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30 Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts

by Sankalan Baidya
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Many people agree today that Nikola Tesla is indeed the undisputed king of inventions born in at least last 500 years. Why do they say so? Okay here is just one reason of the many – he was the man who gave us the Alternating Current of AC that we use today for everything we do. For example, you are reading this article on your computer. Your computer wouldn’t have run if there was no Nikola Tesla. Your mobile phones would not work if there was no Nikola Tesla. Your air conditioner, your TV, your tube lights or halogens or anything that uses electricity would not have run if Nikola Tesla was never born.

Well, he was also the man who almost built the world’s first wireless transmission technology (he would have succeeded had the greedy J.P. Morgan did not pull away the funding). He would have given the world of wirelessly transmitting electricity. He was indeed great. So, let us waste time no further and learn 30 interesting Nikola Tesla facts.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 1-5

1. Nikola Tesla was born in a place that we today know as Croatia. He was born in month of July in year 1856. Exact date was 10th of July and the exact place was Smiljan.

2. Tesla idolized Thomas Edison and was hell-bent on working with him. That’s the reason why Tesla went to United States of America in 1884 and did start working with Edison but only for a very short period of time.

3. Tesla actually inherited his interest in electricity from his mother whose name was Djuka Mandic. His mother used to creatively use her spare time building small appliances that she could use in her household.

4. Contrary to Nikola Tesla’s mother’s inventor-attitude, his father wanted him to get into priesthood because his father himself was a priest. His father was also a writer.

5. Johann-Rudolph-Glauber Realschule Karlstadt is where Nikola Tesla studied. It was a polytechnic institute located in Graz, Austria. Later in 1870s, Tesla studied in University of Prague.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 6-10

6. After his university studies, Tesla went to Budapest and joined Central Telephone Exchange as a worker. It is there where he first came up with induction motor idea.

7. Tesla moved to United States in 1884 hoping to work with Thomas Edison. Edison was not only a famed inventor but was also a tenured businessman. Edison earned his fortune by selling Direct Current across United States.

8. When Edison received Tesla’s request, Edison took him in. Both of them worked towards improving Edison’s inventions for a few months. It was only a matter of time that conflicts between the two men started. Tesla didn’t have business acumen and he was more humanitarian by nature as opposed to Edison’s capitalist nature. So, they just parted their ways.

9. A few investors came along in 1885 and gave Tesla money to start the Tesla Electric Light Company. The investors wanted Tesla to create an improved version of Arc Lighting. Once Tesla accomplished what the investors wanted him to do, he was thrown out of the venture.

10. With all funding lost Tesla was back to poverty and turned into a manual labor to ensure his survival. It was only in 1887 that Tesla came up with Alternating Current electricity and went ahead with filing several patents.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 11-15

11. It was George Westinghouse – an American entrepreneur who became interested in Tesla’s AC technology. Westinghouse purchased patents of Tesla for a sum of $60,000 in 1888 after convincing Tesla that only his technology can help Westinghouse to send long-distance power to the nation. The money was paid in cash as well as stock.

12. It was only a matter of time that Tesla’s Alternating Current started gaining interest all over the nation and that’s when Edison stepped in engaged in a negative and detrimental press campaign against AC technology, in an attempt to make sure that people buy DC technology.

13. Despite Edison’s attempts to defame Tesla and his superior AC technology, Tesla continued his work and went on to invent the famous Tesla Coil.

14. As of today, Tesla Coil is the foundation stone of all wireless technologies that we use in our daily life.

15. Despite Edison’s many attempts to kill the newly born AC technology, the World’s Columbian Exposition that was held in 1893 in Chicago, Westinghouse Corporation (that now held patents of Tesla’s AC technology) was chosen providing lighting supply. That is where Tesla went on to demonstrate the capabilities of his Alternating Current system.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 16-20

16. In 1895 Westinghouse asked Tesla to harness the hydroelectric power of the Niagara Falls. Tesla did that which helped light up New York’s Buffalo city. This achievement led to rave reviews from press and Alternating Current soon became a standard of 20th century and it still continues to be a standard in 21st century.

17. Tesla’s major inventions were AC system and Tesla Coil but those weren’t the only ones. He also invented induction motor and dynamos. Some other inventions of Tesla that other people patented later in their own name include fluorescent bulbs, x-rays, radio (although Guglielmo Marconi is given the credit), remote control etc. He also pioneered robotics and wireless technology way ahead of his own time.

18. As said earlier, Nikola Tesla received backing from businessman J.P. Morgan who did not believe in anything being ‘free’. It was because of the financial support that J.P. Morgan provided that Tesla started with his most ambitious work yet – global wireless communication.

19. In year 1900 Tesla started working on global wireless communication. For this purpose, he used Morgan’s financial support to build a massive tower that he would use for transmission.

20. Construction of the tower began in New York’s Long Island. Later it became known as Wardenclyffe. Tesla did not however mention Morgan that he wanted to use the facility for providing free electricity to world.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 21-25

21. The idea of free electricity did not resonate with J.P. Morgan. Morgan was a kind of man who would, if possible, put a meter even on the sun so that he could charge people for using sunlight. The moment he learned about Tesla’s intensions of offering free electricity (that could be transmitted wirelessly over long distances using the Tesla Tower or the Wardenclyffe Tower), he pulled out his financial support.

22. The tower was never finished and the project had to be abandoned by Tesla because there was no money. However, before he completely abandoned his project, he did desperately try to get attention of investors.

23. Many people believe that Tesla wanted to get attention of Admiral Peary who was hell-bent on becoming the first person on planet Earth to reach North Pole using a land route. So, Tesla decided to shoot a highly concentrated electric beam to North Pole using the incomplete tower.

24. Unfortunately Tesla did not take account of the impact gravity can have on such and electric beam and a slight miscalculation caused a devastating Tunguska Explosion when the beam overshot his intended target and landed Siberia’s Tunguska. Read details of Tunguska Disaster here.

25. Eventually, Tesla failed to prove his point and the tower was eventually dismantled in 1917 after he declared bankruptcy. The money Tesla received from selling of the scrap metals of the dismantled tower was used for repaying of debts.

Interesting Nikola Tesla Facts: 26-30

26. This massive failure led to nervous breakdown and gradually Tesla became impractical and his ideas too became pretty outlandish. He also started caring about pigeons in the parks of New York City.

27. On 7th of January, 1943, Nikola Tesla died as a poor man. At that time, his age of 86 years. It is sad that money mongers led to the fall of one of the greatest minds and inventors this world has seen in at least last 500 years.

28. Here is a cool fact about Nikola Tesla. He was actually born slightly after midnight of July 9 (so technically it was July 10) when the weather outside was fierce and stormy. In fact, he was born in the middle of a lightning storm. Halfway during the birth there was a massive lightning and the midwife declared that it was bad omen and the child will eventually grow up into a child of darkness. Interestingly, his mother however believed exactly the opposite and said to the midwife that the child will grow up into a child of light. His mother was right!

29. There is no doubt that Tesla was a genius but many of us do not know that he was blessed with photographic memory. He was capable of memorize entire books and remember stockpiles of images and never needed to look at them for the second time. He was also very much capable of imagining and visualizing in three dimensions.

30. He absolutely hated pearls. He was extremely repulsive to those women who wore pearl jewelry. The reason for this is unknown. He was also terribly afraid of germs. When Tesla was a teenager he was struck by cholera that almost killed him and once he recovered, he developed excessive hygiene habits.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

Image Credits: 1, 2

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