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Serbian-American engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) made dozens of breakthroughs in the production, transmission and application of electric power. He invented the first alternating current (AC) motor and developed AC generation and transmission technology. Though he was famous and respected, he was never able to translate his copious inventions into long-term financial success—unlike his early employer and chief rival, Thomas Edison.
Nikola Tesla’s Early Years
Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in Smiljan, Croatia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His father was a priest in the Serbian Orthodox church and his mother managed the family’s farm. In 1863 Tesla’s brother Daniel was killed in a riding accident. The shock of the loss unsettled the 7-year-old Tesla, who reported seeing visions—the first signs of his lifelong mental illnesses.
Tesla studied math and physics at the Technical University of Graz and philosophy at the University of Prague. In 1882, while on a walk, he came up with the idea for a brushless AC motor, making the first sketches of its rotating electromagnets in the sand of the path. Later that year he moved to Paris and got a job repairing direct current (DC) power plants with the Continental Edison Company. Two years later he immigrated to the United States.
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison
Tesla arrived in New York in 1884 and was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. He worked there for a year, impressing Edison with his diligence and ingenuity. At one point Edison told Tesla he would pay $50,000 for an improved design for his DC dynamos. After months of experimentation, Tesla presented a solution and asked for the money. Edison demurred, saying, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.” Tesla quit soon after.
Nikola Tesla and Westinghouse
After an unsuccessful attempt to start his own Tesla Electric Light Company and a stint digging ditches for $2 a day, Tesla found backers to support his research into alternating current. In 1887 and 1888 he was granted more than 30 patents for his inventions and invited to address the American Institute of Electrical Engineers on his work. His lecture caught the attention of George Westinghouse, the inventor who had launched the first AC power system near Boston and was Edison’s major competitor in the “Battle of the Currents.”
Westinghouse hired Tesla, licensed the patents for his AC motor and gave him his own lab. In 1890 Edison arranged for a convicted New York murderer to be put to death in an AC-powered electric chair—a stunt designed to show how dangerous the Westinghouse standard could be.
Buoyed by Westinghouse’s royalties, Tesla struck out on his own again. But Westinghouse was soon forced by his backers to renegotiate their contract, with Tesla relinquishing his royalty rights.
In the 1890s Tesla invented electric oscillators, meters, improved lights and the high-voltage transformer known as the Tesla coil. He also experimented with X-rays, gave short-range demonstrations of radio communication two years before Guglielmo Marconi and piloted a radio-controlled boat around a pool in Madison Square Garden. Together, Tesla and Westinghouse lit the 1891 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and partnered with General Electric to install AC generators at Niagara Falls, creating the first modern power station.
Nikola Tesla’s Failures, Death and Legacy
In 1895 Tesla’s New York lab burned, destroying years’ worth of notes and equipment. Tesla relocated to Colorado Springs for two years, returning to New York in 1900. He secured backing from financier J.P. Morgan and began building a global communications network centered on a giant tower at Wardenclyffe, on Long Island. But funds ran out and Morgan balked at Tesla’s grandiose schemes.
Tesla lived his last decades in a New York hotel, working on new inventions even as his energy and mental health faded. His obsession with the number three and fastidious washing were dismissed as the eccentricities of genius. He spent his final years feeding—and, he claimed, communicating with—the city’s pigeons.
Tesla died in his room on January 7, 1943. Later that year the U.S. Supreme Court voided four of Marconi’s key patents, belatedly acknowledging Tesla’s innovations in radio. The AC system he championed and improved remains the global standard for power transmission.
Nikola Tesla - Inventions, Facts and Death - HISTORY
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Nikola Tesla’s 5 Lost Inventions That Threatened The Global Elite
Most great inventions fundamentally change the society in which they exist. Since the people at the top of the social structure have more to gain by reinforcing the status quo, they suppress revolutionary technologies favorable to the world but dangerous to their existence.
Engineering genius Nikola Tesla was no exception. Here’re some of those technologies, ‘they’ don’t want you to know about Nikola Tesla:
Nikola Tesla claimed to have invented a “death beam” which he called Teleforce in the 1930s. The device was capable of generating an intense targeted beam of energy “that could be used to dispose of enemy warplanes, foreign armies, or anything else you’d rather didn’t exist”. The so-called “death ray” was never constructed because he believed it would become too easy for counties to destroy each other.
