Electricity to be Carried in Ice

New York Herald

Methods of transmitting electrical currents will be revolutionized if the results anticipated by Nikola Tesla from his most recent invention for the insulation of wires meet with the success in practice indicated by his experiments. There will then be no danger of deaths or injury by contact with live wires. It will be possible to transmit a current of high voltage hundreds of miles with no appreciable loss.

By cheapening the cost of electricity at the place where it is to be used all industries dependent upon electricity for their motive power may be carried on at a vastly less expense. These results will be accomplished by using an insulation of ice or other frozen material.

Students: Get
JSH-Online for
  • Every recent & archive issue

  • Podcasts & article audio

  • Mary Baker Eddy bios & audio


Mr. Tesla has been informed that his application for a patent covering this ground had been granted.

When seen at the Waldorf-Astoria, Mr. Tesla said that he was greatly pleased with the outcome of the experiments, upon which he had been working for seven years.

"Professor Dewar, of the Royal Institute, gave me the suggestion," said he, "which set me thinking along this line. That was in 1893. Realizing the great practical value of such an invention, I thought much about the subject, until a few weeks ago, when the complete system by which the desired end might be attained suddenly flashed across my mind as I was pondering upon the problem in my laboratory. Then the simplicity of the plan amazed me.

"Let me describe this method of insulation to you in its most comprehensive form. All wires will, of course, be placed under ground before my cold air insulation can be used.

"Image, now, a great trough extending, if you wish, across the continent. It must contain a quantity of water or some other substance which will freeze. From my experiments I judge that sawdust and water will prove most effective. For the purpose of transmitting the current long distance I shall use a thin metal tube, capable of resisting three hundred pounds' pressure to the squre inch. This tube will be submerged in the substance which I intend to freeze.

"In the whole discovery the most interesting feature is the method I have devised for freezing the material in the trough. Five or six feet below the surface the ground itself is very cold. Here the trough would be buried. Through the tube there will then be forced a current of gas—probably hydrogen—reduced to a temperature of minus two hundred degrees or thereabouts.

"This, under ordinary circumstances, will be sufficient to freeze the material surrounding the tube in the trough, and also to neutralize the heat which would be generated by the electricity.

"It has been known since the days of Faraday that an electrical current cannot break through an insulation of ice. My success lies in discovering how to apply this truth practically. To show of what gigantic worth it may be needs but a moment. Grant that the invention has, as I believe, given to the world an almost perfect insulator, immediately there follow results which will directly or indirectly affect every manufacturing industry which in any way uses electricity.

"This will follow from the fact that no electricity will be lost in transmission. The cost of the new insulation will in the end be cheaper than that now used, and so it follows that the electricity which is to be utilized in a thousand different ways can be produced at a less cost. To telephone and telegraph companies, therefore, you see that my invention will be indispensable.

"Water power converted into electricity can by the new method of insulation be carried thousands of miles. At present the loss of electricity due to unsatisfactory insulation makes this impossible. I have been considering the possibility of carrying the power of Niagara to this city, and find that it can be done with a loss of not more than one half per cent to one per cent.

"For the first time in history a power will be used for insulation instead of a property. Deaths from contact with exposed wires will be prevented by the new method. The increase in the speed of exchange of telephone and telegraph messages will be pronounced after the adoption of my discovery.

"These are the important changes in the electrical world which will be wrought by this invention. There will be also innumerable indirect results."

Mr. Tesla said that he hoped to apply his new discovery to electric surface railways. He said that he was working upon a plan by which the cars could be propelled without direct contact with the wire. This plan is still in an embryotic condition, and for this reason Mr Tesla declined to discuss it in detail. —New York Herald.

A character is like an acrostic or Alexandrian stanza : read it forward, backward, or across, it spells the same thing. —Emerson.

God's Creation Real
October 25, 1900

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.