current lights in the village of Niagara Falls. Then the company went bankrupt.

In 1877, a successful tannery business owner, Jacob Schoellkopf, bought the canal and power rights at Niagara. While previous entrepreneurs had tried to harness the power of the falling water for mechanical energy (e.g., driving mill wheels), Schoellkopf realized the future was in generation of electrical energy. Modifying the existing systems, by 1881 Schoellkopf was providing power to Charles Brush to power “16 electric carbon arc lights” used to illuminate the Falls.

All of this was restricted by the limitations of direct current, which could not transmit more than a mile or two. Growing cities such as Buffalo, only 20 miles away, were unable to get electricity from the power of Niagara. While Schoellkopf’s efforts were a great step forward, something else needed to be done.

Enter Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse

Nikola TeslaThe Schoellkopf Company was eventually absorbed by the Niagara Falls Power Company run by New York financier, and former Edison Electric Company Board member, Edward Dean Adams. By 1889 a subsidiary called the Cataract Construction Corporation was incorporated and financed by heavyweights of the industrial world, including J. Pierpont Morgan, John Jacob Astor, William Vanderbilt, and the company’s president, Edward Dean Adams himself.

While Cataract began building the needed tunnels, Adams was researching the advantages and disadvantages of the well-known direct current vs the still untested alternating current. The company wanted to send electricity great distances, a major deficiency of direct current. Even the great Thomas Edison could not convince Cataract direct current would do the job, so in 1893 Adams opted for an alternating current system. The contract was awarded to the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company.

The key to Westinghouse’s win was none other than Nikola Tesla. In My Inventions, Tesla recalls that he first heard of Niagara Falls when still a boy in his backwoods school. Some mechanical models used by his instructors interested him in the idea of water turbines. After hearing a description of the great Niagara Falls, Tesla “pictured in my imagination a big wheel run by the Falls.” He proclaimed to his uncle that one day he would “go to America and carry out this scheme.”

Suddenly he had that chance. Tesla and Westinghouse had teamed up to win the contract to light up the Chicago World’s Fair – also known as the World Columbian Exposition – which opened May 1, 1893. The success of lighting up “the white city” was so impressive that Cataract quickly awarded the Niagara contract to Westinghouse. Tesla’s patented polyphase alternating current system would power the generators and bring electric lights and power to Buffalo. As somewhat of a consolation prize, Thomas Edison’s General Electric Company was hired to construct the long-distance transmission lines. Edison likely found this demeaning, not to mention ironic, given that his preferred direct current system could not be transmitted long distances and was the reason he lost the coveted Niagara contract in the first place. Edison would largely abandon direct current power plants after Niagara, following along on Tesla’s alternating current success.

Let there be energy

The concept behind gaining energy from the Falls is relatively simple. Potential energy is stored at the top of the Falls and as it drops the energy becomes kinetic. To tap it, some of the water that would go over the Falls is displaced through a long tunnel to turn a series of turbines, which converts the energy into mechanical energy, and that generates electricity.

Completed in 1895, Tesla’s polyphase generator could produce 15,000 horsepower, an unprecedented amount of power at that time. The Westinghouse Company would add seven more generating units to raise that level to 50,000 horsepower. On November 15, 1896, Westinghouse Electric, powered by nine key patents comprising Tesla’s polyphase system, began providing alternating current electricity to the city of Buffalo, twenty miles from the Falls. This achievement…

“…was the first alternating current electrical generating plant built on a large scale in the world. Its success encouraged the international creation of hydroelectric stations, now the most widely used form of renewable energy.”

Courtesy of NMAH Smithsonian InstitutionTesla’s success changed the world, and soon many other power stations would be built at Niagara and elsewhere in the United States. Within ten years hydroelectric plants would provide 15 percent of all the electricity in the U.S.; by 1920 that had reached 25 percent.

