Nikola Tesla - X-Ray Experiments, Blindness and Fertilizers Manufactured by Electricity - An Engineer's Aspect


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Friday, July 15, 2011

Nikola Tesla - X-Ray Experiments, Blindness and Fertilizers Manufactured by Electricity

Here is another interesting article about Nikola Tesla from 1896. During this time period, Tesla had become distracted by Roentgen's discovery of x-rays. Tesla admits, in other articles from this time period, that he temporarily suspended some of his electrical experiments in order to explore the x-rays further.

Middletown Daily Argus, Middletown, New York, page 1. Wednesday, December 2, 1896.

Interesting Discoveries and Sug-
gestions by Nikola Tesla.
The Sunburn Effects Noted in Many Im-
pressions Due to Ozone Generated by
the Rays and Skin--Fertilizers
Manufactured by Electricity.

New York, Dec. 2.--The Electrical Review to-day publishes an exhaustive communication from Nikola Tesla on his latest experiments with the x-ray, which it characterizes as conveying a wealth of suggestions and most important and timely information. Tesla states that the sunburn effects noted by many experimenters are not due directly to the rays, or Roentgen streams, but to the ozone generated by the rays in contact with the skin. He says: "Nitrous acid may also be responsible, to a small extent. The ozone, when abundantly produced, attacks the skin and many organic substances most energetically, the action being no doubt heightened by the heat and moisture of the skin. Owing to this I have always taken the precaution, when getting impressions with the rays, to guard the person by a screen made of aluminum wires which is connected to the ground, preferably through a condenser. The radical means, however, of preventing such actions is to make impossible the access of the air to the skin while exposing, as, for instance, by immersing in oil." The inventor in referring to the recently widely heralded experiment for making the blind see by means of the Roentgen rays regretfully remarks:
No Good for the Blind.
"Is it not cruel to raise such hopes when there is so little ground for it? For, first of all, the rays are not demonstrated to be transverse vibrations. If they were they would have to find means for refracting them to make possible the projection of a sufficiently small image upon the retina. As it is, only a shadow of a very small object can be projected. What possible good can result from the application of these rays to such purposes? I cannot confirm some of the experiments reported. For instance--when a hand is put before the closed eyes it is easy to distinguish the shadow, much the same as before the light of a candle; but when the tube is inclosed, and all the light from the same excluded, I fail to get such an impression. The latter is, therefore, chiefly due to ordinary light."
Fertilizers by Electricity.
Tesla points out a possible and strikingly unique method of manufacturing fertilizers by electricity in the following interesting language: "With currents produced by perfected electrical oscillators, such as was described in one of your recent issues, the production of the ozone is so abundant that it is sufficient to merely turn on the current for a few seconds and ozonize strongly permeates the atmosphere of a large hall. These currents are also capable of bringing about chemical combinations, of which the chief is that of the nitrogen with the oxygen of the atmosphere, and an immense possibility, which I have been following up for a long time, is opened up; namely, the combination of the nitrogen of the atmosphere on an industrial scale by practically no other means than mechanical power. If merely fertilizers of the soil would be manufactured in this manner, the benefits to humanity derived therefrom would be incalculable."