Nikola Tesla never succeeded in realizing his “Tower of Dreams.” When he was living in New York, Nikola Tesla wrote a remarkable article for Century Magazine, detailing a futuristic vision of harnessing the sun’s energy with an antenna. Tesla had grand plans for the energy source, suggesting that it could be used to control the weather. He also proposed a global system of wireless communications.
His article caught the attention of many, the most prominent of which was J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s most powerful men at the time. While visiting Morgan in his home, Tesla proposed a world system of wireless communications.
“When wireless is fully applied, the earth will be converted into a huge brain, capable of response in every one of its parts,” Tesla declared. Morgan offered Tesla $150,000 to execute on his vision of a transmission tower.
Even at that time, a more realistic number for the project would have been $1,000,000 but Tesla didn’t think twice. He went to work immediately, attempting to make a large-scale demonstration of electrical power transmission without wires in a project called Wardenclyffe. To complete his vision, he had to build an enormous tower, rising 187 feet in the air and supporting a 55-ton sphere made of steel.
While construction of the tower was in progress, it became clear to all that more funds were needed to complete the project. Though he pleaded for more financial support, Morgan refused. That, combined with a crashing stock market, led to the demise of the project.
The mistake was eventually called, “Tesla’s million-dollar folly.”
“It is not a dream,” Tesla insisted. “It is a simple feat of scientific electrical engineering, only expensive…in a blind, faint-hearted, doubting world.”