Nikola Tesla, Inventor of Alternating Current (AC) was a remarkable man with a brilliant mind and devotion for Innovation. He made inventions that have changed the world. Looking at his journey, he lived a very giving life. Sometimes it’s all about giving to the world and I believe he did it in the best way even while living a very struggling life.
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in Smiljan, Lika, which was then part of the Austo-Hungarian Empire, region of Croatia. His father, Milutin Tesla was a Serbian Orthodox Priest and his mother Djuka Mandic was an inventor in her own right of household appliances. He died on 7 January 1943 at the age of 86.
His appearance was described by newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane as “among the tallest, among the thinnest and certainly the most serious man who goes to Delmonico’s regularly.” He was 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and weighed 142 pounds (64 kg), with almost no weight variance from 1888 to about 1926. He is known to have maintained good clothing. It is claimed that he had light eyes, big hands and remarkably big thumbs.
He studied electrical engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz and later attended the Charles-Ferdinand University in Prague. Unfortunately his father died early, and he had to leave the university after completing only one term.
Career and Inventions
In 1880, Tesla worked in Budapest Telegraph Company where he performed the role of Chief Electrician and later got promoted to Engineer. He later moved to Paris and worked as an engineer in Continental Edison Company.
It was in 1883, when Nikola Tesla first built a prototype of an AC motor powered by electromagnetic induction. Back in those days, he couldn’t find anyone in Europe who was interested in his project. Therefore, he moved to the United States where he got a chance to work with Thomas Alva Edison. However, the two didn’t get along very well and as a result, Tesla proceeded to work with George Westinghouse in 1885. There, he devised an electrical distribution system that employed alternating current (AC).
The first successful public trail of wireless energy transmission to power electronic devices took place in 1891. It was Tesla’s most important contribution to energy history. The Westinghouse Electric Company was the first to implement this technology by lighting the World Colombian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. This AC system turned out to be a more efficient and effective electricity transport method compared to Edison’s Direct Current (DC) system. Thus, from there onwards, it became the basis for most modern electricity distribution systems.
Tesla built the first hydroelectric power plant in the Niagara Falls in 1895. There, he helped develop generators and turbine designs beside the AC system. The demonstration of fluorescent lighting was among his other accomplishments. He continued to perform research and development all his life in the area of electricity generation and turbine design. It is also said that Tesla worked on “dynamic theory of gravity” which was never published. Worldwide, Nikola Tesla owned over 300 patents in his overall lifetime.
Tesla refrained from marrying, explaining that this non-indulgence in relationships was helpful to his scientific abilities. Initially, he believed that women were superior in every way and later swayed away from womens as he found them intimidating and dominating.
Tesla was a good friend of Francis Marion Crawford, Robert Underwood Johnson Stanford White, Fritz Lowenstein, George Scherff, and Kenneth Swezey. In middle age, Tesla became a close friend of Mark Twain; they spent a lot of time together in his lab and elsewhere. In 1896, at a party thrown by actress Sarah Bernhardt, Tesla met Indian Hindu monk Vivekananda and the two talked about how the inventor's ideas on energy seemed to match up with Vedantic cosmology.
Interestingly, at one point of life, Tesla developed an unusual relationship with a white pigeon. He admitted to having fallen in love with it. He reportedly said, “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life.”
Life & Habits
Tesla stopped eating solid foods and gave up on eating meat at one point of life. He used to drink bowls of warm milk, soup made from vegetables like artichokes and would intake honey. He claimed that he never slept for more than two hours per night. However, he did admit to "dozing" from time to time "to recharge his batteries.” There’s a record of him working continuously for 84 hours without sleeping.