INTRODUCTION: NIKOLA TESLA’S ORIGINAL 1875 PLAN
Tesla’s original vision, in his 1870’s student days, of his “ideal flying machine”, was of an electropulsive one, the realization of which is why he said he originally entered the field of electrical science in 1875 in the first place. This was the problem which he had assigned to himself as his main lifelong work. (Frank Parker Stockbridge, The Tesla Turbine. The World’s Work, march, 1912, pp. 543-48.)
Originally anticipating that the electrical power needs for an electropropulsive craft would be too great for an on-board power plant (since his ship was to be devoid of sustaining planes), he initially embarked on developing his “wireless transmission of power” system, so as to transmit the anticipated power needed from ground-based power generators and stations. Some of these earlier Tesla ideas turned out to be unnecessary for his flying machine, so he turned them for intended commercial purposes.
Since his conception of the ether was of a relatively low-density one, and his conception of the electromagnetic force not nearly so much stronger than the gravitational one, his later discovery that his prior anticipation of greater electrical power needs than actually required, led to changes in his electropropulsive craft, and produced plenty of surplus “spin-off’ technology.
During the 1920’s, at a time when he was in great need of money to complete his electropropulsive ship, he unsuccessfully attempted to interest the U.S. government in some of this surplus “spin off’ technology. In an unpublished article prepared but never published, Tesla said:
“...we should push the development of flying machines and wireless transmission of energy without an instant’s delay and with all the power and resources of the nation”.