The S̳e̳c̳r̳e̳t̳ History of Nikola Tesla: When you think of the greatest inventors of all time, a few names come to mind. Henry Ford, The Wright Brothers, and Thomas Edison. But there is a name that cannot be recognized.
When you plug in your phone, turn on the lights, or use the refrigerator, you have to thank Nikola Tesla. This is a story of a forgotten genius and the story begins from the end.
Nikola Tesla’s M̳y̳s̳t̳e̳r̳i̳o̳u̳s̳ D̳e̳a̳t̳h̳
On January 7, 1943, a maid working at the New Yorker Hotel walked into room 3327, where she found the body of an 86-year-old man who had called the hotel home for the past decade. Tesla died alone and broke.
He abstained from a diet of hot milk and firecrackers and had a passion for feeding pigeons outside. One of the greatest inventors of all time faded into obscurity and died pennilessly. There is a reason why this happened which will become clear by the end of this story.
He was born during a lightning storm
Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in the city of Smiljan, present-day Croatia. According to family legend, the midwife said halfway through the birth: This child would be a child of darkness, to which her mother replied, No, he would be a child of light.
She didn’t know how prophetic those words would be. When Tesla was five, he saw his older brother fall from a horse and later died. This will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Ability in his mind to visualize inventions
As a child, he began to see visions with flashes of light, confusing what was real and what was imaginary. It’s never gone. This vision inspired the ability in his mind to visualize inventions in such detail that he didn’t even need to draw them out.
He described how the designs in his mind were perfected in an article in 1919. “Consistently, my device works as I imagined it to be and the experiment turns out exactly as I had planned it. Not a single exception has happened in 20 years.”
Tesla credits his mother for his interest in the invention. Duka Mandic invented small home appliances in his spare time. He had an eidetic memory – the ability to recall an image from memory with high accuracy and passed it on to his son.
Tesla’s Father wanted him to become a priest
Instead of his Father’s decision, Tesla was interested in engineering. When he contracted cholera as a teenager and nearly died, his father promised to send him to engineering school if he was alive, and miraculously, he did.
Tesla could do calculus in his head
He went on to study at the Technical College in Graz in Austria, where he is said to have worked every day from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m. The professor was worried that he would die of exhaustion.
Tesla had a beautiful mind. He could do calculus in his head and spoke eight languages. He was a good student initially but did not finish school. After becoming addicted to gambling, he dropped out and broke ties with his family so that they would not find out.
Even his friends didn’t know what had happened to him. They thought he had drowned in the river.
Tesla’s Europe Journey
Tesla moved around Europe and eventually ended up working as an electrician at a telephone company in Budapest.
One day while walking in a city park, he came to know about developing a new way of generating electricity using alternating current. It will be his greatest invention that will change the world. I will tell you about AC in detail a little later.
In 1882, he settled in Paris to work for the French branch of Thomas Edison’s Electric Company. He began installing indoor lighting, but managers noticed his talent and had to do more complex work, designing and building dynamos and motors.
He was soon traveling across Europe to fix problems at other Edison branches.
Tesla moved to New York
In 1884, Tesla’s manager offered him a job at the Edison Machine Works in New York City. He agreed and arrived in America with only four cents in his pocket because his money was stolen on the boat ride.
Tesla was initially a good influence of Edison. Edison was also impressed by Tesla, later saying: “I have many hard-working assistants but you take the cake.”
This mutual admiration did not last long. They will become bitter rivals. The two men disagreed on how electricity should be contained and distributed. Edison preferred direct current which is a system where electric charge flows in only one direction.
Tesla was a fan of alternating current in which the electric charge changes direction from time to time. Changing direction is important to maintain a steady supply of power because it doesn’t overpower the outlets.