While researching this magnificent inventor Nikola Tesla, I was touched and fascinated by his dedication towards electricity. Not only did he invent alternating electricity and the AC motor but as much as 500 US patents related to electricity.
One of the greatest minds of the 19th and 20th centuries, responsible for today’s modern world, NikolaTesla is still virtually unknown to the general public. In fact who do you remember as the inventor of radio? The name that probably comes to mind is Guglielmo Marconi. X-rays, you’d probably say Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. A vacuum tube amp, probably Lee De Forest. Who do you think invented the florescent bulb, neon lights, speedometer, auto ignition system, and the basics behind radar, the electron microscope, and the microwave oven? Chances are you see little, if any, mentions of Nikola Tesla. Very few people today have ever even heard of him. The all-around nice guy and business man Thomas Edison made sure of that.
In his late 30’s in 1884 Tesla moved to the United States and worked as an assistant to Thomas Edison. Edison had just invented the electric light bulb, but he needed a system to distribute electricity to houses. He designed a DC (direct current) system, but never worked the way it was supposed to. Edison promised Tesla lots of money in bonuses if he could figure out the problems. Nikola Tesla took the challenge and ended up saving Edison thousands of dollars, which was millions of dollars by today’s standards. Edison later refused to keep his promise and never paid those promised bonuses. Tesla quit not long after that broken promise and Edison spent the rest of his life discrediting Tesla. This is the main reason Nikola Tesla was never credited for his achievements.
In 1888, Tesla devised a better system of transmission, the AC (alternating current) system used in houses around the world today. By using Tesla’s newly developed transformers, AC could be stepped up and transmitted over long distances through thin wires. Edison’s DC couldn’t be stepped up, required a large power plant every square mile and thick cables for transmission.
Electricity is useless if it can’t do anything, so in 1890 Tesla invented a motor to run on AC, the same type of motor used in every household appliance today. Scientists of the late 1880’s were convinced that no motor could work with AC. Tesla solved this problem and proved them all wrong.
Word of AC eventually got to George Westinghouse. In 1893, Tesla signed a contract with Westinghouse to get $2.50 per Kilowatt of AC sold. Nikola Tesla finally had the money to conduct all of the experiments.
At the World’s Fair, Tesla developed and used florescent bulbs in his lab 4 decades before the power industry “invented” them. Tesla took glass tubes and bent them into famous scientists’ names and these became the first neon signs ever to be seen by the public.
Tesla also designed the world’s first hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls in 1895 and started the electrification of the world. The first hydro-electric power plant in the world, Adam’s Power Station is what remains of the old Niagara Falls Power Plant. This location is a great turning stone in the history of electricity. Adam’s Station Power House is a National Landmark Historical Site. About eight million tourists a year visit the American side of Niagara Falls. About 20 million tourists a year visit the Canadian side. Niagara Falls is one of the most beautiful places in the world, where the electrification of the world started. Niagara Falls are the final victory of Tesla’s Polyphase Alternating Current (AC) Electricity, which is today lights the entire globe.
By that time Edison had too much money invested into his DC system and he tried his best to discredit Tesla by showing that AC was more dangerous than DC. Edison paid local children 25 cents for each stray dog they could bring him. Then he would hold press conferences and electrocute the dogs at public gatherings to frighten people. He claimed that DC could not kill just to discredit the AC technology that Tesla invented.
Although Tesla made every attempt to clear his name and try to convince the public that his AC technology was far more better than DC but without any success due to his honest nature, and generosity.
When working at Westinghouse he was owed a million dollars and settled for a fraction of the amount to avoid Westinghouse going bankrupt. Tesla could have become one of the richest men in the world but instead sold his patents for pennies.
He was so intelligent and ahead of his time that he attempted to create free energy when he began construction of “Wireless Broadcasting System” tower on Long Island, New York. Tesla intended to use it to link the world’s telephone and telegraph, to transmit pictures, stock reports, and weather information. When capitalists learned of this free wireless energy all funding was cut. Tesla ended up selling what was supposed to be the greatest gift to mankind for scrap to pay off creditors.
Edison did everything in his power to discredit Tesla. We’ve always lived in a society filled with greed. Everything Tesla lived for kept been taken away from him.
Still today there are untested theories found in countless notebooks written by Tesla.
Tesla was one of the world’s most original and greatest inventors and thinkers the world has ever known, but because he was so original and out of his time, his genius was mistaken for insanity and science fiction.
The man who invented the modern world died nearly penniless at age 86. Tesla died quietly and alone in room #3327 on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker in New York City.
I hope to write more articles about this great inventor and True Father of Electricity. Please take the time to learn more about this phenomenal kind and honest inventor Nikola Tesla and pass it forward.
Article by Mario Fragapane