The internet seems to have a love affair with Nikola Tesla! It’s not difficult to see why though. He certainly seems like a man ahead of his time, if even half the stories about him are to be believed!
Tesla worked for, quit, and competed against Thomas Edison in the “War of the Currents”. Tesla had created Alternating Current (AC), the standard for electric power generation and transmission and developed AC generators and motors. This was Direct Competition (pun intended) with Edison’s interests in Direct Current (DC) technology.
Nikola Tesla’s experiments were backed by some of the wealthiest men of his time: George Westinghouse, J.P. Morgan and John Jacob Astor. However, Mr. Tesla didn’t always take his experiments where the backers thought he would.
While tinkering with oscillators, one story claims that he nearly brought down the buildings surrounding him before police intervened.It’s also said that Tesla used the power of oscillators to “suddenly cure” author Mark Twain of constipation.
Tesla suggested core concepts for radar to the US Military, created a remote control toy boat and tried to perfect a wireless means of transmitting electricity. He dabbled with X-Rays and radio communications and death rays and basically anything that he could conceive of that would work with electricity! And he held more than 300 patents worldwide.
A recluse genius with home-made lightning flashing around him? Tesla can pretty much be seen as the archetype for the mad scientist!
What’s not to love!?
“In the twenty-first century, the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization.”
Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943)
According to Tesla: He was working for Thomas Edison and told Edison that he could redesign Edison’s Direct Current (DC) motors and generators to be more economical and efficient. Edison said that he would pay Tesla $50,000 for the design. When Tesla completed the design, Edison reportedly said “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.”, and only offered to increase Tesla’s salary from $10 a week to $18. Tesla quit. Tesla held numerous patents for Alternating Current (AC) systems which were licensed to George Westinghouse. AC systems competed directly with Edison’s DC systems and led to the “War of the Currents”, eventually won by AC, Westinghouse and, of course, Tesla. At his death, Tesla held over 250 patents, but likely didn’t invent a death ray; although the FBI seized all of his papers, just in case.
There is a Nikola Tesla Award given for “outstanding contribution to the generation or utilization of electric power”, a Tesla Museum in Belgrade and an electric car company founded by Elon Musk named Tesla.
Vote here for the inclusion of Nikola Tesla in the first issue of HubbleGum Cards:
Copyright for the image of Tesla sitting in his Colorado Springs lab by http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/obf_images/4c/6e/da5709a57832dbbb048ba4a17fe6.jpgGallery: http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/M0014782.htmlPhotographer: Dickenson V. Alley, CC BY 4.0, Link