Tesla's New Engine - Storm-Defying Airship-Power Generated from Factory Gases - An Engineer's Aspect


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Tesla's New Engine - Storm-Defying Airship-Power Generated from Factory Gases

This newspaper article, "Tesla's New Engine," from 1911, illustrates Nikola Tesla's desire to improve the world. He was always trying to think up ways to end war, extend life, produce free energy...this time, he is trying to harness pollution. Sometimes his inventions worked, sometimes they didn't...but that didn't stop him from dreaming. In fact, he sounds a little like John Lennon when he claims, "They have called me a dreamer."

The Mansfield News, Mansfield, Ohio, Saturday, September 23, 1911, Page 8.


Storm-Defying Airship-Power Gen-
erated From Factory Gases.

Dr. Nikola Tesla leaned back in his chair at the Waldorf last night and talked calmly of airships without planes, propellers or any of the other gear of the now familiar aeroplanes hurtling through space at tremendous speed or driving more slowly carrying great loads, and in either case as safely as the most prosaic of wheeled vehicles.

He spoke of harnessing the energy of the gases given off by the great steel plants and producing therefrom 25,000,000 or 50,000,000 horse power, with a value of, say, $450,000,000 a year. He spoke of these things as of things already accomplished.

"They have called me a dreamer," he said, "but this is not a dream. It is not an experiment."

Then he went on to tell something about the new mechanical principle on the development of which he has been at work for several years and concerning which, he said, he felt free to talk, since the publication yesterday of the Electrical Review, in which Dr. Tesla's invention is described. He said:

"Virtually in all generation, transmission or transformation of mechanical power we must avail ourselves of a fluid, a liquid or gas, either to impart or receive energy. In a steam engine, for instance, the fluid is a gas under pressure, which transmits its potential energy to a mechanical system. In a pump just the reverse process takes place the fluid, be it a liquid or a gas, having energy imparted to it by a moving material system. This invention of mine is a novel means of deriving energy from a fluid, and, therefore, bears on all the branches of mechanics."

In reply to a question as to how the principle was applied to use in his new invention Dr. Tesla said:

"Let us suppose that it is desired to derive energy from steam under pressure. In this case a number of disks are mounted on a shaft and the whole is placed in a casing with an inlet for the steam tangential to the disks. The steam entering into this orifice by reason of the properties mentioned exercises a pull on the disks and sets them in rotation, circulating under the influence of the centrifugal and tangential forces in a spiral with gradually diminishing velocity, giving up its energy on the rotating system and finally escaping at a center virtually devoid of dynamic energy.

"In this manner," continued Dr. Tesla, "an ideal rotary engine without any buckets, vanes or sliding contacts is obtained, one which in performance surpasses by far any other mechanism yet invented. I have developed 110 horse power with disks only nine and three-quarter inches in diameter and making a thickness of about two inches. Under proper conditions the performance might have been as much as 1,000 horse power. In fact, there is almost no limit to the mechanical performance of such a machine.

"The field of fuel waste," he said, "is the greatest of all, offering almost unlimited opportunities for exploitation. In the manufacture of steel and, according to data which I have carefully collected, in this country alone from 25,000,000 to 30,000,000 horse power are wasted through the hot gases escaping into the atmosphere. These gases have a high heating value and by means of the new principle the energy could be readily and cheaply harnessed. If you place the value of one horse power per annum at $15, this would mean an annual revenue from this source of $450,000,000 per annum."

"How about aerial navigation?" Dr. Tesla was asked. He considered for a moment or two and then replied with great deliberation.

"The application of this principal will give the world a flying machine unlike anything that has ever been suggested before. It will have no planes, no screw propellers or devices of any kind hitherto used. It will be small and compact, excessively swift, and, above all, perfectly safe in the greatest storm. It can be built of any size and can carry any weight that may be desired." --New York Evening Sun.