Who was Nikola Tesla? What is the relationship between Tesla and alternating current? How important is Tesla for the area of electricity? How was your participation in the famous War of Electric Currents? In this article, we will answer all of these questions and give you lots of other information about this important inventor.
Nikola Tesla: Who was it?
This fantastic Austrian inventor was born in 1856 in a village in Smiljan, during the Austrian Empire, the territory of present-day Croatia. He left several contributions to technological development, among his main studies we can mention the transmission via radio, robotics, remote control, radar, in addition to nuclear physics, computational science, and alternating current.
Tesla was stimulated by his father from a young age and he always showed incredible logical reasoning and an excellent memory! There are claims that he had an unusual photographic memory, which meant that he could decorate books by reading only once.
In 1873, Tesla started his studies on Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic Institute of Graz, Austria and then went to the University of Prague. However, he did not complete the course.
In 1881 he started his engineering career when he joined the Budapest telephone company, but it was in 1882 that Tesla discovered something that would make a big difference in everyone’s life from now on. I’m talking about the rotating magnetic field, which is a fundamental principle of physics, being the basis of all devices that use alternating current.
Nikola Tesla: Alternating current
At the same time he started working at the Continental Edison Company in Paris. Within a few years, he was invited by Thomas Edison to work with him, and that was when Tesla moved to New York.
What seemed like a fantastic opportunity for Tesla’s life, turned out to be the beginning of a nightmare. The friction started when opinions between Tesla and Thomas Edison about the direct current started to diverge.
According to reports, Tesla had developed ways to make the use of alternating current viable, which is undoubtedly a much more efficient way of transmitting energy over great distances. In contrast, Edison based his technologies on direct current, which by the way, was already established in public use and generated a lot of profit for Edison.
Nikola Tesla: War of Electric Currents
In order to have light at home using the Thomas Edison system, it would be necessary to have an electric power plant every square kilometer, which we agree is something totally unfeasible, isn’t it? Tesla’s system was fascinating and used smaller cables, being able to reach higher voltages, in addition to being able to transmit electricity over much greater distances.
So if Tesla managed to show the world the efficiency and benefits of alternating current, it would certainly affect all of Thomas Edison’s assets that would fail to make a lot of money!
It was at this time that Edison used a master card that shocked the world! In case you don’t know, alternating current is much more dangerous than direct current. Knowing this, he decided to introduce the famous “Tesla killer chain” to the world.
For that Edison cruelly electrocuted several animals with alternating current. According to reports, cats and dogs were electrocuted, but the most striking and that became known historically, was when he had an elephant electrocuted.
The impact was really huge! And that has made large investors lose interest in the Tesla system. Edison had this absurd and cruel idea simply for money and power.
Despite this apparent success, years later Edison ended up losing the Electric Chain War, and ironically, the defeat came precisely because of the financial interests of the big companies that realized that the Tesla system was much cheaper and more functional, becoming the standard global.
Nikola Tesla: Awards
In the year 1894, Tesla received the honorary title from Columbia University and a medal from the Franklin Institute. 18 years later he refused to share the Nobel Prize in Physics with Edison. In 1934, he received a medal in Philadelphia for his polyphasic energy system.
During the glory years, Tesla lived at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City. However, for the past 10 years he has lived at the New Yorker Hotel, which is where he died on January 7, 1943.
In this video below the World of Electrical showed everything that we highlight in this article in a very illustrative way, where you can see several images and inventions from that time, it is very worth checking out!
Nikola Tesla has registered approximately 40 patents in the United States and another 700 worldwide. Tesla wanted everyone to have access to electricity, and he saw it as a way to improve people’s quality of life, but unfortunately the greed of a few limited the actions of this genius.