When you hear of inventors and electricity, the first that comes to mind will probably be Thomas Edison. When you think of Radio you might think of Guglielmo Marconi. But one electrical genius seems to be forgotten by the world….Nikola Tesla.
“The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It’s ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of the mind over the material world, harnessing of the forces of nature for human needs.”
He captured the power of Niagara Falls with his alternating current system. Made the transmission of electricity possible for North America and the World. He Patented the technology for wireless communication used in radios and TV, remote control, neon lights, X-rays etc. Yet somehow he is still overlooked.
He was a technological visionary. Thomas Edison resented his ideas (because they went against what he had already invented, even though his – Edison’s – were unreliable. Guillermo Marconi capitalized on his inventions. JP Morgan who supported him would later abandon him. His inventions helped America grow into a powerful industrial nation, and his ideas created billion dollar corporations.
With his next invention always in mind, he never capitalized on protecting his commercial interests and in the end others made fortunes with his inventions. He ended up poor and rejected.
“Money doesn’t mean to me what it means to others, all of my money has been invested into my inventions to make mans life easier”
Since he was a young boy he was always fascinated with Niagara Falls, and pictured a big wheel run by the falls.
He would later move to Austria to attend college, thats when he became fascinated with electricity.
Early electric motors ran on Direct Current energy, but required a system of sparking connections to produce a rotary effect in the machine. He suggested to a professor that the design of generators and motors could be improved by introducing currents that alternate. The professor was like “Dude shut up you’re an idiot, you’ll never be anything and you’re wrong”
Years later one day out for a walk he saw the sun setting, and the quote by Johann Goethe popped into his head. “Done is the day of toil, upon it’s track to follow, follow souring!” So he was like “holy sh*t! Eureka!” no…no he didn’t say that because Einstein wasn’t in the picture yet, but he did probably say “holy sh*t , let me drop to my knees and find a twig and draw this shit on the ground”
The idea was a whirling field of energy, he knew he could recreate this rotating field by powering the coils of a motor in different steps or phases, like a piston on an engine. The resulting forces of magnetic attraction and repulsion would twist the rotor in a wheel, pretty much the electrical equivalent of the wheel…all with alternating currents. The idea soon turned the wheels of industry all over the world and Tesla was like “See? who’s the idiot…idiot!”
It was a dream come true for Tesla to later meet Thomas Edison, who had already created the first light bulb in 1878. He arrived in 1884, and with a letter of recommendation from this dude Charles Batchelor who was one of Edison’s European associates, to hand to Edison. The Letter read “Dear Edison, i know 2 great men, and you are one of them, the other is this kid.”
Tesla came to America to try and get his alternating current motor produced, he tried in Germany and in France without success and he realized and thought that the only person who could help him would be Thomas Edison, but Edison was a dick.
You see, Edison installed a Direct Current power station in the financial district in New York in 1882, with the help from investor JP Morgan. But DC power was far from perfect, resulting in fires and even horses receiving shocks through their shoes (Power was run underground).
Tesla was still anxious to show him his motor which ran on Alternating Current. But Edison was like “The fuck is this guy and his stupid alternating current shit?”. You see Edison had built his business on the Direct Current system, so any talk of AC was a pain in the ass to him.
The thing is with DC is you can’t change the voltage, so whatever power you generate is what it is. The problem is if you generate power too high you end up blowing up lamps on the other end, if you generated the proper current and the wanted to go long distances you needed copper wire thicker than Edison’ skull. So Edison’ people were like “it’s cool, we’ll just have a power station like every mile or so”. DC was good for motors and lights but wasn’t practical for long distances.
By raising and lowering the voltage, AC could solve the problem of distance, but a working AC motor didn’t exist.
Edison still hired Tesla even though he didn’t agree with him. He hired him to improve his companies DC generators. Tesla was promised $50,000 by Edison if he was successful. It seemed to good to be true, but Tesla was a good dude and he worked away, working like 19hr days. Then when he was done, he was like “Edison, I’m done dude where my moonnneeeyyy”
And Edison was like “you’re an idiot, you thought i was gonna pay you? i was just joking dude”
So Tesla just left and began to build the prototype of the motor he’s been thinking of all this time. Along with the motor he created the components of AC generation and transmission still used today.
Soon after, he was ready to whip out this motor he created, in 5 years he was awarded something like 22 patents. AC motor, generator, transformers and transformer lines – the most powerful patents since the telephone.
George Westinghouse was this entrepreneur and engineer guy who was one of few people who understood Telsas potential. He offered to purchase all of Teslas patents dealing with AC for 1 million dollars and a royalty of $2.50 for each horsepower generated by a Tesla invention. This brought fortune and fame. Tesla was like New Yorks most wanted bachelor and he was like “Look i get it, i’m like kinda rich n good looking n stuff, and all the ladies want a piece of this, but.. sorry Flora Dodge I dig the hair n all, and sorry Sarah Bernhardt I dig that sexy french accent, but I’m kinda in love with my work..”
In the 1880’s Edison started being a dick again and began a negative media campaign against AC by Westinghouse and Tesla, saying AC is unnecessary and dangerous. Edison showed the dangers of AC by electrocuting animals in public demonstrations.