Tesla proposed that a nation could “destroy anything approaching within 200 miles… [and] will provide a wall of power” in order to “make any country, large or small, impregnable against armies, airplanes, and other means for attack”. He said that efforts had been made to steal the invention. His room had been entered and his papers had been scrutinized, but the thieves, or spies, left empty-handed.
In 1898, Tesla claimed he had built and deployed a small oscillating device that, when attached to his office and operating, nearly shook down the building and everything around it. In other words, the device could allegedly simulate earthquakes. Realizing the potential terrors such a device could create, “Tesla said he took a hammer to the oscillator to disable it, instructing his employees to claim ignorance to the cause of the tremors if asked”.
Some theorists believe the government continues to use Tesla’s research in places like the HAARP facility in Alaska.
Free Electricity System
With funding from JP Morgan, Tesla designed and built Wardenclyffe Tower, a gigantic wireless transmission station, in New York in 1901-1902. Morgan thought the Wardenclyffe Tower could provide wireless communication across the world. However, Tesla had other plans.
Tesla intended to transmit messages, telephony, and even facsimile images across the Atlantic to England and to ships at sea based on his theories of using the Earth to conduct the signals. If the project worked, anyone could have electricity by simply sticking a rode into the ground. Unfortunately, free electricity is not profitable.
And this system could be incredibly dangerous for the global elite because it could profoundly change the energy industry. Imagine how different the world would be if society didn’t need oil and coal to function? Could the great world powers maintain control? Morgan refused to fund the changes. The project was abandoned in 1906 and never became operational.
The Flying Saucer
In 1911, Nikola Tesla told The New York Herald that he was working on an anti-gravity “flying machine”.
“My flying machine will have neither wings nor propellers. You might see it on the ground and you would never guess that it was a flying machine. Yet it will be able to move at will through the air in any direction with perfect safety, at higher speeds than have yet been reached, regardless of weather and oblivious of “holes in the air” or downward currents.
It will ascend in such currents if desired. It can remain absolutely stationary in the air, even in a wind, for a great length of time. Its lifting power will not depend upon any such delicate devices as the bird has to employ but upon positive mechanical action.”
Tesla’s flying saucer was powered by a free energy system at a time when the fledgling aviation and motor car industry depended on oil and petroleum. His invention met the same fate as his free energy system.
Tesla proposed that electrically-powered airships would transport passengers from New York to London in three hours, traveling eight miles above the ground. He also imagined that airships might draw their power from the very atmosphere, never needing to stop for refueling.
Unmanned airships might even be used to transport passengers to a preselected destination or for a remote aerial strike. He was never given credit for his invention. However, today, we have unmanned drones carrying out combat missions, supersonic airplanes that fly at amazing speeds, and space shuttle technology that can circle the Earth in the upper atmosphere.
It was long suspected that the FBI literally stole all of his work, research, and inventions that he had in his possession when he died. This rumor has now been confirmed by recent, heavily redacted Freedom of Information Act requests released by the FBI.
3. He wanted to use Niagara Falls to power the whole world
If you happen to visit Niagara Falls today, you’ll find statues of Nikola Tesla on both its American and Canadian borders.
These statues were erected in honor of Tesla building history’s first hydro-electric power plant nearby, but they are also a testament of the ambition that befell him upon seeing the Niagara Falls for the first time and stating that he wanted to build a giant wheel under them to power the whole world.
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer and inventor who is highly regarded in energy history for his development of alternating current (AC) electrical systems. He also made extraordinary contributions in the fields of electromagnetism and wireless radio communications.
Early Life and Education:
Nikola Tesla was born in the Croatian town of Smiljan (Austrian Empire) on 10 July in 1856 to a priest father. He studied electrical engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz and later attended the Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague. Unfortunately his father died early, and he had to leave the university after completing only one term.
Tesla accepted a job under Tivadar Puskás in a Budapest telegraph company in 1880. He was later promoted to chief electrician and later engineer for the company. He later moved to Paris to work for the Continental Edison Company as an engineer.
