Telegram, February 25, 1923
How Nikola Tesla's
Newest Invention Is to Enable Us to See the Struggles of the Arctic
Explorer, the Clash of Battles and the Fantastic Lives of Unknown
Think of it, a great mechanical eye, created of finest
tempered steel, endowed with electric power and seeing to all parts of the
earth' “Science, in the person of Nikola Tesla announces it as a realized
achievement. It affords a fantastic picture, a superb imaginative flight
for the mechanical orb will follow in principle the exquisite and flawless
construction of the human eye.
Tesla, the creator, is a Nobel prize
winner and the man who harnessed Niagara Falls. He describes his
all-seeing eye as follows:
“My electrical eye comes as the result
of years of study and experiment. Three stages mark its construction and
the first two and most difficult have already been completed. I am certain
that Man will soon possess this machine in completed form and will be able
to see at will to any part of the earth. In planning its construction I
have taken the human eye as a model and have followed the principles which
nature used in developing the human eye. My mechanical eye will be one of
a group of associated machines, just as the human eye is part of the body
and can only function in cooperation with other parts of the body.”
Recently wireless telephony became a fact from one side of the
Atlantic to the other and soon man will be able to send his voice around
the earth by wireless. The arrival of Tesla's mechanical eye will mean
that the man in New York can see his business associate in Shanghai as he
talks to him by wireless. The eye resting on a pivot, will be swung about
and brought to bear on the explorer, fighting his way over the frozen
wastes of the Arctic circle; the fiery interior of the earth will give up
its secrets to the eye, and the battles of men will be revealed to all
other men in their cruelty and savagery.
The eye will teach Man to
understand Man. When you hear that your neighbor has been run over and
injured by an automobile you express sympathy because you know him. The
death of a famous film star touches the hearts of millions because they
know him. But 50,000 men, women and children may starve to death in China,
while newspaper readers in New York, Youngstown, Ohio, and Phoenix,
Arizona, remain unmoved because the victims are only numbers. The advent
of the all-seeing eye will change all that, Tesla believes. He has labored
in the hope that the revealing of the secret places of the earth will
unlock the secret places of the heart and help to bring mankind together
in understanding and consideration.
To understand the mechanical
eye and the work that has preceded it you must know something of Tesla.
This tall, gaunt electrical wizard, who has made so many fantastic dreams
come true, is as strange as some of his inventions.
He lives on one
of the top floors of the St. Regis, one of New York's most exclusive
hotels. There he has his workrooms, mysterious places never visited by
outsiders. There the eye machine rests, waiting for the day, soon to come,
when Tesla asserts he will vivify it and turn it over to his fellow-men
*?*Tesla sleeps only two hours a night and eats only
two very light meals a day.
Almost all his time and energy go into
the creation of electrical inventions. He has discovered and invented a
system of arc lighting, a system of alternating current power
transmission, the Tesla coil or transformer, a system of transmission of
power without wires, a system of wireless telegraphy and numerous other
Tesla believes absolutely in his mechanical eye and
its workability. In planning it he has patented the same methods that have
turned out so successfully with other inventions; that is, he has worked
out his machine in his mind to the last detail, without planning it on
paper or by means of a model.
“As in the case of my other
inventions,” he explained, “there was a long period of incubation during
which I turned over in my mind the idea of creating a mechanical eye. As I
came to an obstruction, I would stop, put the idea away in my subconscious
mind, and return to it later. Bit by bit ways of reaching the different
steps of the solution were reached. They would flash suddenly from my
subconscious mind, just as all my ideas for inventions have done.
“It stands to reason that man must create in time some means of seeing
through substances and to any distances. He has annihilated distance in
other ways and the creation of my eye will be just a part of the large
plan for bringing mankind closer together.”
