When the New York Times in June of 1902 carried a story about an inventor who claimed an electrical generator not requiring a prime mover in the form of an external fuel supply, Tesla wrote a friend that he had already invented such a device.
Fuelless electrical generation raises the same objection of perpetual motion as did the generator in use today when it was first proposed.
NIKOLA TESLA'S LATER ENERGY GENERATION DESIGNS Oliver Nichelson 333 North 760 East American Fork, Utah 840 ABSTRACT Ten years after patenting a successful method for producing alternating current, Nikola Tesla claimed the invention of an electrical generator that would not "consume any fuel." Such a generator would be its own prime mover.
Two of Tesla's devices representing different stages in the development of such a generator are identified.
The dynamo consists of metal disks that are rotated between magnets to produce an electric current.
Compared to his alternating current generator, this "dynamo" represents something of a curious throwback to the days of Faraday's early experiments with a copper disk and a magnet.
Entitled "The Problem of Increasing Human Energy - Through the Use of the Sun," it was published by his friend Robert Johnson in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine for June 1900 soon after Tesla returned from Colorado Springs where he had carried out an intensive series of experiments from June 1899 until January of 1900.He wrote that he first started thinking about deriving energy directly from the environment when he was in Paris during 1883, but that he was unable to do much with the idea for several years due to the commercial introduction of his alternating current generators and motors.It was not "until 1889 when I again took up the idea of the self-acting machine." THE TURBINE He quickly came to realize that an ordinary electrical machine, like his generator, would not be able to directly extract energy from the cosmos and turned his efforts to what he called a "turbine" design.More precise information is available through his correspondence in the Columbia University Library's collection. Johnson, editor of Century Magazine, Tesla included a clipping from the previous day's New York Herald about a Clemente Figueras, a "woods and forest engineer" in Las Palmas, capital of the Canary Islands, who had invented a device for generating electricity without burning fuel.What became of Figueras and his fuelless generator is not known, but this announcement in the paper prompted Tesla, in his letter to Johnson, to claim he had already developed such a device and had revealed the underlying physical laws.An insulated metal plate is put as high as possible into the air. A wire is run from the metal plate to one side of a capacitor and a second wire goes from the ground plate to the other side of the capacitor.