In 1899, Nikola Tesla, inventor of
alternating-current power transmission, the Tesla coil transformer, wireless
communication, radio, fluorescent lights, and holder of more than 700 other
patents, moved shop to Colorado
Springs to take advantage of the climate and air quality. Tesla had outgrown
his New York lab and needed more space and privacy to conduct his energy
experiments. He chose Colorado
Springs to build a new lab, not only for the above reasons, but also because the
Colorado Springs Electric Company offered him free land and electricity.
Tesla arrived by the train on May 17th, 1899, and was greeted at
the station by Leonard Curtis, a patent lawyer, who escorted Tesla to the Alta
For about the next eight months, Room 207 became Tesla’s home.
While waiting for the arrival of his laboratory equipment, as well as his
assistant, Fritz Lowenstein, Tesla
had many social invitations from the prominent members of Colorado Springs.
He was wined and dined at places like the El Paso Club, an exclusive,
males only club.
Tesla and his crew began building the new lab one mile east of downtown, on
Knob Hill, near the Colorado School of the Deaf and Blind, which is still there.
The lab was huge; 50 feet by 60 feet, with the ceiling more than 18 feet
high. In the center of the roof was
a 200-foot pole with a large wood ball covered with copper foil on the end.
Shortly after setting up his lab, Tesla discovered that, because of the
intense electrical storms in the Rockies, Colorado Springs was perfect for
conducting his electrical experiments. It was in this lab that Tesla hoped to
find a way to provide wireless, free energy for everyone on Earth.
On July 4th, 1899, a brutal thunderstorm allowed Tesla to discover
that wireless telegraphic transmission was possible, and that he could actually
transmit an endless supply of wireless electricity to everyone in the world, for
free. For the next few months,
Tesla relentlessly spent his nights conducting energy experiments. He was able
to light two 50-watt light bulbs that were 25 miles away, by sending the
electricity through the ground.
One of the last experiments Tesla did in Colorado Springs was to generate man
made lightening. The experiment is
said have shook the ground and been as loud as a war, before blowing up the
generator at the Colorado Springs Electric Company. The entire town was blacked out, but not for long, because
there was an emergency generator, which the power company would not let Tesla
On January 7th, 1900, Tesla moved away from Colorado Springs. He
continued to invent things up until his death in January 7th 1943 at
age 86. Even though he had more
than 600 patents, he died penniless.