(WATCH) The power and beauty of Niagara Falls

About 17 miles north northwest of Buffalo, New York, on the Canadian border, is a group of three famous waterfalls. You may know the name — but you might not know all the history. Today, we’re heading north to find out about the power behind the beauty of Niagara Falls.

One of the most-visited tourist attractions in the world is open almost every day of the year, but nearly empty on the coldest.

Angela Berti is a New York state park spokesman.

Angela Berti: Each year we get about 9 million visitors. Certainly this time of year is not the bulk of that.

Which means relatively few ever witness Niagara Falls in person when it looks like this [frozen]. But it wasn’t always this way.

Berti: So, right now we’re looking at one of the most natural attractions in the world, but, like you said, if you could picture mills lining the river, industry was using the river in the 1800s and the water that was being generated to generate power.

The bleaker side of Niagara Falls is profiled in a film shown on site.

NYS Parks film: It is 1869, and the beauty of Niagara Falls has been overwhelmed by crass commercialism and bleak industry. The land surrounding Niagara Falls are largely controlled by private owners and public access to the falls is limited.

Berti: It was all privately-owned land. We’re standing on Goat Island right now, which was also privately-owned. It was an amusement park, for crying out loud. And so, in order to come here and see the falls, you would pay to peep through a peephole, and people decided that that wasn’t good, and that it should be restored to a natural green space open to the public, and 140 years later we’re doing that.

What many visitors may not know is that an important part of Niagara’s transformation is rooted in an important scientific discovery.

Berti: So it’s part of the power story here, Nikola Tesla did find alternating current here at Niagara Falls State Park. He came here with George Westinghouse, and they worked to create alternating current, and that was done right here at Niagara Falls.

At the time, the only kind of electric power used in homes was DC or Direct Current. Problem was, it couldn’t be transmitted over long distances and couldn’t be easily converted for a variety of appliances and uses.

That’s where scientist Nikola Tesla entered the picture, inventing generators that produced alternating current, or AC, that could travel over long distances.

NYS Parks film: Armed with his invention, Tesla teams up with another proponent of AC power, industrialist George Westinghouse. A competition is held for the contract to build the new Adam’s Power Plant at Niagara Falls. Tesla and Westinghouse demonstrate the advantages of alternating current at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. They win the commission.

Adam’s Power Plant went online in 1895, the first hydroelectric power plant of its size, and the first to generate AC power. A feat showcased at Buffalo’s Pan-Am Expo in 1901.

NYS Parks film: To the amazement and wonder of all, the Adam’s Power Plant at Niagara Falls lights up the Pan-Am Expo in Buffalo in a spectacular and dazzling display of lights, unlike anything ever seen before.

Today, Niagara remains an important source of power for New York state and beyond.

Sharyl (on-camera): Behind what tourists see as a natural wonder is a complex system that carefully controls the water flow as needed for appearances, or based on how much electricity is needed.

Berti: The power authority does control the flow in conjunction with the Canadians. There’s the International Joint Commission, which oversees all of that. So they don’t just arbitrarily get to stop it and slow it down and whatnot. But in the summertime, in the tourism season, you’re going to see a lot more water go over. In the evenings and this time of year, you’re seeing less.

Sharyl: Because they regulate it that way?

Berti: They’re regulating it. In the summer, obviously we need more electricity for air conditionings and whatnot. But they’re very clear that during the day, when people are here, you get the full effect, for whatever that’s worth.

Sharyl (on-camera): The three waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls have the highest flow rate among waterfalls in North America with a vertical drop of more than 160 feet.

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3 thoughts on “(WATCH) The power and beauty of Niagara Falls”

  1. This article on exciting New energy ? Check out this New Fuel discovery example; [ % NH4 NO3 + Liquid Hydrogen ] The example raises the reactivity of Hydrogen with a small % of added nitrate..If you further add You created a New rocket Fuel .. New chemistry fuel’s ..From the inner mind to the outer limits, from Area 15 Indiana. Rochester, IN.

