“The opinion of the world does not affect me. I have placed as the real values in my life what follows when I am dead.”
Nicola Tesla (July 23rd, 1934).
Who is Nicola Tesla?
Nicola Tesla VS Thomas Edison
In 1884, Tesla moved to New York and was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. He spent a year there, impressing Edison with his perseverance and brilliance. Edison once promised Tesla that he would pay $50,000 for an upgraded design for his DC dynamos. Tesla proposed a solution and requested money after months of experimentation. “Tesla, you don’t grasp our American humor,” Edison objected. Tesla resigned shortly after.
Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse
Tesla found supporters to support his study into alternating current after an unsuccessful attempt to launch his own Tesla Electric Light Company and a period digging ditches for $2 a day. In 1887 and 1888, he received over 30 patents for his ideas and was invited to speak to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers about his work. George Westinghouse, the inventor who had developed the first AC power system in Boston and was Edison’s main adversary in the “Battle of the Currents,” was drawn to his talk.
Westinghouse hired Tesla, licensed his AC motor patents, and gave him his own lab. Edison arranged for a convicted New York murderer to be executed in an AC-powered electric chair in 1890, as a demonstration of how lethal the Westinghouse standard could be.
Tesla set out on his own again, buoyed by Westinghouse’s royalties. However, Westinghouse was quickly compelled to rework their arrangement, with Tesla waiving his royalty rights.Tesla invented electric oscillators, meters, improved lighting, and the Tesla coil, a high-voltage transformer. He also worked with X-rays, demonstrated short-range radio transmission two years before Guglielmo Marconi, and sailed a radio-controlled boat around Madison Square Garden’s pool. Together, Tesla and Westinghouse illuminated the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and collaborated with General Electric to erect alternating current generators at Niagara Falls, resulting in the first modern power station.
Battle of the Currents: Edison(DC) VS Tesla(AC)
The war of currents was a series of events that occurred in the late 1880s and early 1890s in response to the installation of competing electric power transmission systems. It evolved from two lighting systems created in the late 1870s and early 1880s.
In 1886, the Edison system was challenged by a new competitor: an alternating current system invented by George Westinghouse’s business that employed transformers to scale down from a high voltage so that AC could be used for indoor lighting. High voltage allowed an alternating current system to transmit power over longer distances from more efficient huge central generating plants. As the usage of alternating current spread, the Edison Electric Light Company argued in early 1888 that the high voltages employed in an alternating current system were dangerous, and that the design was inferior to, and infringed on, their direct current system’s patents.
The war ended as AC won, Edison moved on to other inventions and Edison Electric and other companies merged to form General Electric.
Nicola Tesla Inventions:
“An inventor’s endeavor is essentially lifesaving. Whether he harnesses forces, improves devices, or provides new comforts and conveniences, he is adding to the safety of our existence.”
Throughout his life, Nikola Tesla invented countless technological advancements. The math and physics prodigy, born in Smiljan, Croatia, in 1856, made innovations that continue to touch our lives today. He possessed almost 300 patents but was only recognized for a few of them, indicating that many of his ideas were tested and failed or were never well known. He sketched the first designs of his proposal to build an electromagnetic engine in 1882, after graduating from the Technical University of Graz and the University of Prague. His initial employment was selling DC power plants for ConEd, which led to his move to the United States in 1884.
- AC Power (alternating current)
- Tesla Coil
- Magnifying Transmitter
- Tesla Turbine
- Neon Lamp
- Hydroelectric Power
- Induction Motor
- Radio Controlled Boat
Nicola Tesla Death
Tesla’s New York lab burned down in 1895, losing years of documents and equipment. Tesla spent two years in Colorado Springs before returning to New York in 1900. He received funding from banker J.P. Morgan and began construction on a global communications network based on a massive tower in Wardenclyffe, Long Island. However, finances ran out, and Morgan refused Tesla’s extravagant ambitions.
Tesla spent the latter decades of his life in a New York hotel, working on new ideas as his energy and mental health waned. His fascination with the number three, as well as his obsessive washing, were dismissed as idiosyncrasies of genius. He spent his latter years feeding pigeons and, he believed, talking with them.
On January 7, 1943, Tesla died in his room. Later that year, the United States Supreme Court invalidated four of Marconi’s key patents, finally acknowledging Tesla’s radio achievements. The alternating current method he championed and enhanced is still the global standard for power transmission.
Prepared by: Hassan Nasser
September 24, 2022
1- History.com Editors. (2009, November 9). Nikola Tesla. History.com. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/nikola-tesla
2- A&E Networks Television. (2022, January 7). Nikola Tesla. Biography.com. Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://www.biography.com/inventor/nikola-tesla
3- Nikola Tesla Inventions. Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe. (2020, November 10). Retrieved September 24, 2022, from https://teslasciencecenter.org/nikola-tesla-inventions/