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Directory:Tesla's Pierce-Arrow

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Of all the legends about Nikola Tesla, one of the most intriguing is about a Pierce-Arrow electric automobile that he ran on a little black box, extracting energy freely somehow from the wheelwork of nature, requiring no petrol. Eventually, it would be nice if we could replicate the accomplishment.




1930 Pierce-Arrow Twin Cowl Phaeton, from French export catalog
1930 Pierce-Arrow Twin Cowl Phaeton, from French export catalog

The following is an extract from EVWorld:

"In the summer of 1931, Nikola Tesla along with his nephew Peter Savo, installed a box on the front seat of a brand new Pierce-Arrow touring car at the company factory in Buffalo, New York. The box is said to have been 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 6 inches high. Out of it protruded a 1.8 meter long antenna and two ¼ inch metal rods. Inside the box was reputed to be some dozen vacuum tubes -- 70-L-7 type -- and other electrical parts. Two wire leads ran from the box to a newly-installed 40 inch long, 30 inch diameter AC motor that replaced the gasoline engine.
"As the story goes, Tesla inserted the two metal rods and announced confidently, "We now have power" and then proceeded to drive the car for a week, "often at speeds of up to 90 mph." One account says the motor developed 1,800 rpm and got fairly hot when operating, requiring a cooling fan. The "converter" box is said to have generated enough electrical energy to also power the lights in a home.
"The car is said to have ended up on a farm 20 miles outside of Buffalo, not far from Niagra Falls."

One of the legends about this car is that at one point Nikola Tesla took JP Morgan (born April 17, 1837 – died March 31, 1913) for a spin in the 1931 car. JP Morgan noticed that the car was not making any sound from the engine. When he realized that the vehicle required no fuel, but was getting its energy somehow invisibly and freely, he chilled on the idea, inamsuch as it would put a stop to the need for petrol to run vehicles. After that, allegedly, was when Tesla ended up with posh accommodations in the New Yorker hotel; and nothing ever came of the car or the concept.

  • Tesla > Pierce-Arrow >
    Nikola Tesla's "Black Magic" Touring Car - Tesla reportedly bought 12 vacuum tubes, some wires and assorted resistors, and assembled them in a circuit box 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 6 inches high, with a pair of 3-inch rods sticking out. Getting into the car with the circuit box in the front seat beside him, he pushed the rods in and announced, "We now have power". (BeforeItsNews; July 10, 2011)
  • Electromagnetic > Tesla > Pierce-Arrow >
    Nikola Tesla's Wireless Electric Automobile Explained - Nikola Tesla proved in 1931 that it is possible to power our vehicles without a drop of fossil fuel. He removed the gasoline engine of a Pierce Arrow and replaced it with an electric motor and drove for hours, at speeds as high as 90 mph. (Compilation by Zach Royer.) (ApparentlyApparel; May 5, 2012)


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Similar to work done by T.H. Morray

On July 14, 2006, Bryan Pappas <bpappas {at}> wrote:

You just ran an article about "Tesla's Pierce-Arrow". It described a box that he used to power the electric motor in the vehicle. It is interestingly similar to T.H. Morray's work. He to developed a box that was capable of producing about 50 KW ( close to the 80 HP of Telsa's ride) and it was mobile. We usually read about how Morray had to ground his system, but in later versions he was powering up a bank of lights while driving in the backseat of a car. It wasn't powering up the vehicle, but it could have. He used tubes that used a colomeration of materials that he called the "Swedish Stone". This is what he said the secret to his device was. Tesla inserted "two metal rods" into the box that powered the Pierce-Arrow. Perhaps a similar substance? Also T.H. Morray was a student of Tesla. Possibly a lot of coincidence, but it is intriguing none the less.

Similar to Radio Receiver

On October 25, 2009, Daniel Alvarez Arribas wrote:

It reminds me of a radio receiver.

Tesla worked on the idea of wireless energy transmission (see his Wardenclyffe tower).

Radio receivers can convert radio waves into electricity. This is evident e. g. in crystal radio receivers - which do not have any additional power source, but yet produce sound.

Tesla did actually build radio receivers for the purpose of receiving energy from radio waves, e. g. in one his experiments in Colorado Springs, were he used one to power a light bulb.

The device in the Pierce Arrow could have been as simple as a powerful radio receiver hooked up to an AC/DC inverter and then to the AC electric engine. All he would have needed is a powerful radio transmitter within receiving range. Which is what he was continuouly working on anyway.

By the way, classic crystal radios were built of a coil and something called a Cat's whisker detector, the key element of which is a semiconducting galena cristal. Galena occurs naturally mostly in central and northern Europe. Maybe galena is what T. H. Morray referred to as the "Swedish stone".

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