  2. This story is intriguing and also identifies the year in which a different sort of a “discovery” took place. Though this story is not entirely “new” we know that electricity had existed long, long before Tesla and Westinghouse teamed up to build that power plant On a side note, evidently Nikola Tesla soon afterwards went to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado where he developed a method of harnessing what is now known to NASA and other scientifically oriented folks as the “Global Electric Circuit.” or GEC for short The experiments Tesla did in Colorado showed that electrical energy comes into and ‘charges’ the planet, wherever there is a high pressure system in the atmosphere. (For the purposes of this comment, let’s call that ‘afferent’ electrical energy.) On the other side of the GEC – electrical energy actually escapes and ‘leaves’ planet earth during low pressure atmospheric conditions and can also sometimes be seen coming from a volcano during eruptions. (In conjuntion with this comment let’s refer to that electricity as ‘efferent’ electrical energy.) There is a marvelous video of a recent volcanic eruption in Guatemala in which some brave person was filming the eruptiuon and caught a bolt of lightening – electricity – undeniably coming out of the planet and going up into the atmosphere. If you need to ‘See it to believe it’ you can find it on Insta gram on “dezabedrosky’s” Instagram channel. That is David Zabedrosky’s channel If could, I would include a link however since I don’t have or do instagram myself – I couldn’t quite figure out how. Also, a ‘postscript’ about NiKola Tesla and his discovery in Colorado follows near the end of this comment, so please keep reading.

    Okay, on to that other ‘discovery’ in 1895. There was a man who delivered milk in Davenport, Iowa back in those times, the 1890’s. His name was Harvey Lillard. In September of 1895 Mr. Lillard was making his usual rounds of milk deliveries when he got into a conversation with one of his customers. The customer knew that Mr. Lillard was hard of hearing and the two got into a chat about it. Mr. Lillard told the customer that one time several years earlier, he was lifting two or three milk crates at once to load them onto his delivery wagon. He said he heard a loud “Pop” in his upper back. Thereafter Harvey Lillard began to lose his hearing and had gone nearly deaf during the 2 or 3 days that followed. This customer had been doing what he could to help people with what was then known as ‘Magnetic Healing.” So he suggested to Mr. Lillard that he come back agian after his deliveries were finished for that day. The customer, a man named Palmer, thought that if he could locate the source of that “Pop” sound he might be able to help to improve Mr. Lillard’s hearing

    Mr. Lillard returned and they talked a bit more before Mr. Palmer asked Mr. Lillard to lie down on the table he often used with the folks who came to him for his work. Mr. Palmer was able to fairly quickly locate a spot on Mr. Lillard’s upper back at the base of his neck. Mr. Lillard said he thought it was the spot where the problem had come from. It seemed to Mr. Palmer that there was one vertebra which was very much out of line with the other vertebrae nearby. Palmer reasoned that if he could push it back to where it ought to be that might help Mr. Lillard with his hearing loss. So they decided it was worth trying and Palmer pushed on the tender bone. The two of them agreed that over the course of the next few days they would try the process again. On the third attempt Mr. Lillard was more relaxed and Palmer pushed harder and faster. Both of them heard another big and loud Pop! Over the course of the next few days Mr. Lillard’s hearing returned. Since this was so very exciting Mr. Palmer began to study the human spine in great detail.

    A few years later Mr. Palmer got into lengthy discussions with Rev. Samuel Weed who was a language scholar. They decided that Palmer had discovered a new form of healing and it needed to have its own name. Actually, it was neither entirely new nor so totally unique – and yet it was different. As it turns out the reknowned Greek Philosopher Hippocrates, wrote thirty-nine different books on the subject of healing. One of those books was devoted entirely to addressing afflictions of and problems with the human spine. Furthermore, Hippocrates’ book included methods for dealing with spinal problems So, Rev. Weed suggested the name Chiropractic which comes from two Greek words – Chiro and Praktos. In essence, the name that Rev Weed suggested means “Hand Done” or ‘Done by Hand.’ Nerve signals are direct current electrical signals. Generally the signal which come into the spinal cord and brain from the body and the head are afferent signals. Those signals, again generally speaking which travel from the brain and spinal cord and go outward are called efferent signals. Some physiologists would tell you much of the electrical energy in the body is generated chemically from food and the remainder through movement. Certain physicians might say that the Kidneys are akin to batteries, and thus can ‘store’ energy.. Of course the Kidneys also filter the blood and produce several hormones – mostly related to blood pressure management A number of books such as The Body Electric by Robert O Becker have been written to describe how the body operates on electricity.

