The Free-Energy Automobile

10 Sep

In 1931, King Alexander of Yugoslavia enacted a new constitution for his multi-ethnic realm, though he continued to exercise a royal dictatorship over the government. Political trials, arrests, and violence dominated the news to such a degree that few realized that the famed inventor Nikola Tesla had returned to his native land from the United States.

No one appeared to know what his purpose was in the capital of Beograd, until he called a meeting of some of the most important Serbian industrialists and financial leaders in the ballroom of the Sava Hotel and addressed these notables on what had brought him back at the age of seventy-five.

The spare, towering scientific explorer welcomed each of his guests individually, then went to a rostrum facing the men of business and spoke to them in his rich, enticing baritone.

“Gentlemen, Yugoslavia and the entire world are in the midst of economic crisis, and factories are closing in every country. Prophets warn us that the recovery will be slow and difficult, and that the only wise policy is one of retrenchment. But I tell you the opposite. This is when those with foresight begin enterprises and projects that will blossom in the years and ages to come. The time we are in now, in 1931, is when the pioneer plants the seeds of future prosperity and well-being. Let me explain.

“The automobile has taken over the place of previous means of transport. From the horse to the railway, we see the victory of the car and the truck. Detroit, in America, became the center of the newest and finest vehicles, assembled in mass-production facilities. We have witnessed what was called the victory of gasoline internal combustion engines as the propellant of motorcars. Electrical engines were judged as defeated and surpassed by the vehicles of Mr. Ford, Mr. Chrysler, General Motors, and a few other minor manufacturers in the United States.

“But was that the final battle and irreversible decision of history? I am here in Beograd to tell you that it is not over for the electric car. I have developed an unforeseen system of remodeling and recreating the old model that was once competitive with the internal combustion gasoline engine, back before the world war. My search for and experimentation with an amazingly simple power source promises to restore electricity to its rightful place and make the automobile independent of liquid fuel pumped out of the ground.

“The older version of the electrocar depended upon large, clumsy batteries that needed constant recharging. My version of 1931 needs no battery at all. The power will come from Nature herself, from the inexhaustible quantities that exist in the sun and reach us through cosmic space. I can present to the world an engine run by the free energy that streams through the air and every natural object, that is there for the taking. And I have the mechanism able to catch and make use of that invisible radiation that is everywhere. Night and day, regardless of the weather, such energy irradiates out of the skies, down upon out world.

“I can offer you a share in harnessing the miracle of free cosmic rays and their energy.”

Sighing and gasping was audible among the moneyed men who were present. What they had heard stirred and shocked all of them. One elderly banker decided to ask Tesla a delicate, potentially embarrassing question.

“Sir, if you have discovered a way to use such energy, why have the great American capitalists, like Ford, not sought access to it so that they could profit and prosper?”

Nikola Tesla looked at him with penetrating dark eyes, an indulgent smile forming around his thin lips. “It is the worldwide depression that has made them cautious and afraid to invest in the new. There exists a stubborn resistance to electricity in Detroit industry. Henry Ford himself has shut down his plants and let go all his workers. He would not even listen to what I have to say. American business has fallen into profound fear and panic. It was like attempting to talk to the deaf. I have tried with all my heart, but found too much discouragement and despair. It was impossible for me to obtain financing for productive facilities. Hardly anyone is making cars anymore.

“I had to make a difficult decision. Leaving America was my final alternative, and I chose Yugoslavia as the future home of a new automobile industry. We can do it. I am a Serb. My father was an Orthodox priest. I know what my most basic loyalties. My dream is to make a new, science-founded way of life for the Serbs and all the other peoples of our Yugoslavia. I have the invention that will make Europe and then the entire world our market for electric vehicles. We and everyone else can forget about petroleum and gasoline.” Tesla drew a long, deep breath. “The world is on the verge of costless energy from out of space. I invite you to join me in harnessing and utilizing it.”

His audience sat motionless and nearly breathless. What could anyone say?