Contributions and Achievements:
After moving to New York, United States, Tesla worked for Thomas Alva Edison, but the two did not get along well. He started working with George Westinghouse in 1885. There, he devised an electrical distribution system that employed alternating current (AC).
Tesla made public the first successful wireless energy transfer to power electronic devices in 1891.
Probably Tesla’s most important contribution to energy history is the use of alternating current (AC). The Westinghouse Electric Company was the first to implement this technology by lighting the World Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It proved to be a more efficient and effective method compared to the direct current (DC) system of Edison, to transport electricity in a grid. The technology quickly became the basis for most modern electricity distribution systems. Besides the AC system, Tesla helped in the development of generators and turbine design. The earliest demonstration of fluorescent lighting was also his accomplishment.
Later Life and Death:
Nikola Tesla continued his research work on electricity generation and turbine design in his later life. Even at 81, he claimed to have completed a “dynamic theory of gravity” – something which was never published. He died in New York City of a heart thrombus on 7 January 1943. He was 86 years old.
Happy 158th, Nikola Tesla! Strange Facts About the Inventor
Nikola Tesla may be known today as one of history's greatest inventors, but the intrepid scientist's eccentricities have become as legendary as his trailblazing discoveries in the field of electricity.
Tomorrow (July 10) marks the 158th anniversary of Tesla's birth, and to celebrate the occasion, Live Science is looking back at Tesla's legacy, the cult of personality that has developed around the inventor in the years after his death, and the decades-old debate about who should be crowned the greatest inventor of all time : Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison.
Though Tesla holds 112 lifetime U.S. patents, and is most famous for helping to develop the modern alternating current (AC) system of electric power, the inventor died penniless and in relative obscurity on Jan. 7, 1943, at age 86. [ Creative Genius: The World's Greatest Minds ]
Tesla's outsized and quirky personality, along with some of his more far-out ideas — such as his experiments to develop a particle gun, or death ray — earned him a reputation that fell somewhere between "creative genius" and "mad scientist." But while some regard him as the true father of electricity, others have come to remember Tesla more for his peculiarities than his accomplishments.
Here are some of the strangest facts about Tesla:
-Tesla rarely slept, and claimed he never dozed for longer than two hours. The inventor also said he once worked for 84 hours straight without any rest, according to John O'Neil, author of the book "Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla" (Cosimo Inc., 2006).
-Later in his life, Tesla frequented parks in New York City, often rescuing injured pigeons and nursing them back to health. A special PBS report on Tesla's life and legacy claimed that when the inventor took up residence at the Hotel New Yorker, "he had the hotel chef prepare a special mix of seed for his pigeons, which he hoped to sell commercially."
-Tesla was a vegetarian, but eventually limited himself to a peculiar diet of only milk, honey, bread and vegetable juices, according to Marc Seifer, author of "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla," (Citadel Press, 1996). Later in life, he was consumed by an extreme aversion to germs, and would only eat food that had been boiled, reported PBS.
-Tesla allegedly had a photographic memory, and could memorize entire books, according to Margaret Cheney, author of "Tesla: Man Out of Time" (Simon and Schuster, 2001).
-According to Seifer's book "Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla," the inventor claimed that repeatedly squishing his toes helped to stimulate his brain cells. In fact, Tesla reportedly performed his toe exercises nightly, 100 times for each foot.
-Tesla spent decades as a New York City resident, and to commemorate his connection to the Big Apple, the intersection of 40th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan is named "Nikola Tesla Corner." A plaque honoring Tesla can also be found on the façade of the New Yorker Hotel, where the inventor died.
-Tesla died in Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel on Jan. 7, 1943. A death mask was commissioned after a medical examiner inspected the body. The mask is on display in the Nikola Tesla museum in Belgrade, Serbia.
Follow Denise Chow on Twitter. Follow Live Science, &. Original article on Live Science.
Nikola Tesla - Inventions, Facts and Death - HISTORY
Wikimedia Commons Nikola Tesla
Imagine a beam of energy that could bring down planes from miles away with nothing but electricity. Imagine an invisible wall of energy protecting a country from invasion, acting as an electric fence that could vaporize enemy soldiers the second they step foot inside. Sounds like something most militaries would love to get their hands on, doesn’t it?