    Meanwhile although Niagra Falls is one place I have only seen on film, TV or videos the movement of so much water is awesome to behold. I am glad to learn that the natural scenic beauty there is restored and preserved., One other mostly unheard of scientist was Viktor Schauberger. Like Tesla, he had many observations and created several concepts and inventions. Only recently did he and his work come to my awareness. Viktor Schauberger also developed methods for harnessing the power of moving water which utilized a type of vortex design. V. Schauberger was known for the expression “Comprehend and Copy Nature.” Hopefully people who are much younger than myself will discover and develop his work. Burning “stuff” is old hat, mostly toxic in one way or another. Schauberger is one of several brilliant people who remain largely unheard of and it seems the reasons can be found in ‘the rest ofthe story’ about Nikola Tesla, below.

    Above, I wrote that I would return to NiKola Tesla in this comment Soon after returning from his experiments in Coloado Tesla sought funding for his concepts that he had created in the course of the experiments with electricity. Although George Westinghouse had banking contacts, at that stage in time, he was much more focussed on Hydro-electric development using moving water to create electrical power. At the time Thomas Edison was also interested and involved in utilizing electricity. However it seems Edison’s focus was much more direted to developing extensive wiring (grids) and he had his mind’s eye looking forward to improving electrical lighting.

    Meanwhile electrical generators and motors were already invented (using patents and concepts created mostly by Tesla) and under development and improvement So Tesla went to a number of different Bankers, Eventually, on the advice of some of his banking employees – Mr. J. P. Morgan agreed to fund a new Nicola Tesla project on Long Island New York Construction of a Tower at Wardenclyffe was started. After this Tower reached a certain stage, Tesla was asked to come into Mr. Morgan’s Office and meet with him personally. They discussed the progress thus far and Mr. Morgan was contemplating approving an advance of many hundreds of thousands (several millions actually) of dollars for the final stages and completion of the project. Nicola Tesla most likely intended and believed that the real ‘Return on Investment’ would accrue to Morgan and other bankers and financiers over time through the capability to develop hundreds of manufacturing and other businesses, and attract additional tens of thousands of people to the region . Further this electrical supply came from the sky – literally. Recall to mind the Global Electric Circuit. No wood, coal, oil or Natural Gas would be needed to create the electricity. All of this took place well before the development of the concept of ‘splitting atoms’ – ie. Nuclear Energy. So, then after Mr.
    Morgan had spent several minutes reviewing and talking about the project he asked Mr. Tesla: “Where do you put the meters on this system?” (In order to count up and charge for the electrical power.) Reportedly, Nicola Tesla looked back at Mr. Morgan (perhaps a bit perplexed or incredulous) and said, “There are no plans to put meters on this system.” Tesla may have been thinking, ‘ the businesses and homes which will utilize this system will have to buy special receiving antennae, additional specific electrical components and so forth and so on,’ and on and on. Mr. Morgan said words to the effect of ‘Okay, Mr. Tesla, my Vice President for development will be in touch with you in the next few days.’ Reportedly Tesla knew what this meant and he left Morgan’s office somewhat dejected. When the communique came to Tesla a few days later it was a denial of the request for the final advance. So, the tower having been so well engineered and constructed stood for several years before being torn down.

    Readers who will give thought to these comments can find many answers to many of the world’s problems right now. I recently visited a city which I used to go to and love visiting. The wiring all overhead, above, below and around me made me hope to get finished with my purpose for going and just get out of there, and fast. The air is so pulluted now, that an electrical company man who has spent most of his life ou in the county commented that even one of the toughes and strongest species of trees in this vicinity is no longer any good for making fence posts. Enough already though. Hey, let’s wise up people.

    1. Upon re-reading this comment I noted several typos, please pardon them. Also, the electrical company gentleman mentioned near the end of the comment has lived most his life out in the country. Thanks for taking time to read and contemplate this comment. The Image of a frozen Niagra Falls is beautiful. Thank You.

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