Tesla began to wonder whether these men of business thought him a madman. They began to leave without saying anything to the inventor, till only one of them remained in the room. It was Milan Prosic who came up to ask the famous man about what he had talked about.

The man who approached the inventor was a short, slight figure of sudden movement and nervous energy. His bluish eyes glowed with energetic intelligence. His voice was surprisingly sharp and strong.

“Mr. Tesla, let me introduce myself. I am Milan Prosic and my business is the sale of new and older autos. In my workplace, my crew makes all sorts of repairs on European and American vehicles. Our technical knowledge of the gasoline engine is our business advantage. That is our most important cause of the reputation we enjoy. But the present economic catastrophe has been a disaster for us, as for all Beograd, Serbia, and Yugoslavia.

“I know very little about electrocars, for they have been disappearing. What you said today has given me renewed hope and enthusiasm about the future. Could we meet and talk about the details of your invention? It may turn out to be the salvation of my company. Could you come to my garage building tomorrow? You could see what we do and tell me more about what is powering your electrical engine.”

Tesla, happy and smiling, agreed to come to the Prosic company grounds in the suburban zone of the capital.

The inventor rode a taxi to the Karaburma section of the suburb of Palilula. The business of Milan Prosic was located in an old cement block building on Takovska Street, with little going on around it. The owner took Tesla on a walking tour of the premises, where men in work clothes were busy making repairs on automobiles and trucks.

“I want you to meet my main mechanic, Goran Babic, said Milan as the pair approached a gaunt, towering man dressed in grease-covered brown coveralls. Wiping his hands on a small cloth, the tall man smiled at the stranger with open friendliness. “Mr. Prosic has told me a lot about your speech to the group of businessmen,” said the mechanic with spirit. “It is a pleasure and an honor to have you come to this simple garage, sir.”

“Let’s go into my office and talk about your electric car, Mr. Tesla,” suggested Milan, leading the way there.

When the three men were seated around a circular table, the inventor began to describe what his plans were.

“This place is just right for assembling the new car in strict privacy. It is close enough to central Beograd to take it to many locations for demonstration runs, but there can also be a lot of testing out in the countryside as well.

“Will you permit me to make use of an automobile chassis from which the gasoline engine has been removed? I shall then install a free-energy motor like the one that I assembled in the United States. You will receive payment for all the expenses that I may incur.”

“I am agreeable to that,” declared Milan. “And I am certain that Goran is perfectly willing to assist you as an assistant. There is nothing he cannot do with metal.”

Tesla turned his head and studied the pale, long face of the mechanic. “It is amazingly easy to build the electric engine that I used in New Jersey and New York State. But it will be of great help to have an experienced mechanic at my side, young man.”

The inventor offered his hand, which Goran took and shook with strength and vigor.

The mechanic turned out to be a useful, compliant helper for Tesla. The two got along with each other from the beginning of their cooperation. The inventor found an apartment close to the garage shop.

A 1930 German Opel modeled on the Ford Model A was provided by Milan Prosic for conversion to electrical power.

Nikola Tesla explained his theory of how the alternating current electric motor they were constructing was to work. “This mechanism will give 80 horsepower of energy. It can operate at 800 revolutions per minute. The power will go into the axle, clutch, and transmission system, as in a typical gasoline engine. But there is not being to be an electric battery, of course. The energy will be a free, zero-point kind. The alternating current motor will be receiving its charge from a series of a dozen radio vacuum tubes. These we shall connect to a six foot long antenna that protrudes from the rear of this automobile.”

Goran was visibly perplexed. “I do not understand where the energy will come from, sir,” he confessed.

Tesla continued patiently. “I plan to use an ignition coil and alternator to make high speeds possible. There will occur a push-pull amplification of the energy coming from the antenna. The vacuum tubes will be directly connected to the special ignition coil I have brought with me from America.” He paused a moment, gazing into the pale, long face of the mechanic. “The charge from the antenna is going to be a mysterious radiation out of the invisible aether. It exists in infinite quantities and can never be exhausted. The vacuum tubes will be attuned to the spinning and vibrations of all Nature.

