Hello YouTube, Jim here! Throughout history, there are figures that stand out in the crowd of incredible contributors of their time for their insurmountable achievements. During the late 19th century, that praise went to Nikola Tesla – inventor, engineer, physicist, and futurist that devoted the bulk of his years to the advent of new beneficial and exciting creations. We’re looking into the incredible life of the man and inventory with these top ten facts about Nikola Tesla.
A Question of Nationality
Stand in a crowded room and holler out that Nikola Tesla was Croatian and we guarantee you’ll be met with at least a dozen people that vehemently disagree. It would be the same response had you pegged him as Serbian. Who has claim to Tesla’s nationality has been a battle for the ages – born in an Austro-Hungarian village on what is now Croatian soil to Serbian parents, at the age of 28-years-old, the electrical engineer and inventor moved to the United States, where he died 58 years later as an American citizen. To confuse matters further, due to his place of birth and his move across the ocean, Tesla has been labeled as both American and Austrian.
The Truth of Tesla's Money
There’s a tale that’s told about Nikola Tesla saying he died penniless and destitute, that his many patents, from which he should have made quite a sum of money, weren’t enough to sustain a living. Then there’s another side of the story, one that may be a little more rooted in truth. Tesla’s monetary issues may have been more of a case of misguided obligations, for the money he did earn he spent on further research and warehouses to house his inventions and work. On top of the money received for sale of his patents, nine years before his death, Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company started paying the inventor $125 a month on top of rent. According to Margaret Cheney’s Tesla: Man Out of Time, the inventor also received $7,200 from the government and individuals of Yugoslav.
The Death Beam Payment
Should you ever find yourself behind on a bill, consider trying to sell the promise of an incredible invention. Later in life, Tesla was considerably low on cash, leading to the dismantling of the equipment in the Wardenclyffe Tower. To help pay the tab he had accrued at the Governor Clinton Hotel in Manhattan, New York, the innovator promised to pay management with a death beam he had been working on. Upon his death, a search for this dangerous device commenced. It’s said that when the FBI opened the container said to house the death beam, the agent, John O. Trump, was met with electrical apparatuses worth no extravagant value.
Tesla may have had hundreds of innovative patents, but that may only be scratching the surface of what the great inventor accomplished in his lifetime. Some claim that a selection of his inventions have gone missing since his passing, but reality may be a bit more mysterious than simple misplacement. After his death in 1943, Tesla’s nephew, Sava Kosanovic, was said to have gone to his uncle’s hotel room to find that it had been searched and items of interest had been removed. According to former assistant director of the New York FBI office, P. E. Foxworth, the bureau had taken an interest. Over 70 years after the inventor’s death, declassified documents were released, showing the American government had been keenly interested in the mysterious “death ray.” Contradicting Foxworth, in 2008, the FBI denied ever possessing Tesla’s papers or searching his hotel room.
War of the Currents
It’s quite difficult to bring up Nikola Tesla and not, at some point, mention Thomas Edison. At one time, the two were locked in what is known as the War of the Currents. On one side, there was Thomas Edison and his push for direct current. Opposing the infamous inventor was Nikola Tesla, who aimed to push alternating current, which was believed to solve the limitation problems of Edison’s direct currents. Unlike direct currents, alternating currents could be made available in higher and lower voltages. In November of 1896, Tesla’s concept was proven effective when Niagara Falls was used to accomplish what was thought impossible: generate enough power through alternating currents to light up the entirety of Buffalo, New York.
Tesla the Environmentalist
If there’s one thing that can be said about many of Tesla’s proven patents, it’s that they all seemed to have little to no environmental impact. In fact, one of the inventor’s biggest encouragements for the world was the use of renewable energy. Unlike many people alive today, Tesla feared the consumption of Earth’s resources and sought an alternative means of providing energy. In one of his many efforts to prove the effectiveness and possibility of renewable energy, Tesla created artificial lightning and devised the system of polyphase alternating current electricity, or clean and efficient electrical energy.
The town of Shoreham, Long Island isn’t known for much, but in the early 1900s, the land it now resides on was home to a wireless transmission station that came from the mind of Nikola Tesla. The 186-foot or 57-meter tall tower was designed to communicate telephonically and fax messages to England, though testing at the facility only occurred once in July of 1903. The Wardenclyffe Tower, which had been named after the base building’s prior owner, proved to be a very temporary structure as creditors from Westinghouse, the financier for the project, collected on nonpayment for services provided to Tesla by confiscating equipment from the tower. In 1917, the tower was leveled and the area eventually gave way to an industrial clean-up facility and a statue of Tesla. Nikola's ultimate plan for the tower was to create and distribute free electricity to the entire world by "injecting" electrical current into the Earth at the right frequency, thus, to put into terms we can all understand, would create a wireless wifi signal - but instead of getting internet, you'd get electricity. Just imagine your phone battery never running out of a charge.
Visions For the Future
Nostradamus may have had a series of accurate predictions, but he wasn’t the only historical prophet. Though Nikola Tesla may not have been known for being a future forecaster, he had allegedly made a few impressive predictions that came to fruition. Tesla mentioned an organization that would oversee the water supply and, 35 years later, the Environmental Protection Agency came about, and he contemplated energy of the future, which would include water-based power; but the inventor was way ahead of his time when he predicted the advent of the smartphone. In an interview with John B. Kennedy, Tesla foresaw a future, pocket-sized device that would connect everybody, even people separated by thousands of miles, visually and audibly.
Tesla's Many Patents
Nikola Tesla was many things, but unproductive certainly wasn’t one of them. Throughout the course of his working life, the impressive inventor is connected to around 300 different patents across the globe. While many of them have since gone missing, an abundance are available for viewing and show just how advanced he was for his time. In 1896, Tesla was issued patents for what’s described as an “Apparatus for Producing Ozone,” an “Apparatus for Producing Electric Currents of High Frequency and Potential” and a method of regulating said currents, an “Electric Condenser,” and an “Alternating Motor.” Though many of his ideas went unrealized, his alternating current motors caught the eye of George Westinghouse, who licensed Tesla’s patents to push out Thomas Edison’s direct-current motors.
The Ails of Nikola Tesla
If our time digging through history has taught us anything, it’s that the most brilliant of minds come with their own idiosyncrasies. In the case of Tesla, he may not have been as mentally unhinged as, say, Francisco Goya, but did have some peculiarities like an alleged phobia and aversion to pearls, overweight women, and earrings. Unsurprisingly, his likely overly active mind is said to have been a cause of his insomnia and a strange habit of not sleeping for more than two hours a day. The eccentric inventor was also said to have been a germaphobe and suffered from an obsessive-compulsive disorder that kept him strictly organized when it came to his work.