The dream of this kind of “death ray” has inspired weapons developers for decades. But one brilliant inventor, Nikola Tesla, claimed to have actually created one.
Tesla was born in what is now Croatia in 1856, where he received an education in engineering before immigrating to the United States. There, he got a job working for Thomas Edison before striking out on his own as an inventor.
Many of Tesla’s inventions in this period were revolutionary. He primarily focused on improving systems for generating electric power and transmitting electric currents. In addition, he also made important innovations in the field of radio technology.
But Tesla’s biggest dream was to find a way to beam limitless power directly through the air. Over the course of his life, he managed to develop a number of devices that could transmit electric energy wirelessly, but a lack of funding limited his research. However, in 1934, Tesla claimed that his research had resulted in an incredible new discovery: a device that could kill from miles away with electricity.
Tesla called his invention the Teleforce. While many now know it as the Tesla death ray, the inventor resisted the term to describe it because it didn’t transmit rays as a ray of energy would dissipate in the air. Instead, Tesla’s invention focused energy along a narrow path, which he claimed made it powerful enough to bring down airplanes and kill people instantly.
According to Tesla, his invention would make it possible to create a national energy fence that would destroy any enemy that passed through it. However, he hoped that the applications of his invention could be peaceful. By making it impossible for armies to attack another country, Tesla hoped that he could completely eliminate warfare.
Wikimedia Commons Nikola Tesla in his lab
But Tesla’s high-minded dreams were limited by a serious problem: no one was interested in funding the project. He approached the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union, among others, but none offered any money for it. And of course, it’s hard to build a massive death ray without some cash, which Tesla was now chronically short of.
But one night in 1937, at a meeting at the Yugoslavian Embassy, Tesla told the room that not only was his invention possible but he had already built one. In fact, he would be unveiling it to the world in a matter of months.
However, if Tesla had built a death ray, the world would never see it. Later that same year, Tesla was struck by a car while crossing the street and never really recovered. In 1943, he died in the New Yorker Hotel where he had been living.
Upon news of the inventor’s death, the U.S. military quickly showed up at the hotel and searched the room for any inventions they didn’t want other countries to get their hands on. But officially, they found nothing. So, the question is, what happened to it?
It’s possible, if unlikely, that the Government secretly took the Tesla death ray. Similar devices were experimented with during the Cold War, which might imply they used Tesla’s invention to develop further technologies. But if Tesla did create a death ray, and no one took it, then there’s no clue as to where he might have put it. Nor was there an obvious reason why he’d never displayed it publicly.
The more likely explanation is that Tesla never actually built it. Tesla had suffered from mental illness for most of his life. In his later years, the same time he claimed to have built a death ray, his condition was rapidly growing worse. In fact, the death ray wasn’t the only invention he claimed to have created but never produced for the public.
By the 1930s, he began making frequent claims of major inventions, like a machine that ran on cosmic radiation. But like the death ray, if any existed then no one but Tesla ever saw them. So, while Tesla was undoubtedly a brilliant scientist, the Tesla death ray is probably just one more invention that only existed in his head.
Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 2: The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla, also available on iTunes and Spotify.
Enjoy this look at Nikola Tesla’s Death Ray? Next, read about what Nikola Tesla predicted for the future. Then discover the five strangest weapons from World War II.
15 Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla You Probably Didn’t Know
Nikola Tesla was a brilliant inventor and electrical engineer who was one of history’s greatest physicists.
He is recognized for his outstanding contribution in science, but there are facts about him that remain untold.
Tesla was known for developing alternating current or AC and his work became a foundation for wireless communications, lighting, X-rays and radar, among many others. Here are some interesting things about Tesla that you may not have probably known.
1. He had bad sleeping habits.
They say a person needs to have at least eight hours of sleep – but somehow, Tesla doesn’t believe it’s necessary. The physicist claimed that he never sleeps for more than two hours per day. One time, he was so consumed with his work that he was able to stay awake for 84 hours straight without rest or sleep.
2. There was a lightning storm at the time of his birth.
Tesla was born at midnight, between July 9 and 10, 1856 when there was a lightning storm. Based on the family’s story, the midwife said that his birth signaled a bad omen. “This child will be a child of darkness”, the midwife reportedly said. However, his mother answered, “No. He will be a child of light.”