Tesla himself only made his first visit to the plant on July 19, 1896. It was his transformers that solved one of the most difficult problems in electrical science, but he was too busy to visit the site. In fact, on March 13, 1895, just as the generators using his technology were about to become operational at Niagara, his New York City laboratory burned to the ground. Rebuilding his equipment, and extracting the theoretical knowledge stored in his head, would keep him occupied for many months. When Tesla did finally find time, he noted that he was “delighted” with his visit to Niagara Falls. After touring “from top to bottom of the power plant,” he added, “You may say it is the greatest and the best, the most thoroughly equipped in the world.” And Tesla was right.

Tesla noted that in addition to Niagara there were many waterfalls that could be tapped for their natural energy. While most people react with awe upon seeing Niagara and the other great waterfalls, Tesla dispassionately focused on the mechanics of how their awesome power could be exploited for the generation of electricity.

“Great waterfalls exist in many inaccessible regions of the globe and new ones are being discovered, all of which will be eventually harnessed when the wireless transmission of energy is commercialized.”

Much credit has to be given to George Westinghouse and his willingness to take the chance on new technologies. Tesla himself was positively effusive about Westinghouse. Thomas Edison, on the other hand, tried to discredit alternating current; he even suggested the wires might be better put to use drying laundry. Another renowned electrician of the time, Charles Proteus Steinmetz, “had a very poor opinion” of Tesla’s induction motor. To Tesla, George Westinghouse was “a genius of the first degree…a man truly great, of phenomenal powers,” and perhaps even more importantly, “undertook to wage a war [based on Tesla’s alternating current technology] against overwhelming odds.” Together, Tesla and Westinghouse’s alternating current won “the war of the currents” over Edison’s direct current. The world still benefits today from that victory each and every time we use the electricity transported long distances to our homes and businesses.

To honor his role in bringing hydroelectric power to Niagara Falls, the main power station would be named after Edward Dean Adams in 1927. Adams would make the cover of Time magazine on May 27, 1929. Nikola Tesla would do the same just over two years later, on July 20, 1931, in celebration of his 75th birthday and a lifetime of achievement. Tesla’s inventions had not only revolutionized electrical generation, they did what he always wanted to do – “harness the forces of nature for the service of mankind.”

[The above is adapted from my e-book, Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time, available on Amazon.com.]

Read other posts on Nikola Tesla here on Science Traveler.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is scheduled for release in summer 2017.

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The Book Stack Photo

Recently I took a photo of a stack of my published books. The idea came from seeing a similar stack from my friend Chris DeRose, a multiple Abraham Lincoln author and currently running for City Council in Phoenix, Arizona. Now that I have multiple books myself (and another on the way), it seemed a good time to create this:

cropped-Book-stack-1.jpg

The books are shown in order of publication, with the newest on the top. Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) are both published by Fall River Press, an imprint of Sterling Publishing in New York. You can find them in Barnes and Noble stores and online now. Edison just came out and Tesla is now into its 7th printing, not to mention several foreign language editions.

In between there are two e-books published by Amazon for Kindle. Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate (2015) came about because as I researched both of these great mean I noticed some amazing connections between them in science, art, the environment, and more. Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time (2014) takes a deeper look into a topic I only touched on in Tesla, his desire to harness the forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.

The idea of writing books actually started with a photo book I published in 2010. Adventures in Europe documents some of my travels while I was living in Brussels, Belgium for three years. Of course, there has been much more travel since 2010, some of which I’ve talked about on this page. I’ll have many more Science Traveler stories so keep checking back for new ones.

The book stack photo joins my revolving cast of photos that serve as headers on this page. You can read more about the photos here.

Finally, the stack will get bigger next summer as my newest book for Fall River Press, Abraham Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is due to be released in 2017.

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Nikola Tesla – Power from the Rain

Rain“…if this part of the natural process were under the control of man he could transform the entire globe.” – Nikola Tesla

 

To Tesla, harnessing the power of falling water was not limited to locations such as Niagara or areas where dams could be built. One of his wilder ideas was to foresee getting electrical power from the rain. He thought the theoretical energy of falling water from rain was essentially unlimited, despite some inherent inefficiency.