“Eastern religions and philosophies tell us that the physical, material universe that we perceive is, in reality, composed of nothing else beyond energy.

“That is the kind of cosmic, aether energy that will be moving this electric automobile.”

Goran, saying no more at that time, continued at the tasks that Tesla had set for him to complete.

Milan Prosic was present in the garage when the electrocar began to move forward for the first time, the inventor himself at the steering-wheel. Tesla called out with rapturous joy to the businessman and the mechanic to join him for an initial ride, a test of the vehicle. Goran and his employer climbed into the rear seat, the long metal antenna situated between them and extending out of the back of the automobile through the opening for a rear window.

A slow, cautious trip down Tekovska Street and back followed. “We shall take it out a greater distance tomorrow,” announced Tesla. “I want to make a test in crowded, downtown traffic in central Beograd, and then out into the countryside, and across the Danube into the Vojvodina region.”

The following morning, the threesome traveled into the center of Beograd in the silent, smoothly riding vehicle. “It is so easy to steer and govern the speed!” said the inventor with enthusiasm. “This car is much more controllable than the conventional gasoline-powered kind.”

He took his two passengers along the main street of Beograd, Prince Milan Avenue. They entered the commercial area named the Terazije, and traversed busy Slavija Square. Their excursion took them from the park and fortress of Kalemegdan to distant Englezovac Park at the other end of the downtown.

Finally, Milan suggested that they stop for the day and return to his garage in Palilula. He had ideas and plans to work out on his own concerning the development and exploitation of this technical wonder.

The following morning, Tesla told the other two men that he planned to take the electocar out beyond Beograd, into the countryside of the province called Sumadija. Goran had repair work to complete in the garage, while Milan announced that he intended to take a streetcar into Beograd to see a man about business matters.

The garage-owner traveled into the central Terazije district, climbing down on Prince Michael Street and entering one of the best known stores in the capital, the so-called House of Clothes owned by Mr. Vlada Mitic. This was a wealthy merchant for whom Milan had managed important automobile repair work for the several vehicles owned and used by members of old Vlada’s extensive family.

The store first floor was nearly empty of customers, a reflection of the economic crisis seizing all nations of Europe and the world. All downtown business is slow and suffering, realized Milan as he headed toward the mezzanine office where he hoped to find the president, founder, and owner of this retail firm.

It was clear that little trade was going on within the store. Clerks were more visible than customers. Goods appeared in storage, accumulating in these days of commercial inactivity.

Milan identified himself to a secretary at a desk, and she went into the owner’s office to inform him who it was that wished to see him. “Please, go right in, sir,” she told the visitor with a polite smile.

Vlada Mitic, in an old-style pre-war formal suit, rose from his desk to shake hands with his fellow businessman. Once both of them were seated, the owner asked Milan what he could do for him.

“I may be able to do you a favor,” smiled the man involved with automobiles. “Something of a revolutionary nature, a miraculous new invention, has come to my attention. It promises incredible opportunities to make profit from its future application.”

“What is it?” inquired Mitic with sudden curiosity.

Milan lowered his voice to almost a whisper. “An amazing electrical automobile with a new, never before source of electric power. You must see and ride in such a car, my friend. Only personal experience can prove to anyone what this method promises us. It will change everything we know and believe concerning transportation. The world will never be the same after adopting this result of the genius of Nikola Tesla.”

The merchant interrupted. “Tesla? Yes, I have read in the newspapers that he is here in Beograd. The fellow is an old dreamer from out of the past. Has he convinced you to believe in one of his fantasies, some kind of imaginary scheme born in his brain?”

“All I ask is that you allow the man to demonstrate this electrical car to you. One ride in it will make you into a believer, my friend.”

