July 15, 2024

Nikola Tesla was a scientist and inventor who has great contribution in the field of electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. He was great visionary who was very ahead of time. Imagine a power cut off for 1 second all over the world, it will cost billions of dollars. Nikola tesla was the inventor of modern day electrical power generation and supply system. Motors running in all the factories today and doing manufacturing works are the invention of Nikola Tesla. Tesla is considered as the one of the most influential inventor in the history of mankind. Tesla was so genius that he could imagine entire machine on his brain rather than drawing it on paper. Beside of physics and mathematics he could speak 8 languages and had poetic touch. The unit of magnetic field “Tesla” is given from the name of Nikola Tesla on honor to his works on physics.

Early Life:

Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in the village of Smiljan, Austrian empire (present day Croatia). He came from Serbian family and was fourth of five children’s. His father was priest of orthodox church and mother was unschooled housewife but highly intelligent. Tesla completed his primary schooling in village of Smiljan, he was sharp and bright kid from his childhood. Tesla has interest in mathematics and physics from his childhood. Pursuing the career of engineering, he attended the technical university at Graz and at the university of Prague but, he never completed his degree.

Tesla at his young age

Moving to USA and Tesla’s Struggle:

At the university of Graz in 1875, tesla first studied about the Gramme dynamo i.e. dc electric motor. He was fascinanted with principle of dynamo and eager to make similar dynamo rotating with alternating current. In 1882 tesla worked for continental edison company in Paris, where he gained much of the practical experience and knowledge in electrical engineering. In 1883 tesla visualized the principle of rotating magnetic field and constructed his first induction motor. Tesla was extraordinary in his work at edison company. After gaining good recognition of his skill and knowledge, Edison company manager proposed tesla to move USA for working with Edison company. In 1884 Tesla emigrated to USA, after working with edison for few times tesla leaved Edison company because their way of working were far different.

In march 1885 Tesla started Tesla electric light and manufacturing company with some financers. Tesla was working for patenting arc lighting system. Later, financer leaved him by saying market and manufacturing side of Tesla’s idea is not economical at that time. In late 1886 , Tesla met the financers to finance his ideas. In 1887 two financers along with Tesla established a company called Tesla electric company. In 1887 , Tesla developed an induction motor. The motor used polyphase AC current. His works on the ac motor led to the development of polyphase AC system which is the foundation for modern Electrical power generation and distribution.

In 1888 Westinghouse Electric company in Pittsburgh, bought the patent right to tesla three phase system of AC (including AC dynamo, transformer and motors). This started the power struggle between the Edison and tesla. This rivalry is also called as ” War of currents”. Edison tried to dominate AC market by claiming DC more safer and reliable. But, due to limitation of DC current over long distance transmission , tesla’s AC eventually won out.

Tesla earned a significant amount of money after patenting AC equipments which made him financially independent. So, he established laboratories at different places of New York and pursued his own interest for dozen of years. In the early morning hour of 13 march 1895 , the tesla’s lab caught a fire. In this fire tesla’s much of the research work and model burnt out, which was great loss for tesla and humanity.

Tesla in front of Spiral coil used in wireless power transmission experiment

Major Inventions by Tesla that change the modern world:

Tesla had three hundred patents registered on his name. Some of his major inventions are:

  • AC generation and distribution system: Nikola tesla’s invention of induction motor, transformer and generator is gift to mankind. Modern day power system relies on this system. Development of AC electrical system by tesla began in the late 1880s and widely patented in 1888-1893 period.
  • Tesla coil: Tesla invented tesla coil around 1891 , which is used in radio, Televison and mainly in radio communication. Tesla had invented many circuit elements used in radio. Despite of radio being patented in the name of Marconi, tesla had many contribution in radio ckts.
  • Tesla Turbine: He patented the tesla turbine in 1913 AD , a bladeless turbine that has application in various industries and machine now days.
  • Radio remote control: In 1898 tesla demonstrated a radio controlled boat , one of the earliest example of remote control technology using radio waves.
  • Tesla Wardenclyffe tower: Tesla has a wish to transfer electricity and other information wirelessly. He built wardenclyffe tower to research about wireless transmission of electricity but, due to financial reason this project did not complete. But, his ideas and experiments at wardenclyffe continue to inspire scientist and inventors interested in wireless energy transmission.
  • X-ray Experiments: Tesla made significant improvements in x-ray tubes. Tesla is one of the first pioneer who used x-ray for medical imaging and research purpose. Tesla was first scientist to state about potential dangers of x-rays.
  • Death rays: Tesla did propose ideas for “teleforce” or “peace ray” Which he described as defensive weapon to protect against potential aggression. He visualized using directed energy , to disable or destroy targets at distance. This idea was only theoretical concept, there is no evidence that tesla ever built a functional prototype of such device.
Wardenclyffe Tower built by tesla for research of wireless electricity transmission


Nikola Tesla has significant role in the modern day science and technology. His ideas quiet have been subject of research and exploration. He was a genius, who was very ahead of time. Tesla used to be so lost in his interest and research that he was financially insecure in his last days. Many of his projects remain uncompleted because of money. In his last days Tesla lived in series of hotel rooms bill paid by his friends. Tesla died at the age of 86, on 7 January 1943 ,alone in the room 3327 on hotel New Yorker.

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