Although "wireless", Tesla's proposed "wireless power" scheme did not involve radio waves, but instead sought to use the Earth as a giant condenser to transmit alternating current worldwide. The experimental "Tesla world power plant" pictured in Figure 155 was located at Shoreham, New York, and ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Wireless Telegraphy and Telephony Simply Explained, A. P. Morgan, 1912, pages 143-148:
Within the memory of older men and women are primers of science, which speculate about the developments of electrical force, and guardedly discuss its possibilities.
And now, electricity--this mysterious agent--has multiplied the muscular strength of man a billion times. The tasks of Hercules are now but chores to be accomplished by the closing of a switch. Mighty rivers roar through intake and turbine to drive the wheels of industry in a distant city and turn the night into day. Any attempt to chronicle all the applications of this wondrous power would be absurd. Such is electricity to-day.
Only a few years ago Langley launched his famous aerodrome over the waters of the Potomac, while the world stood by and sneered, ridiculed a man whose work is now one of the classics of aeronautical literature, and scoffed at a machine whose principles embodied the conclusions of years of careful thought and scientific effort.
A decade later and aeroplanes have become a living reality. A man and a little frame of sticks and canvas can throw off the fetters of gravity and go soaring dizzily two miles up into the blue sky, and daring more, come skimming and diving back to earth with motor dead. Such wonders only came to pass, however, when numbers of men accepted the problem as one to be solved by trying, and bent their energies toward its solution. Science has not reached the limits of its resources. It never will. The art of wireless may always be embarrassed by novelty in many directions.
One of the greatest steps forward toward the day when methods and appliances regarded as permanent as the mountains will pass and be considered only as the curious remnants of a cruder age is the interest of 200,000 wireless amateurs in the United States. Some of these will develop into men who will bring some of the wonders of the future to their full fruition.
What is this great change that can be coolly and precisely forecast? Along what lines will these wonderful developments come? The answer is "wireless"--not the wireless of a Marconi or a De Forest, but the wireless of a Tesla--of "high potential magnifying transmitters"--of "nodes" and "loops"--of oscillatory currents that leave their conductors behind--the "wireless" of the day when a system is introduced enabling any person to reach any other on the globe, not simply through a spoken word or thought conveyed, but visually a perfect transmission of images which will enable one person to see another, as though that other were by his side--"wireless" of a time when the great operations of commerce and industry will be vitalized by huge wireless power stations, turning the machinery of factories, lighting cities, or sending swift aeroplanes and ships darting to the farthest points of the earth.
Of course, there may be something of the dramatic in such assertions, but they are founded upon scientific facts, and, if imaginary, are scientifically imaginary. The wonderful mysteries of oscillatory currents, whose natural medium is the ether, currents which object to being confined to wires and cables, and defy all ordinary laws; currents that will melt masses of metal with the violence of an explosion, but yet pass through the human body without producing any sensation; currents that will instantly manifest themselves 2,000 miles away from their source, with no visible means of propagation, are the open sesame to the treasures of a wonderful future.
There are many places in the world where water power is available capable of generating almost unlimited electrical energy. The present difficulty lying in the way of its utilization is the limitation of electrical transmission by wire, for not only is the cost of long lines of copper tremendous, but power can only be carried in this manner for limited distances. Central distributing wireless power stations could send the power of Niagara, which alone might be made to supply a fifth of all the power in the United States, and the energy of Victoria to the ends of the earth with little loss. The Great Falls of Zambesi, in the heart of Africa, could be made to run the subway trains, the factories, lights, railroads, ferries, trucks, heaters, etc., in that vast, most complex, most bewildering and inspiring city of the Western World, the City of New York. Ocean vessels would no longer carry thousands of tons of coal, locomotives would not wheeze and cough a trail of soot and smoke through the country, chimneys would cease to belch, and aeroplanes would travel silently and swiftly overhead.
It is easy, in the face of certain facts, to conjure up situations which would be pleasant and make for the betterment of the world. Any one whose imagination is vivid enough can make a prediction, but when the great truth is accidentally revealed, or experimentally confirmed, as the case may be, and rendered absolutely sure of accomplishment will its incalculable consequences continue to baffle the imagination and carry us further into the land of wonderment? Only the future knows.