Tesla was like WTF? this guy’s an A$$H@L3
Edison would say that Westinghouse would end up killing its customers with AC.
Edison people suggested using AC to execute criminals, so they tested it in 1890 and horrified viewers were disgusted by what AC could do to people.
Good guy Tesla would say “The infliction of the death penalty is not only barbarous and inhumane but totally UNNECESSARY as a factor in the scheme of modern civilization”
Then the fair of 1893 comes to Chicago, it was the to be lit with electricity. Edison and Thomson Houston created General Electric and put in a bid of 1 million dollars to power the fair. Westinghouse and Tesla put in a bid of half that, and were later awarded the job.
GE was like “f*ck this and f*ck that, f*ck this Tesla dude”, and refused to sell Tesla the Edison light bulbs, so they had to create their own. The people were amazed with the beautiful demonstration of lights. Tesla later put on demonstrations to prove to people that AC was safe for them.
This guy Lord Kelvin was head of the commission to find a way to use the power of Niagara Falls. He doubted Tesla until he saw what he did at the Chicago fair, when he saw this he awarded Westinghouse the contract. The job called for three 5000hp alternators, the largest ever made. Tesla was like “Billy Kelvin, buddy don’t worry, i got this.”
Westinghouse and Tesla had some strong disagreements along the way and eventually only Tesla believed what he was creating would work. In 1896 it went online and electrical age began, the waters turned enormous turbines, connected by shafts to the 5000 hp generators. The current was stepped up through transformers to 22000 volts and sent out through long distance lines, then stepped down to power municipalities and power motors of teslas design.
Due to the success of Westinghouse and Tesla, Edison was out of business. He was bitter.
Through all this success, Westinghouse over extended his resources and it led to financial difficulties, to save the company Tesla was like “Okay, i’m a nice guy, and money doesn’t mean that much to me because all i want is to create things to make the world better, I’m gonna rip that royalty agreement we had so you don’t have to give me that money”
Today that would be worth Trillions. It’s unknown if Westinghouse was really in financial difficulties or if it was just to fool Tesla into ripping the agreement.
Tesla moved on to the idea of high frequency, he created the first neon and fluorescent illumination and took the first X-ray photos. All these were put in the shadows of his mind when one day a vacuum tube illuminated in his hand with no wired connection. It told him that he was transmitting energy through air, and so began his life long obsession with the wireless transmission of energy.
While in England he becomes friends with this guy Sir William Crookes, and Tesla was all like ” Dude, William Crookes, i love your beard, lets be friends ”
Crookes was like “I believe in telepathy” and Tesla was like “yeah i dunno…maybe”
One day he’s in bed and he starts day dreaming, he see’s this image of his mom and it tells him she died. It was true.
He becomes convinced he and his mom were tuned into the same frequency, this would lead him towards a new invention.
Soon he was like “Yo Crookes, i transmitted radio signals if they were tuned into the same frequency, in the future people will use TV and Radio and have no idea I played a big part in this sh!t”
Then he had this vision that the whole world could be connected and information could be transmitted. The idea of a global communication network made JP Morgan all interested and wanted to invest in Tesla. But what Tesla really wanted to do was transmit industrial strength power, without any wires. He kept it a secret.
In the meantime Marconi was like “Damn this Tesla guys got some good ideas, I’m gonna use his patents and send a signal across the atlantic and everyones gonna think I’m awesome” Morgan saw this and noticed it worked and was less expensive than what Tesla was working on. Tesla ran into some technical problems and eventually asked Morgan for more money. But Morgan was all like “Bro wheres your signal across the Atlantic? because this Italian dude Marconi did it already, sorry you’re out, Marconi is in.”
Eventually he’s left with no financial backing. In 1904 the Patent Department reverses its previous patent for radio and gives it to Marconi. One year later Teslas AC patents expired and now the inventions could be used by anyone free of charge.
With no financial backing he became antisocial and kept to himself, he would feed pigeons and considered them his true friends. Marconi received the Nobel Peace Prize with the work Tesla created. In 1915 he was supposed to be awarded the prize in Physics, alongside Edison, but then they were like…nah…we’re gonna give it to William H Bragg
Then comes Einstein with his theory of relativity, and then it was Tesla that was like “The f*ck is this guy?” he always attacked Einsteins work saying “scientists today wander through equation after equation, that have no relation to reality, if we were to release the energy of atoms, instead of a blessing, it could bring disaster to mankind”. No one took him seriously. In 1945 the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
All of this guys work was to better the world, so many things we consider second nature today are thanks to him, and it’s amazing he’s over looked as much as he is. After he died he received some recognition for some of his ideas, but not all. People like him should be idolized more than the people who are only out for financial gain regardless of how harmful it might be.
The next time you use the radio, get an X-ray done, use the remote control, use a laser, see a neon lamp, use any wireless communications etc.. it’s thanks to Nikola Tesla
On top of all that, he apparently used to drink a glass of Whiskey a day because he believed it would extend his life to 150 years of age.
Wouldn’t mind to have been able to sip some Whiskey and listen to this guys ideas…..