Assuming for the rain clouds an average height of 15,000 feet and an annual precipitation of 33 inches, the power over the whole area of the United States amounts to more than twelve billion horsepower but a large portion of the potential energy is transformed into heat by friction of the rain drops against the air so that the actual mechanical energy is much smaller.

In a more practical sense, Tesla argued that “most of the water comes from a height of something like 2,000 feet, and all in all represents over one-half a billion horsepower.” This was more than six times greater than the total horsepower that could be garnered from harnessing all of the waterfalls in the United States.

How exactly would one harness the natural energy of the rain? Tesla believed that the precipitation of moisture could be controlled, sort of geoengineering a hundred years ahead of the current feeble attempts to control weather. First, he described the natural cycle of water between the atmosphere, the land, and the hydrosphere:

The water is evaporated and thus raised against the force of gravity. It is then held in suspension in the vapor which we call clouds. Air currents carry this vapor, hither and yon, often to distant regions, where it may remain for long periods at a height, in a state of delicate suspension. When the equilibrium is disturbed the water falls to earth [in the] form of rain and through rills and rivers flows back to the ocean.

He then suggested that “the energy necessary to cause the precipitation of the rain, compared to that rain’s potential energy when released, is like that of the spark setting off a charge of dynamite compared to the dynamite.” He never specified exactly how that could be done, but did speculate that “if this part of the natural process were under the control of man he could transform the entire globe.”

Unfortunately, there were just too many practical limitations to exploit these ideas. Tesla himself noted that most of the rainfall would be inaccessible because it falls over the “three-quarters of the earth’s surface covered by the oceans.” He even considered the possibility of artificially producing rain. In the end, though “many schemes have been proposed,” none of them “offered the remotest chance of success.” Tesla did say encouragingly that he had “ascertained that with proper apparatus this wonder can be performed.”

By this time Tesla was nearing the end of his productive period of invention, so perhaps we can forgive him for not figuring out all of the problems of science. Clearly he was someone who thought in terms of completely new technologies rather than simply tinkering with the old ways. Sometimes his grandiose ideas worked out, and other times they would be left for future generations to solve. And some, like this one, may likely never be found practical.

With the idea of extracting electrical energy from rain fading liking a rainbow on the horizon, Tesla thought again about how to derive energy from nature. Perhaps the tides?

[Read more in Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time, from which the above is an excerpt]

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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A Booth (and friend of Tesla) Saves a Lincoln’s Life

Robert Todd LincolnYes, you read that right; a Booth saved a Lincoln’s life. As I put the finishing touches on my forthcoming e-book, Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate, I’ve been amazed at how many interesting connections there are between the two men. There are two that relate Tesla to Lincoln through Robert Todd Lincoln.

In a 1909 letter to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of The Century Magazine (the same magazine that had first published the Nicolay and Hay’s series on Abraham Lincoln’s life), Robert Todd Lincoln recalled an incident that occurred in late 1864 or early 1865. John Wilkes Booth had assassinated Robert’s father only months before.

“The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.”

Several months after the incident, Robert mentioned it to Adam Badeau, a fellow officer on General Ulysses S. Grant’s staff. That officer just happened to be a friend of Edwin Booth’s and sent off a letter to Booth complimenting him on his heroism. Up until that point, Edwin Booth hadn’t been aware that the man he had saved was the son of the man his brother had assassinated.

After a successful acting career, most notably for his signature role as Hamlet (Abraham Lincoln was also a big fan of Shakespeare), Edwin Booth went on to start The Player’s, a social club in New York City. Nikola Tesla often hung out at The Player’s with friends Mark Twain and various actors of the day.

By the way, it was this same Adam Badeau who edited the memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, and it was Mark Twain, friends with Nikola Tesla, who published them.

I’ll save the other connection through Robert for later, but it’s a big one you won’t want to miss.

The e-book is scheduled to come out this summer on Amazon. Already online is my previous e-book, Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. I”ll be having a contest shortly for those who want to help select the cover design, so stay tuned.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently working on a book about Thomas Edison for Fall River Press, due out in 2016.