3. He had a superior memory.
It was actually a photographic memory and he could memorize books, images and journals.
4. He loved whiskey.
Apparently, Tesla believed that drinking Whiskey every day would lengthen his life.
5. He never was married or had a serious love affair.
A lot of women reportedly found him attractive, but our brilliant inventor never engaged in a serious relationship since he believed it would interfere with his scientific thinking.
6. A Wi-Fi statue of Tesla stands in Silicon Valley.
Now, that’s something really cool about this guy. What’s more interesting is that the statue has a time capsule inside it, slated to be opened in 2043.
7. Some of Tesla’s inventions remain classified.
During his death in 1943, most of his belongings were taken by the Office of Alien Property. Some were handed to his family while others were part of the Tesla Museum, located in Belgrade. However, there are documents that are classified by the U.S. government.
8. He was severely obsessive-compulsive.
It’s not a known fact that this guy suffered from OCD, but that didn’t interfere with his passion for work.
9. He was the man who invented the Radio and the first remote-controlled toy boat.
Thanks to Tesla, we get to have the radio and the toy for our entertainment.
10. He also had a feminist side.
“This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior,“ Tesla said.
11. He predicted all about the internet.
“The household’s daily newspaper will [one day] be printed ‘wirelessly’ in the home,” he said.
12. He hated pearls.
Somehow, Tesla disliked pearls that he would go as far as refusing to talk to women who wore them.
13. His AC work didn’t get enough recognition.
But Thomas Edison’s DC (direct current) system did and was even more popular at that time.
14. He had a penchant for pigeons.
Strangely enough, he liked to care for pigeons. He would feed the ones at the park daily and would pick up the injured ones and help them recover.
15. He was an environmentalist.
The guy was concerned about how Earth’s resources seem to be depleting rather quickly, so he studied how to harness natural energy from the air and ground.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know about Nikola Tesla
1. The Tesla museum was funded by a cartoon
In May, the Wardenclyffe was purchased by the Tesla Science Center for $ 1,370,000 donated by the website IndieGoGo. The campaign was started by Matthew Inman, creator of the popular comic Oatmeal.
2. Some of Tesla’s inventions were classified
In 1943, when Tesla died, the Office of Alien Property took his stuff. Most of these things were given to his family, and many were taken to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. However, some documents still remain classified by the U.S. Government.
3. Tesla was an environmentalist
As Alcorn said, Tesla was “worried about the fact that people consume the Earth’s resources too fast, so he wanted to make sure that these resources were renewable“.
Thus, he studied the ways to gather natural energy from the ground and air. He created artificial lightning in his lab and detected differences in electrical potential on Earth and on high objects.
4. Tesla died a very poor humanist
Except for being environmentalist, the famous inventor was also a humanist. According to Alcorn,
“he did what he did for the sake of the betterment of mankind and wanted to give people an opportunity to have a better quality of life. Thus, he never seemed to care about monetary gain and never had enough money for his research.”
Although he had famous friends such as Mark Twain and French actress Sarah Bernhardt, he was never a wealthy man, unlike Edison and Westinghouse who proved much more successful entrepreneurs.
5. Tesla suffered from insomnia and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (OCD)
He claimed that he needed only two hours of sleep a night, although he occasionally took an afternoon nap. Tesla hated round objects and jewelry and could not bear to touch the hair. Also, he was obsessed with the number three and had a habit of polishing each point of the dining room before dining, using precisely 18 napkins.
These are just some of the facts you didn’t know about Nikola Tesla. It was certainly a remarkable man whose genius continues to amaze people all over the world decades after his death.
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Half informations are not true. Not based on my opinion but on facts. Americans will never reveal real Tesla’s inventions. And veeery big number of them were destroyed after his death, because he never wrote anything but final concept of patent, so dumbs who got those scriptures could not figure out what’s realy on.
He was never a wealthy man, Not True
Is not true , he was a very wealthy man at one point in his life .
He had many many patents Westinghouse was going broke paying Tesla for Patent , so Tesla was a humanitarian and torn up the contract for payment etc.
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