Before inspiring the name behind a line of eco-friendly cars, Nikola Tesla was a major innovator who, despite being pretty much driven to obscurity by his rival Thomas Edison, managed to develop technological advances far beyond his time. Unfortunately, he was not always able to see all his goals to fruition.
Then again, that might be a good thing, seeing as one of those goals was a “death ray.”
The proposed device, which Tesla referred to as “Teleforce,” would focus an electrically charged stream of energy through the air. If used effectively, Tesla believed that it could “bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy airplanes at a distance of 200 miles from a defending nation's border” as well as “cause armies to drop dead in their tracks.”
Despite trying to peddle this idea to various governments, including our own, Tesla couldn’t find anyone interested in funding the idea, probably because it sounded like the rantings of a lunatic. This was the 1930s, after all. Insane weapons technology was still in its infancy.