Mitic appeared to be biting his thick lower lip. “Retail trade has fallen to nearly nothing here in Beograd. I have a lot of free, idle time on my hands, Milan. So, it will amuse me to inspect this new wonder created by the famous Nikola Tesla. When can I take a ride on his magic carpet invention?”

“We shall bring the car down to the Terazije early tomorrow morning,” answered the overjoyed garage-owner.

The inventor drove Milan to the rendezvous with Vlada Mitic. They put him in the back seat and drove him up and down the streets of central Beograd into nearby neighborhoods of Zapadni Vracar, Grantovac, and Savinac. Their passenger was thrilled. His excitement knew no boundaries. “How is it done?” he demanded of Tesla. “If there are no visible batteries, how can this car move around so smoothly and easily?”

When the pair brought him back to his department store, Mitic was nearly delirious in spirit. “You must allow me to share in the manufacturing of such vehicles,” he said to Milan with overflowing emotion. “What do you say? I have plenty of available funds saved up. The banks are paying me very little interest at all.”

Milan Prosic grinned with triumph. “We will have time to deal with that,” he told the merchant. “I shall not forget you, my dear friend.”

Prospects were most promising for the innovation that appeared on the horizon. Could free energy help lift the world out of its severe economic depression and stagnation?

Milan left the inventor off at his flat, then himself drove the renovated car to his garage. Goran was still working on engine repairs on a customer’s auto. He noticed the unusual elation on the face of his employer, whose bluish eyes had a bright shine in them.

“You seem very happy, I believe. Was the demonstration of the electrocar a success, then?”

The businessman gave a single chuckle. “I am, indeed, in a elevated mood, Goran. Everything has gone as I planned. Mr. Mitic was deeply impressed by the ride he went on. He told me before we departed that he wishes to become a participant in the development of the free electricity system for future automobiles. Think of what that means!

“You will share in what I am able to make from a partnership with this merchant. Both of us shall become rich men. Do not worry about yourself, because I promise to take care of you, my friend.” He looked intently into the long face of Milan Prosic.

“And there will be many benefits for Mr. Tesla, as well,” added Goran with thought.

His boss laughed. “We need not worry about him. The scientist is an abstracted dreamer, up in the clouds. I predict that he will accept the deal that I am going to reach with Mr. Vlada Mitic.”

The two stared at each other, but only one of them was smiling.

It was early the next morning that Milan heard his office telephone ring. He was astounded by who it was calling him in an anxious voice. “Hello, can you guess who is calling you? This is Vlada Mitic here. I did not have too much sleep last night. How was it with you? Of course, you know what I am seeking to find out from you? What can you tell me about what Mr. Tesla is planning to do with his new electric car?”

Milan, settling his mental balance, was able to reply with purposeful intention. “I am fine and slept quite well last night. Let me inform you of something that may be important to you. Nikola Tesla had placed all the practical business aspects involved with the invention in my particular hands. We enjoy complete confidence in each other. I am that one whom he depends upon to solve all problems or questions connected to free energy. As a result, it is possible to deal with me with the knowledge that I have the scientist’s full trust. Do you understand?”

“That is fine to hear, Mr. Prosic. We should therefore sit down somewhere and draw up the terms of a partnership with two sides. I am sure that we will agree on how the electrocar is going to evolve and develop.”

Milan proposed that the two meet downtown at a Terazije tavern for luncheon later that day. Mitic accepted and agreed which eatery would be their place for conferring.

It was by chance that Goran happened to be close to the outside of the office door, able to hear his employer’s end of the telephone conversation.

When Nikola Tesla arrived at the garage, he was surprised to find out that Milan was not present.

“He took one of the older autos and headed for downtown Beograd. There is business awaiting him there,” said Goran in a dry, expressionless tone.

“It has to involve the free energy electrocar, I presume,” opined the scientist. “He did not inform me that he was going to discuss our affairs with anyone.”

The mechanic looked away for a moment, then focused on Tesla. “I happened to overhear how he made an appointment to have lunch together with Mr. Vlada Mitic down in the Terazije.” He paused a second. “There are some things that you do not know about my boss, that you cannot possibly be aware of.”