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Barnes & Noble Stock Skyrockets on Big Tesla and Edison News

Wow. I knew Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were good for business (in their own ways), but who would have expected that my big Tesla and Edison news would cause Barnes & Noble stock to skyrocket yesterday (February 26, 2015). Here’s the proof:

Barnes & Noble stock rise

Since you might not see the immediate connection, let me explain. As most people know I wrote a book called Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (plus another Tesla ebook on his interest in renewable energy). The book is published by Fall River Press, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, and Sterling is a wholly-owned subsidiary of none other than Barnes & Noble!

This week the third printing of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity finally made it back on the shelves at Barnes & Noble stores (and also available online). As the graph above shows, Barnes & Noble stock value instantly shot up. 🙂

But there was an Edison connection too. Yesterday I signed the contract with Sterling Publishing to write a book on Thomas Edison (tentatively called EDISON!). And before the ink was dry Barnes & Noble stock value had soared to a new 52-week high!

See, a direct correlation between my big Tesla and Edison news and the skyrocketing stock price for Barnes & Noble! It couldn’t be any clearer.

Okay, the sudden rise in stock might have also been influenced by a little announcement that Barnes & Noble is spinning off its college bookstore business and holding tight to its Nook business unit. Yeah, those might have had a teeny influence on the stock price, but I prefer to think that my Tesla and Edison news was the driving factor in the big stock gain.

Hey, let’s just say I see the glass half full. 🙂

Meanwhile, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity has been a great success and I’m diligently typing away on my next big book – EDISON! Tesla is in Barnes & Noble now (make sure to get one soon because they sell out quick); Edison will be in Barnes & Noble stores in 2016.

It’s a good life.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Nikola Tesla the Pop Icon

Nikola Tesla has largely been ignored in the history books, but he has had a resurgence  in pop culture. This point was driven home this weekend when I received the following “must-have” item from my cousin Sue:

Tesla Pot Belly

Pot belly isn’t alone in embracing Nikola Tesla as a pop icon. There are bobble heads:

Tesla bobblehead

Incredibly cool artisan chairs:

Nikola Tesla Chair by Scott Mulcahey

Chair by Scott Mulcahey, Photograph by Charles Mulcahey

And even Tesla as a science fiction superhero:

Superhero Tesla

Tesla has been in the movies too. He was played by none other than rock legend David Bowie in the film, The Prestige (also starring some other actors you may have heard of – Hugh Jackman [Wolverine], Christian Bale [Batman], Scarlett Johansson [Lucy], and Michael Caine [perhaps every movie ever made]). You can even help support another movies that has done so much to protect and restore Wardenclyffe – Fragments from Olympus: The Vision of Nikola Tesla and its companion, Tower to the People.

Nikola TeslaThere are many other pop icon examples of Nikola Tesla as well. And you can help collect them. Post photos of Tesla as pop icon on my Facebook author page, or leave them in comments here or on my Fan Photos and Fun page, and I’ll post them!

Tesla in pop culture is also covered in my book, and I’m happy to announce that the 7th printing of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity is in Barnes and Noble stores this month. It’s companion, my e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time is available for direct download on Amazon.

For counterpoint, check out my book on Thomas Edison, in which I give Tesla his rightful due. Meanwhile, check out the latest from Tesla Takes Manhattan.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book is on Abraham Lincoln, due out in 2017.

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Tesla in 2014 and Beyond

Nikola Tesla had another big year in 2014, and 2015 looks to continue that trend. To begin with, I bought a brick. Not just any brick, a Brick for Nik.

Brick for Nick Tesla

As part of its amazing rise from the ashes, Tesla’s Wardenclyffe laboratory has been busy raising funds to renovate the facility into a world-class science center and museum. Even Tesla Motors’ indefatigable CEO, Elon Musk, has committed at least $1 million to the effort. I can’t offer that much, but I have contributed a modest amount to the project, including my very own brick on the property.

