Note: One bio, by an engineer and therefore I think taking a more sober approach (no "woo" science) is by Carlson (Tesla: The Inventor of the Electrical Age) describes Tesla turning on his resonance device in Manhattan and, according to Tesla (at least in the bio) objects started to fly around that laboratory and Tesla, convinced the building would soon collapse, destroyed the device with a hammer (apparently an "off" switch had not been included?). Police came and Tesla suggested to them that they had experienced an earthquake. (Interestingly, this book debunks the "death ray" rumor and does so by quoting from the analysis (done after Tesla's passing) by Trump's MIT prof uncle -- this was before Donald Trump's presidency and so Donald himself is not mentioned.)

In every Tesla biography I have read, a device which by delivering multiple small "taps" at the resonance frequency of, for example, the office building the device was in, was able to produce huge effects -- when Tesla tried this in the late 1800s in Manhattan, police were told "an earthquake" must have been responsible.

Is it possible that such a device would actually produce the effects that Tesla asserted had occurred?

  • $\begingroup$ research Tacoma narrows bridge disaster $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Commented Apr 29 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @jsotola: I am aware of resonance, but in the case of Tesla it is relatively small device, not winds which caused the bridge disaster. $\endgroup$
    – releseabe
    Commented Apr 29 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ Was it the wind? or was it the resonance? causing the disaster? $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Apr 29 at 5:18
  • $\begingroup$ the wind was light $\endgroup$
    – jsotola
    Commented Apr 29 at 6:03
  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide sources to one or two of the biographies which mention this? Also "...was able to produce huge effects" is quite vague. $\endgroup$
    – AJN
    Commented Apr 29 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


From wikipedia:

The oscillator/"earthquake machine" was explored in 2006 in Episode 60 – "Earthquake Machine". The MythBusters made a device powered by electricity rather than steam. It produced vibrations that could be felt hundreds of feet away, but no earthquake shaking on the bridge they attached to; they judged that the claim that the device produced an earthquake to be false (i.e. a "busted myth").



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