by Oliver Nichelson

from Tesla'sFuellessGeneratorAndWirelessPowerTransmission Website

Nikola Tesla's "Free Energy" Documents reproduces the inventor's 1902 letter to Robert U. Johnson about Tesla's new energy generator that "would not consume fuel".


This letter was found in the Tesla Collection at Columbia University Library when attending the IEEE Tesla Symposium in New York in January 1976.


This letter will come to be considered as important in the history of electrical science as the papers of Franklin, Faraday and Maxwell.






While in college, Nikola Tesla claimed it should be possible to operate an electrical motor with-out sparking brushes. He was told by the professor that such a motor would require perpetual motion and was, therefore, impossible. In the 1880's he patented the alternating current generator, motor, and transformer we use today.

Ten years after virtually inventing modern electrical technology, Tesla claimed he developed a generator that would not "consume any fuel." Such a generator would not have a conventional source of energy such as oil, coal or falling water. This new generator would get energy from what he called the "ambient medium."


He described this source in 1933:

This new power for the driving of the world's machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities.

For nearly 100 years researchers have sought the design for Tesla's "free energy" generator. Clues, in Tesla's own handwriting, to the nature of the device and how it operated have been uncovered.

On June 9th, 1902, both the New York Times and the New York Herald carried a story of a Clemente Figueras, a "woods and forest engineer," in the Canary Islands who invented a device for generating electricity without burning any fuel. What became of Figueras and his fuelless generator is not known, but this announcement in the paper prompted Tesla to send a clipping of the Herald story in a letter to his friend Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of Century Magazine.

In this letter, a part of the Nikola Tesla Collection, at Columbia University Library, Tesla claimed he had already developed such a generator and to have revealed the underlying physical laws.1


In the three-page letter Tesla states that he suggested such a generator in his Century magazine article, and that he has worked on such a design for sometime.


June 10, 1902
Dear Luka,2
The invention seems to
have been suggested by
my article which has
given great trouble to
you and infinitely more
to me. Look up page
200 of Century particularly
where I refer to novel facts.
The report is not likely

to be true but it
is singular that I
have also found a solution
which I have been following
up since a long time
and which promises very
well. I was at the
point of revealing my
method in the article
but you pressed[?] me to
find[?] that I did not have
enough energy left to
do it. I am glad
The conditions at the

Pic of Teneriffe are
ideal for the success
of such methods as
I contemplate to employ
for getting a steady
supply of small 3 amounts
of energy.

Sorry I was unable
to call.


Tesla once called the June 1900 Century article the most important he had written. The "novel facts" citation mentioned in the letter is found on page 200 of the article in the first column, next to the last paragraph, first sentence.4


Discussion of the "novel facts" just precedes the article's subsection dealing with a,

"'Self-Acting’ Machine... Capable... of Deriving Energy From the Medium."

A careful examination of the article reveals the inventor believed his design for an electrical generator which is its own prime mover, that is, does not "consume any fuel," would not violate the energy conservation principle.


Tesla believed, rather, that his design transformed one form of energy into another.5


  1. The Tesla-Johnson letter and Herald clipping are used with permission of the Nikola Tesla Collection, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University, New York City.

  2. The nickname Tesla gave to Johnson refers to "Luka Filipov... a legendary Serbian hero he admired..." Margaret Cheney, Tesla: Man Out of Time, Dell, 1983, pg. 83.

  3. Underlined in the manuscript. Tesla's attitude was that any amount of power less than that needed for a good sized city was "small."

  4. The page numbering in the original article differs from the reproduction in the Belgrade Lectures, Patent, Articles. In the reproduction, page 200 of the magazine corresponds to pages A-138 and A-139.

  5. An analysis of the inventions intended by Tesla in this letter is found in: Oliver Nichelson, "Nikola Tesla's Later Energy Designs," IECEC, 26th Proceedings, Am. Nuclear Society, Vol. 4, pp. 439-444, 1991.