It is interesting to
note that at about the same time that Dr. Tesla announced his invention of
the mechanical eye an electrical engineer in Pasadena, California,
asserted that he was able to make metals, rocks, or any opaque material
luminous by means of an electrical ray, the most powerful known to man. He
made no claims that the ray would penetrate great distances into the
earth, but the principle is very similar to the one on which Tesla is
The Tesla experiments on the giant mechanical eye are
thought to date back to the days when he built his mystery tower and
workhouse at Shoreham, Long Island, 60 miles from New York. The tower was
constructed about 20 years ago. J. Pierpont Morgan, Sr., backing Tesla in
The tower had a circular top and had shafts running
100 feet into the earth. Near it was an experimental station filled with
strange machinery. For a long period Tesla visited the station each day
and had a small army of workmen at his beck and call. It was whispered
that he was struggling with the problem of interplanetary communication,
among other things.
This was not verified, however, and scientists
and the general public could only guess the reason for the mystery tower.
Then Tesla and his workmen departed one day as suddenly as they had come.
A watchman stood guard over the tower and workshop for a year, then he,
too, went away and the plant became known as “Tesla's million dollar
folly.” Neighborhood boys played up and down the ladder and steps of the
mystery tower and finally it was sold. During the war it was torn down
when the government thought there was danger of it being used as a secret
wireless station by enemies of the country. Now it is believed the mystery
tower not only meant an attempt on Tesla's part to communicate with Mars,
but also saw his first experiments with the mechanical eye.
will not venture to predict whether the mechanical eye will carry
sufficient power to pierce the atmosphere so that man can obtain a good
view of life on Mars. He believes that Mars is inhabited and that the
Martians are struggling desperately to communicate with the earth.
“I have a deep conviction,” he said, “that highly intelligent beings exist
on Mars. I believe they have reached a mechanical stage of civilization
much more advanced than ours. However, it is quite likely that all racial
distinctions and ideals have been extinguished there and life has become
simply a desperate struggle for existence. The population may have been
reduced to a few highly specialized individuals.
ago, while experimenting in Colorado with a wireless power plant, I
obtained extraordinary experimental evidence of the existence of life on
Mars. I had perfected a wireless receiver of extraordinary sensitiveness,
far beyond anything known, and I caught signals which I interpreted as
meaning 1—2—3—4. I believe the Martians used numbers for communication
because numbers are universal.
“My discovery was announced at the
time and I am living in the hope that my vision was true and will be
confirmed by future generations. The use of the mechanical eye to pierce
matter and distance may hasten that day.”
Dr. Tesla believes that
man has stored within him the creative genius for anything he requires and
that after a certain period of incubation and when the need is great
enough the invention for a given need suddenly appears.
he explained, “that I can create any machine necessary for my needs simply
by putting my mind to the problem. It is easy once Nature has given you
the gift for creative work. I have been able to create a system of
wireless telegraphy, and wireless telephony is now a fact.”
also his belief, and the belief of many other famous scientists, that the
sources of electrical power and light have been only scratched so far. Not
only light to pierce the earth, but wireless power to govern agriculture
and to obtain chemicals and even food from the air will come in the
future, he predicts.
“The human being is an automatic heat
machine,” he explains, “requiring for its daily functioning a supply of
fuel which it takes in the form of animal and vegetable food. Now all
plants and animals are directly or indirectly nourished by the soil; hence
man draws his energy from the soil.
“As population increases more
and more of the fuel must be supplied. And we may therefore conclude with
certitude that as time goes on this precious supply will be steadily
increased by intensive cultivation of every available spot. Electricity
will be instrumental in this development in many ways, and power will be
transmitted for tilling the ground and performing all sorts of
agricultural work. Man when he goes to far corners of the earth will carry
compact instruments to provide him with heat and power and with
“Electrical power will be used for
accelerating many things on which we are more or less dependent;
fertilizers will be obtained from the atmosphere in great quantities and
all sorts of chemicals will be manufactured electrically from primary
elements. But some time, after a lapse of years, a limit may be reached.
“Artificial food, manufactured by the sun's power, may then afford
relief, but it is difficult to foresee just how far the human race can
make itself independent of the products of the soil. We are the results of
ages of adaptation to the environment and our organs would have to be
profoundly changed to enable us to exist on artificial food alone.
“However, that is a problem for the distant future. At present man has
enough to do in unveiling nature's mysteries so he can transmit power by
wireless and communicate swiftly with distant parts of the earth by voice,
eye and written word.”