Of the two, Tesla's experiments were the most sensational. He hoped to supply wireless power to New England and beyond by transferring electrical energy from Niagara Falls to a 187-foot, mushroom-shaped tower he built in Shoreham, on New York's Long Island, in 1901-02.
Wall Street mogul J.P. Morgan financed the structure, known as Wardenclyffe Tower, at a cost of about $200,000.
Tesla explained his theory at the time: "I thought that with the machine now completed I can disturb the electrical conditions of the earth. That I shall be able to transmit thought or information I am convinced; and I hope with equal assurance to supply power to distant localities on this earth without the medium of wires. At Niagara it may be possible to generate electrical energy that can be used to drive mills in New England, railroad trains across the prairies and steamships across the sea."
But the tower never functioned as Tesla dreamed. Morgan became disenchanted as Tesla asked for more money. The tower was ordered torn down in 1917 by the federal government, which feared it was being used by German spies. It was sold for scrap to help pay for some of Tesla's debts.