Wardencliffe Brick Certificate

But 2014 was a big year for another reason – the second printing of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity hit Barnes and Noble stores in late July and sales were even better than last year. So good, in fact, that the publisher has a third printing scheduled for February 2015, bringing the total in print to over 50,000 (with hopefully more to come). Even more exciting is that the book has a chance to become an integral part of the proposed Tesla curriculum in schools. Many fans have bought extra copies of the book so they can have their book and eat donate it to libraries and schools too. Just last week I sent two dozen copies to the Tesla Science Foundation to be given out to teachers.

Tesla: The Wizard of ElectricityTesla Renewable Energy book cover 2b

July 2014 also saw the release of my new e-book on Amazon. Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time takes a closer look at Tesla’s support for “harnessing the power of nature” – wind, solar, hydroelectric, tides, thermoelectric, etc. – long before our present fascination. I also had a second article published in Tesla Magazine, this one based on the Renewable Energy book.

Signing books 1-11-14

Signing books at the Tesla Memorial Conference

Of course, 2014 started out with the big Tesla Memorial Conference at the New Yorker Hotel in NYC on January 11th. Not only did I meet up with all the great people bringing knowledge of Tesla to the world, but I also met Bono. Well, maybe. Either way it was a great event. Check out the 2015 conference coming in just a few weeks. Among other presentations I gave in 2014 was one close to my heart – and home. In July I gave my very first presentation in front of my parents, and did so at the famous Ipswich Museum in my hometown.

I also just missed making the cut for an on-air appearance for a TV series on the History Channel called “10 Things You Don’t Know About,” hosted by Henry Rollins. A producer for the show had called me and we discussed various story ideas. In the end I wasn’t one of the people selected for a five-minute segment, so my television/Hollywood career will have to wait until 2015. Maybe a Tesla screenplay?

And 2015 is already looking like another busy year in Science Traveling land. I’ll have more on 2015 plans in future posts. For now, Nikola Tesla and I wish everyone a very Tesla Christmas and an electrifying new year.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years and is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Big Deals on Nikola Tesla Books Now

Nikola Tesla is a fascinating character, both for his scientific achievements and the intrigue in his personal life. Now for a limited time you can download the e-book, Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time, at big discounts on Amazon.

As this goes to press there are a few hours left at $0.99. After that, the price stays discounted at $1.99 until December 4th, when it reverts to its normal price.

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

To give you a taste, the following is an excerpt from the beginning of the book:

“My paramount desire today, which guides me in everything I do, is an ambition to harness the forces of nature for the service of mankind.” – Nikola Tesla

The active pursuit of renewable energy sources may seem like a new phenomenon. Only in the 1970s, as a result of the oil crisis and OPEC limitation of oil exports, did the modern world begin to seriously consider the widespread use of energy derived not from coal, oil, and natural gas, but from the sun, wind, and water. Unfortunately, this surge in interest was largely abandoned in the 1980s as the country redirected investment into the military as a means of “winning” the cold war. Now, with the 21st century upon us and with an emphatic understanding that fossil fuels are causing man-made global warming, we are seriously revisiting a shift to renewable energy. We lost over thirty years of renewable energy development, but even that delay pales in comparison when considering the first recognized need for renewable energy by a man named Nikola Tesla.

In fact, Tesla was into renewable energy long before it became cool to be into renewable energy. As the header quote indicates, Tesla had sought to harness the forces of nature for the good of mankind. And he was doing this a hundred years ago.

This volume will explore the motivations of Nikola Tesla and some of his contributions that predate our current efforts to harness the power of nature. The book is intended as an overview rather than a comprehensive treatise on renewable energy then or now. The primary goal is to show that Nikola Tesla, and others, were already seeing the need for renewable resources long before the current resurgence in interest. This e-book expands on a concept briefly addressed in my earlier book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, published by Fall River Press (2013).

Click here to download it now on Amazon.

