1856 to 1943
Tesla was born in southern Europe in a town called Smiljan on July 10th, 1856. He was born during a colossal lighting storm and cursed by the midwife by saying that he would be a child of darkness. Of course, Tesla's mother disagreed, saying that her son would be a child of light. Knowing his accomplishment, it safe to say that a mother knows their child best. At the age of 5, Tesla witnessed his brother being thrown from his horse only to later die from his injuries. After this traumatic event, he began to see visions that came to him through the frequency of flashing lights. This experience was said to cause great confusion and made it hard for him to distinguish between reality or his imagination's figments. While studying Tesla, I quickly realized how much we had in common. Like Tesla, within our mind's eye is where we spent most of our time. This trait allows me to generate and test ideas inside my head, just like many great minds have. Unfortunately, I am not as brilliant as he was because, in twenty years, he never had an Idea fail him. In today's day and age, there are far too many distractions and manipulating systems that work against us, limiting our true capabilities.
Growing up with a father who was a priest and a loving mother who was an inventor in her free time, it's safe to say that he was a momma's boy. As a teen, he almost died from cholera, and his father, to make him feel better, promised to send him to engineering school, which was Tesla's dream, despite his father hoping for him to follow in his footsteps as a priest. After his recovery, his father made good on his promise to send Tesla to Austria to attend the Graz University of Technology. Unlike the other student, he was driven by an unprecedented force. From three AM to seven PM every day, he would focus on school. His professors often worried about him overdoing it yet marveled over his ability to speak eight languages and do calculus in his head. Being a math whiz, he learned that he could use his abilities in other ways. Unfortunately for him, he started using them to gamble. He became addicted to his new hobby and ended up dropping out of college. One day he just up and disappeared, not telling anyone of his whereabouts.
After many years of travel, he finally settled down in Budapest and took a local electrician job. On one of his evening walks in a nearby park, he first came up with the idea of changing the world as we know it. At this time was when Tesla discovered the idea of the alternating current. Shortly after, in 1882, he moved to Paris, France, and started working for Thomas Edison, installing the lights in buildings. It was not long before his superiors realized his level of intelligence. He was tasked to work on more complicated equipment. As an expert, the Edison company would send him all around Europe to fix issues that others could not fix. He was quickly noticed for his work and was eventually offered a job that would take him across the world to New York City, USA. Back then, anybody who was anybody dreamed of coming to America, which at the time was considered the new frontier. It was not long before Thomas Edison noticed Nikola for his exceptional skills. However, the relationship did not last because the two men disagreed over which electric current worked best.
If we know anything about power, direct current only travels one direction, whereas alternating current changes directions, allowing it to travel greater distances and is more reliable. Considering that Tesla owned the patents for AC, this discouraged Edison. Seeing how this would not benefit him, he vowed to suppress Tesla's work in fear of it hurting his empire. Around 1885, Tesla left the Edison Corporation to start its own company. Little did he know his investors played him, giving him stock options in turn for surrendering his patent's over to the company. They later turn on him, and he eventually left the company and took a job doing hard labor digging ditches. With fewer responsibilities, this gave him time to focus on his passions. It was not long before he patented the induction motor that we see being used to power many electric mechanical motors that we know of today. This invention turned out to be the most effective way to conduct electrical power into mechanical torque. Tesla decided to show his motor off it at the American institute of electrical engineers. This invention was defiantly before its time and quickly caught the attention of investors.
At the event, he meets George Westinghouse, a competitor of Thomas Edison. Westinghouse was working on perfecting his alternating current generator so that he may compete in the market against the mostly used current, the DC current. The two hit it off, and Westinghouse offered Tesla sixty thousand dollars for his patent and, as a part of the contract, hired him as a consultant for what would be fifty thousand dollars a month today. Once his design was implemented into Westinghouse's Generator, his company became a worthy opponent of Edison's. When Edison learned of their progress, he quickly started a smear campaign to try and tarnish his competitor's reputation. This campaign consisted of secretly financing the electric chair and publicly tortured live animals using alternating current. Luck for them, Westinghouse had less overhead, so he was able to underbid Edison on several keep projects that would later lead to the AC's success.
Using the profits, Westinghouse builds the first AC power station in Niagara Falls. Winning this contract is what fast-tracked the expansion of the alternating current because it was able to light up the entire city of New York. With taking on so many contracts, Westinghouse eventually ran out of money to fund his operations, leaving him with around 10 million dollars in debt. To better explain what type of man Tesla was, when Westinghouse confided in his friend over the financial crises, Tesla tore up his contract as a way to reduce Westinghouse's overhead. He basically allowed Westinghouse to save a fortune without having to pay Tesla such a large wage. The way Tesla saw it was, Westinghouse believed in him when no one else did. From a man's perspective, this creates an indestructible relationship. By doing the Tesla walked away from about 300 million dollars if you went by our current dollar. This would have meant that he would have been known as the world's wealthiest person and would have been the first-ever billionaire.
Seeing his friend's dedication, Westinghouse offered Tesla what would be around six million dollars for the endless use of his patent, which he gladly accepted. This would give him the funding he needed to live out his dream and focus on furthering his work which led to many other inventions that we use to this day. His work attracted many people from around the world, including the Great Mark Twain. He held over three hundred patents, including the Tesla turbine for vehicles, Neon lighting, the world's first remote control device, the Tesla coil, and pioneered x-ray technology and its use of radiation.
I would have to say my favorite invention of them all was the Tesla coil, a device that could generate large amounts of energy when resonating them at the same frequency. Believe it or not, this is the invention that has led to my interest in free energy. Unfortunately, just before he released his discovery in 1895, a fire broke out, destroying his work. Many believe that it was an attempt to sabotage his life's work. Like in this book, this led Tesla into a spiral of F' it. But as the saying says, you can never keep a good dog down. After wallowing for a couple of years, he picked himself up, dusted off, and began his work creating. At this time, he was contacted by Giuseppe Marconi because Tesla owned 17 patents that he needed in order to file his patent in America. Tesla allowed this fellow inventor to use his patent as a nonprofit venture to further his research.
Giuseppe Marconi was an Italian Entrepreneur that would eventually develop the wireless telegraph. Tomas Edison caught wind and of this upcoming technology and offered to fund his work. Using his power of influence to help him obtain the patents for his device in a way that prevented Nickolas from receiving any credit. Outraged, Tesla vowed to sue Marconi, which ended up dragging out for over two years. He was eventually awarded his win, but it was not until after Tesla passed away. On January 7th, 1943, Tesla was found dead in his place of residence by the maid services. As unusual as it sounds, he lived at the New Yorker Hotel In New York City. It was reported that the maid entered the room, room 3327, and found 87-year-old Nikola Tesla lying dead. What is sad is this legendary genius died poor and alone.