Born in the Austrian Empire (now Croatia) in 1856, Nikola Tesla was one of the foremost inventors Tesla of the twentieth century with an amazingly long list of devices coming out of his fertile mind, including a viable free energy apparatus. Tesla traveled to the United States and in 1891 and became an American citizen. He died penniless in 1943 in New York City.
Tesla was most famous for his work with electricity, most often in the areas of electromagnetism and electromechanical engineering. Tesla was hired by Thomas Edison shortly after Tesla came to America in 1888 but after a time, his relationship soured with Edison and Tesla decided to form his own company called Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing.
A celebrity then but almost unknown these days, Tesla’s inventions and knowledge are at the root of much of present day and perhaps even future advances. This is even more astonishing when you consider that all of this happened roughly 100 years ago! Tesla was a committed promoter of alternating current as opposed to direct current as was championed by Edison for the transmission of electrical current. The catch with direct (DC) current is that it can’t be sent more than a few city blocks before losing voltage. AC current can be sent for very long distances at very high voltages and then stepped down by voltage transformers at or near its final destination.
All of Edison’s devices were centered on DC current and he was unwilling to dismiss of the notion of having DC current grow to be the standard for the transmission of electricity. Edison defended his position on DC current by stating that electrical motors could not operate on alternating (AC) current. Tesla answered that drawback by inventing the induction electric motor, still utilized today, that operates on AC power. Edison’s commitment to DC power was slow to diminish and so a kind of war started between Edison and Tesla after Tesla went into alliance with George Westinghouse for the purpose of developing AC as the standard for electrical power transmission. Tesla and Westinghouse eventually were victorious in the “current war” and alternating current became the standard and remains so today.
Tesla’s devices included wireless communications, although Gugliemo Marconi, an Italian inventor, beat Tesla to the punch by sending the first transatlantic radio signal. Tesla also did pioneering work with X-rays, lasers, cellular technology, neon and high voltage devices. Tesla also made early contributions in the sciences of ballistics, theoretical physics, nuclear physics, radar, robotics, remote control and computer science. Many of Tesla’s inventions were powered by another creation of his that was known as the “Tesla coil.”
He also developed a way of sending electricity through the air, utilizing the conductivity of the earth to run vehicles distantly. One of his dreams was to have automobiles powered remotely by a free energy transmitting station. The electricity would be transmitted through the air with the earth making up the other half of the circuit. This was never developed on a practical level.
Other Tesla endeavors included the creation of the initial hydroelectric power plant (in association with George Westinghouse) located at Niagara Falls and the AC electric lighting of the 1893 World’s Fair. Helped by investment from J.P Morgan, Tesla built an experimental electricity transmission tower called the Wardenclyffe Tower in 1901. When J.P. Morgan discovered that one of the uses of Tesla’s tower would be the generation of free electricity, he pulled back his financing because he realized that the very lucrative business of commercial power generation would become obsolete and he refused to let that take place.
The loss of funding for Wardenclyffe Tower came as terrible news to Tesla. After Tesla’s death, all of his paperwork and designs were locked up by an agency of the Federal Government on the orders of J. Edgar Hoover, then head of the F.B.I. Most of Tesla’s inventions were far ahead of his time and represented a real financial threat to those who stood to profit from the existing technology of the day. Because of this, Tesla was deliberately “erased” from history and his name is only now becoming known again.