Greatest Electrical Pioneer of all was Nikola Tesla, who was brilliant inventor despite the fact that he had little formal education. Nikola (1856-1943), electrical inventor, was born in Yugoslavia , educated at the polytechnical school at Graz and at University of Prague . He conceived new type of electric motor having no commutator, as d.c. motors have, but works on principle of rotating magnetic field produced by polyphase alternating currents.
Constructing a prototype, he found nobody interested in Europe . Emigrated to U.S. 1884 and worked briefly and unhappily with Thomas Edison. He established own lab and obtained patents on polyphase motors, dynamos, transformers for a complete a.c. power system. He formed an alliance with George Westinghouse, who bought polyphase patents for $1 million plus royalty. With Westinghouse, engaged in struggle against Edison to convince public of efficiency and safety of a.c. over d.c. He succeeded in getting a.c. accepted as the electric power system worldwide which remains to this day.
Also with Westinghouse, he lit the Chicago World’s Fair with fluorescent lamps, he built Niagara Falls hydropower plant, and installed systems at Colorado silver mines, other industries. By turn of the century was lifted to celebrity status comparable to Edison ‘s as media promoted him along with the expanding electric power industry. Experimenting independently in his Manhattan lab, he developed and patented scores of electric devices based on his superior capabilities of high-potential, high-frequency currents: Tesla coil, radio, high-frequency lighting, x-rays, and most importantly germane to our topic – electrotherapeutic devices.
His High-frequency inventions were ignored by established technology, as were disk turbine, free-energy receiver, other inventions. Shut out by media except for birthday press conferences. At these predicted microwaves, TV, beam technologies, cosmic-ray motor, interplanetary communications, and wave-interference devices that since have been named the “Tesla howitzer” and the “Tesla shield.” In the 1930’s he was involved in wireless power
projects in Quebec . His last birthday media appearance was in 1940. He died privately and mysteriously at 87 in New York hotel room from no apparent cause. Personal papers, including copious lab notes, impounded by U.S. Government, surfaced many years later at a Tesla Museum in Belgrade , Yugoslavia . Of these notes, only a fragment, Colorado Springs Notes, has been published by the Museum.
Another one of the electrical engineers was a Russian emigrant, Georges Lakhovsky who made observations of the effects of electricity and radio waves on living organisms. His first book, THE SECRET OF LIFE, was first published in 1935 during the same month Hitler drove his hordes into Prague . The book appeared later in Spanish, French, Italian, and finally in English.
Many of his theories were, of course, ignored in conventional medicine as in 1938, the Flexner Committee reported to the US Congress it report on medical education and branded electrotherapy as “quackery”. Many of Lakhovsky’s theories were only recently confirmed by Becker in his book THE BODY ELECTRIC, published in 1987.
The Italians were the first investigators to seriously study his new science, RADIOBIOLOGY, and put it to the test in laboratories and clinics. It resulted in astonishing photographs of regenerated tissues in plants and human beings. It became indisputable fact that Lakhovsky was the first serious, scientific investigator on the use of high-frequency electromagnetic waves in biology. The first international Congress of Radiobiology was held in Venice in 1934. A leading authority on electrotherapy, Dr. E.P. Cumberbatch wrote: Although it had frequently been observed that the short Hertzian waves could produce heat at a distance from the transmitter, the first scientific investigation from a biological point of view was made by Lakhovsky and his colleagues who published a paper in 1924 on the effects of very short waves on cancer in plants. Mark Clement later wrote: “In this country, owing mainly to the inauspicious time at which Lakhovsky’s major work was published, very little interest has been shown on the part of those best qualified to judge of its merits. The medical profession, whose conservatism is the most formidable barrier to progress, has been notoriously slack in investigating the new radiobiological methods of treating disease as originated by Lakhovsky.”
Lakhovsky built a device called the multiple wave oscillator, which today is the basis of for electrotherapy technology. Lakhovsky’s first units were built on the basis of the Arsonval effect, low voltage, high current coil transmission. The units were bulky and naturally ran hot. In 1931, frustrated with the design, he asked Tesla for help in design, which he complied. Tesla traveled to Europe where the friendship was established.
Ten years later Lakhovsky traveled to New York City to visit his friend Tesla. Lakhovsky was mysteriously hit by a limousine and knocked high into the air. The three men in the limousine took Lakhovsky to a hospital against his demands to be left alone. Three days later he died in the hospital. Who only knows the rest of the story?