Tesla: The Wizard of ElectricityBut that’s not all. My original book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, is also now available for pre-order directly on Amazon. Previously you could only get it at Barnes and Noble and from resellers. Now you can get it from Amazon, at BN.com, and at Barnes and Noble bookstores all over the country. A third printing of 20,000 is on order and should sell out fast like the first two printings.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years and is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Countdown Discounts – Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (and Black Friday sales), Amazon and I are making the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time available with big discounts for a limited time.

This is a countdown deal with Amazon, so the e-book is directly and immediately downloadable on Amazon based on the following price schedule:

Friday (11/28), Saturday (11/29), and Sunday (11/30): Only $0.99

Monday (12/1), Tuesday (12/2), Wednesday (12/3), and Thursday (12/4): Only $1.99

After Thursday the price reverts to its normal low price of $2.99, but obviously the best deals are made by acting fast. [More info below the photo]

Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time

This e-book explores the little-known fact that Nikola Tesla was promoting the need for renewable energy 100 years ago. Tesla’s motivations and his contributions predating our current efforts to harness the power of nature are examined. The primary goal of this overview book is to show that Nikola Tesla, and others, were already seeing the need for renewable resources long before the current resurgence in interest. It expands on a concept briefly addressed in my earlier book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, published by Fall River Press (2013).

Don’t wait – the clock is already running on this countdown deal. Get it from November 28th through 30th for only $0.99, or from December 1st through 4th for $1.99.

Feel free to share this deal with anyone you know that might be interested in Nikola Tesla. You can even give the e-book as a gift to anyone with access to the US Amazon site.

And thank you all for spreading the world about Nikola Tesla.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Tens of Thousands of New Tesla Fans – And More on the Way

These are great days for Nikola Tesla. Tens of thousands of people have become newly aware of Tesla because of the efforts of people like Nikola Lonchar (Tesla Science Foundation), Jane Alcorn (Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe), Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal), Joseph Sikorski (Tower to the People), Nenad Stankovic (Tesla Magazine), and many, many more.

I’m happy to have been a part of this…and even happier to announce that Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity is selling so fast in Barnes and Noble stores right now that the publisher has already ordered a 3rd printing to be released in February 2015. This will bring the total print run to over 50,000 books!

Electrical Execution

As anyone who has read the book knows, it consists of very readable text and is chock full of illustrations, photographs, and vintage comic strips printed on intricately designed high quality pages. And yet the book is being made available at an affordable price in an effort to reach out to as many people as possible. That strategy means that about 25,000 books have already been put in the hands of people who may not have known about Tesla before. After 2 months on the shelves, the books are still selling at more than 1000 copies a week! And with another printing on the way, many more tens of thousands of people will enter the world of Nikola Tesla.

What can you do to help spread the word?

Develop a curriculum: Currently there is an effort to build a Tesla curriculum for schools. This is being spearheaded by Nikola Lonchar and the crew at Tesla Science Foundation and Ashley Redfearn Neswick at the Tacony School. If you have ideas then please plan to attend the 3rd Annual Tesla Memorial Conference on January 10, 2015 at the New Yorker Hotel. Check out the Tesla Science Foundation Facebook page for more information.

Signing books 1-11-14

Signing books at the Tesla Memorial Conference

Donate to local libraries and schools: One of the most gratifying responses to Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity has been the number of people who say they believe the book would be a wonderful addition to the curricula of schools ranging from middle school, high school, and even undergraduate college. Many people have told me that they are buying an extra copy of the book specifically to donate it to their local school or public library.

The need for such a book has been obvious. Traditionally the Tesla book market has been split between three categories – highly technical reprints of Tesla’s papers and patents, long scholarly studies of Tesla’s life, and books aimed at children or very young teenagers. Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity is an entertaining and affordable book to stimulate interest in Tesla across the range of readership – and that means more people will want to learn about this fascinating man and his contributions.

Review the book: Share Tesla with the world. More ratings and reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and BN.com means more people will hear about Tesla. So go ahead and give ratings to my book and all the other books you’ve read on Tesla. Then share them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever other social networking sites you use. Let’s get the word out!

Here are more ways you can spread the Tesla word to others.

If you haven’t already, check out my e-book, Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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