August 2012 Meeting Report – Nikola Tesla Historical Visit

September 1, 2012
By
Date: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM until ?
Location: Old Town Guest House, 115 S. 26th Street, Colorado Springs
Topic: Nikola Tesla Historical Visit
Cost: $15 Cash Contribution Requested
stock shot of tesla

What we hoped to see... Publicity photo of Nikola Tesla with his Magnifying Transmitter in Colorado Springs. Source: Wikipedia

So… more than a few folks have asked what the Tesla program last Thursday (8-23-12) in the Springs was like. Where to begin? Well… Peter Douglas and I, some 20-years ago looked for the Colorado Springs Tesla Museum… This is pre-WEB and GPS. We had a PO Box and an address we couldn’t find. We did see the first or oldest or whatever 3-phase generator at the Cripple Creek mine. Later I’ve been to the New York Hotel (no they don’t let you go up to room 2613 or whatever…) where Tesla lived most of his adult life, wandered Long Island looking for the death ray lab, and found the concrete block near the Staten Island ferry that the first Edison generator sat upon… and don’t even ask about how I feel about Howard Armstrong (point being that I spent a lot more time following Howard’s trail).

So, when the Colorado Springs guy; no we don’t know his name… well I do because he slipped on the phone… who you call and then he calls back… Well… the thing is that every Tesla fanatic I have ever met was a bit eccentric. So here is a real guy, with a real address, who really calls back when you call, who says he really wants to build a real Tesla Museum that isn’t about the nuttiness… Well… you just have to go see that…

There were plenty of cameras there, but no pictures… per our hosts rules.

There were toys, but not great ones. The presentation was better than I expected. I really did learn things and I really am glad that I went and not just to check off the bucket list item. If nothing else, it sure lead to a lot of conversation. He does have documents I didn’t know existed. He sure knew a lot. I don’t think for a moment that he realized that everyone in the room knew a lot more about electricity, science, and dare I say life in general than he did. Not the show Tesla did, where folks like Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain lost bowel control… but not bad either.

old town guest house

What we did see... Old Town Guest House... actually the basement of the Old Town Guest House

So, what is the truth about Tesla? Mad genius? I think in the end, he did make 3-phase happen, maybe even was useful getting Niagara Falls on line. I think after that, he discovered high voltage RF, and just had a grand old time entertaining. Magic then. I don’t think any free power or for that matter any useful power was sent wirelessly. I don’t think the death ray had any scientific basis. My take is that Nicola Tesla had one good idea, and then had a lot of fun entertaining. Wish there was more to the story, but it is what it is. Art Bell’s guests aside…

I think the best part is that some of the group offered to get him tubes and stuff, and of course our support for a permanent Tesla museum. Personally, I’m just glad it was better than I feared, but not what I could dream of. I’ll go back..

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