“What do you mean?” said Nikola, slightly frowning.

“He is not always what he ought to be, he does not always act in the highest, most honorable way in business dealings. In other words, if a situation should demand it, he is capable of using trickery and deception. That is why several people have sued him in past times. When he was young and only starting out, he was known to break the rules when he believed that necessary.”

The inventor had a look of sudden discovery and enlightenment on his face. “You sound very certain of what you are saying about the man you work for,” he said matter-of-factly. “There are no doubts about him in your mind?”

“He is clever and nimble in all his business dealings,” muttered Goran. “There is a lack of inner restraint in Milan Prosic. That is what I have observed for over a decade.”

“I thank you for speaking to me in candor,” said Tesla, turning about and withdrawing.

Vlada Mitic, sitting across from Milan Prosic in a Terazije coffee shop, showed growing astonishment at what he was hearing the garage-owner say to him.

“You can assure me that Mr. Tesla will agree to granting our partnership an exclusive, air-tight monopoly control over the use and application of his free energy system?” asked the clothing merchant.

Milan grinned with exaggerated self-confidence. “I give you my sincere word that he has total trust in what I advise him to sign. His mind dwells on problems of science and technology, not upon the details of commercial deals. He will go along with what I have outlined to you. Why should he pose any objections? Nikola Tesla has never shown himself to be a selfish individual. We shall promise to provide him with the best, most advanced laboratory anywhere in the world. It will be located here in Beograd. That will make him perfectly happy and satisfied, I guarantee you.”

Mitic thought hard several seconds. “I will tell my lawyers to draw up a partnership contract between the two of us on the manufacture and licensing of the Tesla free energy engine,” he concluded. Then he signaled a waiter to bring them additional coffee.

Nikola Tesla sat in the office of the garage, in the chair and at the wooden desk of Milan Prosic, the man who might turn out to be a swindler who planned to turn the free energy electrocar into a tightly-held, narrow monopoly.

He now remembered hints of the man’s devious character that he had ignored at the time.

This was a case of his misunderstanding the intentions of someone presenting a false front meant to convince him that what he imagined was real and true.

Milan Prosic was the opposite of what his outward pose seemed to be.

How could his taking over control of the promising invention be prevented?

All of a sudden, Tesla leaped out of the chair and hurried out of the office to where Goran was busy working on an internal combustion motor in a German-made Ford.

“I’m taking out the electric car for a ride,” said the tall scientist. “I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

Vlada Mitic was a worried man anxious about what Milan Prosic had proposed that the two of them do.

Would they be taking advantage of the famous Serbian inventor who had come back to his homeland with such high, exalted hopes of bringing progress and prosperity? Was a complete patent monopoly justified or wise in this case?

His secretary opened the office door and told him that he had an unexpected visitor, Mr. Nikola Tesla.

The merchant’s brain felt like it was undergoing sudden enlightenment and revelation. Did the genius somehow sense that he was under consideration in the thoughts of a Terazije businessman?

“Show him right in, at once,” ordered Vlada. Events seemed to him to be advancing with breathtaking speed.

Tesla entered. “Please, be seated, sir,” humbly said the one behind the desk.

“I am here because I am worried about the future use and control of my discovery. Perhaps you are the one person who will assure me that my free energy engine will be open and available everywhere, to all who can benefit from it. I am an enemy of all monopolization or exclusive control. My aim is not to make myself a lord of capitalism.

“Can you promise a just and fair exploitation of what I have assembled?”

“Yes, of course,” said Vlada in a strong, resonant voice. A tear suddenly came to one of his eyes. “Let me take charge of the future production and application of the invention. I pledge to carry out your wishes according to your concept of what is rightful for the future of mankind. Only what you yourself propose or approve shall ever be done.”

He rose from the desk and advanced to where Tesla sat, taking his hand and shaking it with vigor.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s