LEGACY: The Life of Nikola Tesla (Chapter 3, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 3

A year later the family moves to Gospic, a bustling town six miles west of Smiljan. Nikola, now seven, creates his first experiment in original methods of power production. He takes two thin slivers of wood, as thick as a toothpick and several times longer, glues them together in the form of a cross.

With a piece of string acting as a driving belt, he is slips it over a pulley that has the diameter of a pea and also around the circumference of a much larger but lighter pulley which is also mounted on a thin spindle.

The power for the machine is furnished by 16 June bugs; four each glued to each spindle of the windmill. As the bugs flap their wings, the windmill turns for hours.

Proud of his accomplishment, he checks the windmill and makes minor adjustments to see that it works smoothly.

A few nights later Nikola is suddenly awakened by the nightmare of Dane's death. A vivid picture of the scene is thrust before his eyes.

"Go away, I'm being tormented", screams Nikola. The vision shifts to the funeral. "I must think of something pleasant," he says in a quieter tone. He conjures up an image of playing with his cat when he was much younger and they are toying with each other. He starts laughing and the cat starts purring and brushing him. "Something pleasant. Always something pleasant." and the vision fades.

* * *

In the City Square near the river, a parade and demonstration is underway to display a new pump which replaces the outdated bucket Brigade. The pump is man-made and operates by a team of men. Everyone in the city turns out for the event, which is followed by a trip to the riverfront for the pumping demonstration.

The order is given to start the pumping operation that will send a stream of water shooting skyward from the nozzle.

"Start pumping", shouts the Captain.

The men line up on both sides of the pump and are waving the hose up and down. When lowering the bars for the water to shoot through, not a drop comes out. A hush falls over the crowd in anticipation. The officials feverishly make adjustments, and after each attempt the same disappointing results.

Nikola is trying to see what is going on from the closest possible vantage point.

"Shoo," said the official, "we need room".

"I know what to do, Mister," says Nikola. "You keep pumping." He peels off his clothes quickly, dashes to the river and dives in the water. He swims to the suction hose and finds a kink, straightens it out so the water can rush through the line.

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