“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.