On April 27, 1927, Bell Telephone and the U.S. Department of Commerce conducted the first long distance transmission of moving images between Washington D.C. and New York City. The first modern ‘television’ was born.
Secretary of Commerce at the time, Herbert Hoover commented:
“Today we have, in a sense, the transmission of sight for the first time in the world’s history. Human genius has now destroyed the impediment of distance in a new respect, and in a manner hitherto unknown.”
Hoover’s prediction of the ‘unknown’ stands true today as the modern TV continues to evolve into things humanity never imagined only decades prior.
Although most of society couldn’t imagine the impressive capabilities of transmitting moving images over the airwaves, there were a few special folks out there who did.
Five years prior to the world seeing the first practical demonstration of the television, and scores before the first instance of the smartphone, Nikola Tesla, not only imagined it but had completed crucial steps for making it possible.
Television was only a small portion of Tesla’s predictions, however. In Volume 100 of Popular Science Monthly, January-June, 1922, Tesla, born July 10, 1856 would predict FaceTime.
“It will soon be possible to see as well as hear by means of electricity. “Television” will be employed as generally as telephoning. As one listens to a voice at the other end of the line, he will also see every expression of the speaker’s face,” explained Tesla in his article.
“It will be possible to see as well as to hear either by the wireless telephone or over the regular wire circuits. There will be no limit to the distance of such transmission, so that we shall be able to talk to a person in any part of the world and watch his face at the same time.
“In a general way the instrument used for television will closely resemble the mechanism of the human eye. Success in transmitting vision depends upon four things, and of these I have already perfected two.
“The radio transmission oi sound will also be developed in the future far beyond the present system. It will be possible not only for any person with a station to listen in, but also to transmit at the same time to every other station. I have already accomplished this in my experiments.”
But this amazing man, with such grand visions, didn’t stop at the prediction of Facetime. Just a few years later, in an interview with Collier’s Weekly, Tesla predicted the smartphone.
An article dated January 25, 1926, by the Associated Press, documented the interview.
Application of radio principles will enable people by carrying a small instrument in their pockets to see distant events like the sorceress of the magic crystal fairy tales and legends, Nikola Tesla, electrical inventor, predicted today. Mr. Tesla, who on several occasion has tried to communicate with the planet Mars, made his predictions in an interview published in the current issue of Collier’s Weekly.
“We shall be able to witness the inauguration of a president, the playing of a world’s series baseball game, the havoc of an earthquake, or a battle just as though we were present,” Mr. Tesla said.
While every generation is astonished by the advancement of technology, few generation have predicted technological advancements so far before they happened, and with such accuracy that it becomes mind boggling.
Imagine the world today if Tesla’s visions were allowed to come to fruition had his work not been seized by the government. But sadly, that was not the case.
Only two days after his death, the FBI ordered the U.S. Office of Alien Property to seize all of Tesla’s belongings. Tesla’s entire estate from the Hotel New Yorker, and other New York City hotels, was transported to the Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company under OAP seal.
In an instant, this genius man’s entire life’s work became the property of the government to further their militaristic escapades.
However, not all was lost; several new geniuses would rise up and follow in Tesla’s footsteps. People like Jim Murray would diligently devote their lives to understanding this great man, and in turn, create paradigm shifting technologies like the SERPS (Switched Energy Resonance Power Supply) device. This highly specialized electronic circuit has the ability to “Magnify” the effective power applied to it by nearly 50 times. When Jim coupled his device with his friend Paul Babcock’s patented ultrafast five nanosecond switching technology, they achieved a 4790% increase in electrical power compared to the input. This type of performance, if commercialized, would cause the largest electric utility companies to shake in their boots.
It’s been 75 years since his death, and Tesla is still helping to make the world a better place — in spite of government schools making no mention of his contributions to humanity.