Telegram - July 11, 1935
NEW YORK CITY - Nikola Tesla revealed that an earthquake which drew police and ambulances to the region of his laboratory at 48 E. Houston St., New York, in 1898, was the result of a little machine he was experimenting with at the time which:
"you could put in your overcoat pocket."
The bewildered newspapermen pounced upon this as at least one thing they could understand and "the father of modern electricity" told what had happened as follows:
I asked my assistants where did the sound come from. They did not know. I put the machine up a few more notches. There was a louder cracking sound. I knew I was approaching the vibration of the steel building. I pushed the machine a little higher. Suddenly all the heavy machinery in the place was flying around. I grabbed a hammer and broke the machine. The building would have been about our ears in another few minutes. Outside in the street there was pandemonium.
The police and ambulances arrived. I told my assistants to say nothing. We told the police it must have been an earthquake. That's all they ever knew about it.
Some shrewd reporter asked Dr. Tesla at this point what he would need to destroy the Empire State Building and the doctor replied:
"Vibration will do anything. It would only be necessary to step up the vibrations of the machine to fit the natural vibration of the building and the building would come crashing down. That's why soldiers break step crossing a bridge."
A pocket sized machine that brings buildings down. Especially steel framed ones. With a weird crackling sound. Note that many eyewitnesses reported a strange crackling sound before each building fell.
He put his little vibrator in his coat-pocket and went out to hunt a half-erected steel building. Down in the Wall Street District, he found one ten stories of steel framework without a brick or a stone laid around it. He clamped the vibrator to one of the beams, and fussed with the adjustment until he got it.
Tesla said finally the structure began to creak and weave and the steel-workers came to the ground panic-stricken, believing that there had been an earthquake. Police were called out. Tesla put the vibrator in his pocket and went away. Ten minutes more and he could have laid the building in the street. And, with the same vibrator he could have dropped the Brooklyn Bridge into the East River in less than an hour.