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In 1904, construction of Tesla’s wireless transmitting tower was near completion at Wardenclyffe. Soaring high above the Long Island landscape, the tower drew considerable interest from the public, and Tesla’s work at Wardenclyffe laboratory was the topic of numerous articles and news reports of the day. Tesla also published articles about his work, including a piece entitled “”The Transmission of Electrical Energy”” published in Electrical World and Engineer on March 5, 1904. In this article Tesla describes a technology far ahead of its time as he writes about transmitting information wirelessly, a concept he refers to as “World Telegraphy.”
“I have no doubt that it will prove very efficient in enlightening the masses, particularly in still uncivilized countries and less accessible regions, and that it will add materially to general safety, comfort and convenience, and maintenance of peaceful relations. It involves the employment of a number of plants, all of which are capable of transmitting individualized signals to the uttermost confines of the earth. Each of them will be preferably located near some important center of civilization and the news it receives through any channel will be flashed to all points of the globe. A cheap and simple device, which might be carried in one’s pocket, may then be set up somewhere on sea or land, and it will record the world’s news or such special messages as may be intended for it. Thus the entire earth will be converted into a huge brain, as it were, capable of response in every one of its parts. Since a single plant of but one hundred horse-power can operate hundreds of millions of instruments, the system will have a virtually infinite working capacity, and it must needs immensely facilitate and cheapen the transmission of intelligence.”
Tesla’s description of a mobile phone in 1904 is an example of his ability to see the potential benefits of technology, and how it can be applied to benefit society.
Explore the inventor's most influential moments and discoveries using our interactive Tesla Timeline.
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