Nikola Tesla Biography
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan, the Serbian province of Lika, which at that time was called Croatia (Yugoslavia) and died of cardiac arrest at age 87 in New York on January 7, 1943.
Nikola was part of 5 brothers who were underestimated by their father, a Serbian Orthodox priest that decided to invent something that would astonish the world, begin with experiments to take advantage of the strength of the water and the force of the wind. He liked mathematics and had a great aptitude to handle formulas to solve equations. He enrolled at the Polytechnic Institute of Graz, where he specialized in Physics and Mathematics.
“Our virtues and our defects are inseparable, like force and matter, and when they separate, man does not exist” Nicholas Tesla
In the 1870s, Nikola Tesla moved to Budapest, where he worked at the telephone building. He finished his studies at the University of Prague in 1880 and in 1881 he invented a telephone amplifier that reduced static. Besides in that city, he developed the idea of the induction motor, but after several years trying to get interested in his invention, he decided in 1884 to leave Europe and travel to the United States where Thomas Edison hired him to work together making improvements to Edison’s inventions, but then they separate due to personality attitudes of both, scientific and commercial issues that Tesla did not handle
In 1885, Tesla received funds for the Tesla Electric Light Company to take charge of developing the improved arc lighting, after doing it so successfully. It was not until 1887 when Tesla found interest in his Alternating Current electrical system and in the financing of his company Tesla Electric Company, that Tesla had already filed several patents for inventions based on alternating current. This system of alternating current attracted the attention of engineer George Westinghouse, who at that time needed to supply the country with long-distance energy. Believing in the genius of Tesla in 1888, Westinghouse acquired his patents and made him a member of Westinghouse. He works tirelessly and it is at this time that Tesla patents several inventions such as Tesla Coil, until in 1893, the Westinghouse Corporation was chosen to provide lighting at the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago and Tesla made several demonstrations of his AC system.
As early as 1895, Nikola Tesla had designed what would be one of the first AC hydropower plants in the United States, at Niagara Falls fed later with the city of Buffalo and New York; This feat full of success definitely became the most important energy system of the twentieth century, remaining the standard since then.
Throughout his career, Tesla discovered, designed and developed ideas that motivated important inventions such as dynamos, radar technology, X-rays, electromagnetic rotating field, remote control, among others.
Based on the wireless transmission of power, in 1900 Nikola Tesla works on his great project, the construction of a global wireless communication system that consisted of transmitting through an electric tower to share information and provide free electricity throughout the world.
Financed by the financial giant JP Morgan, in 1901 Tesla began working on the design and construction of a laboratory with a power station and a massive transmission tower on Long Island, New York, which was called Wardenclyffe. However, the investors had doubts about the viability of the Tesla system and its rival, Guglielmo Marconi, who came with the support of Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison. Tesla had no choice but to abandon the project. The staff of Wardenclyffe was dismissed in 1906 and in 1915 the site of the mortgage was executed to the point that in 1917 Tesla went bankrupt and the tower was dismantled and sold to pay the debts that Tesla had.
“Science is nothing more than a perversion of itself unless it has as a final goal the improvement of humanity” Nicholas Tesla
After this, Tesla had the need to return to work as a consultant. However, as time passed, his ideas became extravagant and impractical, to the point that he spent a lot of time in New York caring for wild pigeons. He even caught the attention of the authorities because his idea of building a powerful “death ray” (weapon of ultimate mass destruction), he had generated some interest from the Soviet Union during World War II.
Finally, on January 7, 1943, Nikola Tesla dies poor and lonely in New York. Nevertheless, his great legacy still lives to the present.
- There are many Nikola Tesla books, movies of his life and famous works, and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, Serbia.
- In 1994, A street sign identifying “Nikola Tesla Corner” was installed at 40th Street and 6th Avenue near the lab site.
- Since 2013, the Wardenclyffe website has been invested in restoration work by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.com.