Tesla's free-energy receiver was patented in 1901 as An Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy. The patent refers to `the Sun, as well as other sources of radiant energy, like cosmic rays.` That the device works at night is explained in terms of the night-time availability of cosmic rays. Tesla also refers to the ground as `a vast reservoir of negative electricity.`
Tesla was fascinated by radiant energy and its free-energy possibilities. He called the Crooke's radiometer (a device which has vanes that spin in a vacuum when exposed to radiant energy) "a beautiful invention." He believed that it would become possible to harness energy directly by "connecting to the very wheelwork of nature." His free-energy receiver is as close as he ever came to such a device in his patented work.
But, on his 76th birthday, at the ritual press conference, Tesla (who was without the financial wherewithal to patent but went on inventing in his head) announced a "cosmic-ray motor." When asked if it was more powerful than the Crooke's radiometer, he answered, "thousands of times more powerful."
How it works
From the electric Potential that exists between the elevated plate (plus) and the ground (minus), energy builds in the capacitor, and, after "a suitable time interval," the accumulated energy will "manifest itself in a powerful discharge" which can do work. The capacitor, says Tesla, should be "of considerable electrostatic capacity," and its dielectric made of "the best quality mica,' for it has to withstand potentials that could rupture a weaker dielectric.
Tesla gives various options for the switching device. One is a rotary switch that resembles a Tesla circuit controller. Another is an electrostatic device consisting of two very light, membranous conductors suspended in a vacuum. These...