This is the most definitive source I've ever come across on Tesla. This guy is either correct - that energy can be drawn electromagnetically from the vacuum, and Tesla did this...long before Hal Puthoff (mentioned here) came out with his quantum-confirming research - or Beardon is so far out of his mind...well, I don't know. But it sounds right to me. Check it out:
From: Greg Bear
Ah, Mr. Tesla strikes again! This sort of claim has been going on since the 1930s at least. No comment from this end. I do know that our cat can draw static energy from the vacuum--that's why she stays in a corner when we clean house.
I sometimes think its a shame that Tesla is not properly remembered for what it can be proven he did.
Try wikipedia for a reasonable resume
Saying that, anyone who invents the wireless transmition of electrical energy with one of the worlds largest copper producers as his sponsor would seem likely to be in a spot of bother, eh?
The Privilege....heheheheh, that's The Prestige, right? That was David Bowie? Later...I didn't notice at ALL. Of course that was an artistic license around the teleportation gig Tesla was interested in, although, the whole 'nother you' thing is definitely golden age sci-fi at its best. Retro, but still stimulating for the common folk.
In any case, I think reasons such as the obfuscation of scalar field theory have kept me from studying seriously any of the physical sciences. Just a little prescient hint.
From: Greg Bear
Why, I don't know what you're referring to, Patrick--
Ex post facto magic in the editing room!