Nikola Tesla: Did You Know?

“Tesla was considered an eccentric man who talked of death rays that could destroy 10,000 airplanes at a distance of 250 miles. However, Tesla devised the AC (alternating current) system that we use in our homes today. AC offered great advantages over the rival DC system.

By using Tesla’s transformers, AC voltages could be stepped up (or down) and transmitted over long distances through thin wires. DC could not (it required a large power plant every square mile and had to be transmitted through very thick cables). Tesla also invented electric motors that today are used in every appliance in your house. He invented fluorescent bulbs and neon signs. He designed the world’s first hydroelectric plant, in Niagara Falls and patented the first speedometer for cars. Thomas Edison, who’s money was invested in DC power systems, did his best to discredit Tesla. Edison even went so far as to claimed that AC electricity was far more dangerous than his DC power.

At the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago, Tesla demonstrated the safety AC electricity was by passing high frequency AC power through his body to power light bulbs. He then was able to shoot large lightning bolts from his Tesla coils to the crowd without harm.

By 1898, he was demonstrating to the world the first remote controlled model boat at Madison Square Garden. Tesla wanted to provide free energy to the world and in 1900 began construction of a “Wireless Broadcasting System” tower on Long Island, New York. This tower was intended to link the world’s telephone and telegraph services, and transmit pictures, stock reports, and weather information worldwide.

Tesla ran into financial trouble with the world thinking he was insane. The transmission of voice, picture, and electricity was unheard of at this time.

Tesla demonstrated the principles behind radio nearly ten years before Marconi. In 1943 the US Supreme Court ruled that Marconi’s patents were invalid due to Tesla’s descriptions of his work. Still, most references do not credit Tesla with the invention of radio.

Tesla made the earth into an electric tuning fork by getting a steam-driven oscillator to vibrate at the same frequency as the ground. The result was an earthquake in the surrounding city. He had accurately determined the resonant frequencies of the Earth almost 60 years before science could confirm his results.

In 1899, he sent waves of energy through the Earth, thus providing the theory for earthquake seismic stations. By adding electricity to the returning energy he created the largest man-made lightning bolt ever recorded (130 feet). The accompanying thunder was heard 22 miles away and created a blue glow around the meadow outside his Colorado laboratory.

At the beginning of World War I, Tesla proposed the use of energy waves to detect German submarines (known today as RADAR). Thomas Edison rejected his idea as ludicrous.”

Eventually, Tesla was awarded the Edison Medal, which was an insult to Tesla, given the verbal abuse that he had taken from Edison.Tesla died penniless at age 86 on January 7, 1943. In his lifetime, he received over 800 different patents.

Scientists continue to scour through his notes.The “Tesla bladeless disk turbine engine” that he designed, when made with modern materials, is proving to be among the most efficient motors ever made. Experiments he performed with cryogenic liquids and electricity provide the foundation for modern superconductors. He also talked about experiments that suggested particles with fractional charges of an electron. In 1977 they were “discovered” as quarks!

Nikola Tesla has been referred to as “the man who invented the 20th century.” His use of alternating electrical currents and invention of the AC engine brought revolutionary changes in electrical power generation and transmission that remain the global standard today. Tesla recited entire books from memory, and designed his machines in his head, rather than on paper. He was also frequently ridiculed for proposing “impossible” inventions . . . which he then went and invented anyway.

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