No surprise therefore that Tesla did eventually get labeled a crackpot by many people, losing even the financial support of J.P. Morgan. The Wardenclyffe tower was scrapped to pay off his debts before it was ever fully completed. Tesla declared bankruptcy in 1916, and died alone and penniless in 1943.
To the persistent claim that Tesla is the person who invented WPT, there are those who still light up with distant disbelief. You might as well leave your cell phone under a tree in a raging thunderstorm, they argue. But it is also true that some of Tesla’s more than 700 US patents have lived on, and continue to shape the world we live in. Tesla is for many such reasons considered by some as the greatest engineer and innovator who ever lived.
Marx Levels the Playing Field
Not to be outdone in the department of retrospectively pissing off UL, in 1924, a German engineer named Erwin Otto Marx came up with his bigger-is-better version. Whereas Tesla coils worked by inducing extremely high voltages by using a steep turns-ratio in a special transformer, his new generator created a similarly high voltage, but by charging a bank of capacitors in parallel from a low voltage, then suddenly stacking all the capacitors in series (bootstrapping). Colossal bolts of lightning from a massive “Marx generator” were generated befittingly from a now almost defunct Soviet-era complex. This facility is occasionally revived it seems, to test aircraft against lightning strikes.
Smaller Marx generators are still in use worldwide today, to