A retrospective: Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born in the Austrian Empire (now Croatia), in Smiljan, 1856, and was the son of an Eastern Orthodox Priest. In 1875 he enrolled at the Graz University of Technology (Technische Universität Graz). In his second year he developed a gambling addiction, and never passed his required grades, so failed to graduate. In 1880 his uncles contributed financially so he could attend Charles University in Prague (Univerzita Karlova), unfortunately he didn’t speed Greek, or Czech which were both mandatory, so instead he opted to study philosophy where he wasn’t graded.

A year later he moved to Budapest, Hungary, where he found a job with a telecom company. A year after that he found a job in Paris for the Continental Edison Company, where he manufactured his first induction motor. In 1884 he decided to try his luck in America and set sail for New York and gained work with a Mr Thomas Edison.

“We crave for new sensations but soon become indifferent to them. The wonders of yesterday are today common occurrences” – Nikola Tesla

Nikola’s decision to travel to America was from a request by Charles Batchelor, who my was Nikola’s manager in Paris. He only stayed there for six months, and it’s unclear as to why he left, but he immediately started working on an arc lighting system he intended to attempt to patent, which he may have previously started working on during Edison’s employment that was never put into production. He met two investors, Robert Lane and Benjamin Vail, who financed his newly formed company, Tesla’s Electric Light & Manufacturing. But the investors pulled out of an incredibly competitive climate and this left Tesla penniless, which forces him to once again acquire a job to attempt to finance his research.

Tesla designed the (AC) alternating-current electrical system, and went to war against Edison and his (DC) direct-current electrical system, but with Edison being the more influential and powerful of the two, he began spreading a campaign that painted (AC) in a bad light. However, Tesla had the last laugh as (AC) became the worldwide standard power system that is still used to this day.

In 1891, Tesla stunned the world with perhaps his most innovative invention, the Tesla Coil. He dreamed of a way that electricity could supply power without the use of clumsy wires.

“Tesla tried powering a Ruhmkorff coil with a high speed alternator he had been developing as part of an improved arc lighting system but found that the high-frequency current overheated the iron core and melted the insulation between the primary and secondary windings in the coil. To fix this problem Tesla came up with his Tesla coilwith an air gap instead of insulating material between the primary and secondary windings and an iron core that could be moved to different positions in or out of the coil.” – Source

Nikola Tesla designed and developed ideas for many important inventions throughout his life, but the majority were patented by other inventors, or weren’t actually put into production. As well as AC electrical system, and the Tesla Coil, he was responsible for pioneering radar and Xray technology, hydroelectric power plants, with one of the very first being at American falls. In 2003 Elon Musk, and his team of engineers created Tesla Motors, with the intention of creating fully electric powered vehicles. In 2008 the first Tesla was revealed, the Roadster.

Nikola Tesla was found in a New York hotel room in 1943, aged 86. The coroner put the cause of death as a Coronary thrombosis, which is a blood clot inside the heart.