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Essay: Nikola Tesla: The Overlooked Inventor Who Changed the World

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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  • Words: 1,317 (approx)
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The world as we know it today would not be the same without the work of many great inventors. George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison, and many more. But one of the most overlooked and perhaps one of the greatest inventors of all time is Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla invented many of the things that we use every single day and most people don't even realize it. How can we enjoy the technology we use today without paying respect to the great mind that first created it? Tesla was one of the greatest minds to ever walk this Earth.

Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in Smiljan in the Austrian Empire, which is now known as modern day Croatia. Tesla was one of five children, his father was a priest and his mother was not formally educated but she was very intelligent despite that. When Tesla was five years old, his older brother Dane was killed in a horse riding accident. This devastated Tesla, he and Dane were very close. Historians believe that this effected him for the entirety of his life and likely was a contributing factor of his unstable mental condition towards the end of his lifetime.

Tesla was to no surprise a very educated man. He attended the Austrian Polytechnic Institute and later the University of Prague. He studied engineering and went on to become an electrical engineer. Tesla was a very bright electrical engineer, and most of the inventions he would create in his lifetime would be some sort of an electrical invention. Upon graduation Tesla got a job as an electrical engineer for a telephone company in Budapest. He exceled in his work and started to create his own inventions. It was here where he made the decision to immigrate to the United States. The main basis of this decision was the lack of interest his inventions were receiving in Europe.

Tesla made his mind up to leave for the United States. His trip over to the United State did not go smoothly at all. Right at the start of his trip most of his belongings were stolen. This included his ticket, most of the money he had, and almost all of his clothes. The trip continued to get worse from there, along the way a riot broke out on the ship. In the chaos of the riot Tesla was almost thrown overboard. He managed to dodge being thrown overboard and eventually made it to the United States. Most people would have taken this as an omen that they did not need to continue on this journey, but Tesla continued on until he made it to the New York City on June 6th 1884. Tesla arrived with hardly any money to his name, but he did not care.

Almost immediately upon arrival Tesla began work with one of the great minds that most people are familiar with, Thomas Edison. One of Tesla's first assignments was to go work on Henry Villard's ship, known as "The Oregon." Tesla's assignment was to repair the dynamos, which is similar to a generator. The ship was the only one in existence that had electricity on it. Since this was such a new technology at the time, no one really knew how to repair it. Tesla spent a few days on the ship and repaired all of the dynamos and increased the efficiency as well. It was during this time that invented new types of machines that would go to replace Edison's technology.

Tesla and Edison were originally comrades and even friends beyond that. Although when you have two of the world's greatest minds in a race to create similar electrical technologies tension can arise. It was not long before Tesla and Edison did not get along and were always trying to undercut one another. Both of these men were very hard to get along with, and that proved to be a problem for the rest of their lives.

Tesla's primary concentration in his work was electrical inventions, being that he was one of history's greatest electrical engineers. He achieved a great deal in the field of technology. He even went on to become known as the "father of radio." Tesla had many great works, but perhaps the greatest of his inventions were dynamos, the AC electrical system, hydroelectric power, and the Tesla coil. Tesla held almost 300 patents.

Tesla applied for the patent on dynamos on March 22, 1887. A dynamos is an electrical device similar to a generator. It is important to note that Tesla did not invent the dynamo but he made significant improvements to the existing technology. Tesla made the dynamo far more efficient and reduced costs and made the dynamo more accessible to more people. Dynamos were a huge invention at the time, because this allowed for organizations to use electricity to power systems without it be astronomically expensive.

The AC electrical system is arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time. This is something we used each and everyday and is relatively unchanged since its invention. AC stands for alternating current. This is the technology we use today that is the driving force in electric motors. Direct current or DC was Edison's brainchild. Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse were in a race to create the ultimate electrical current system coined the "war of currents." Eventually Westinghouse took Tesla's idea of AC current and started producing it for less, based off of Tesla patents.

Hydroelectric power is exactly what is sounds like. Electricity created by using water. The greatest example of this is the hydroelectric power plant at Niagara falls. This was Tesla's work. Although Tesla was not the inventor of hydroelectric power, he made great advancements in the technology and made it much more sustainable.

The Tesla coil was an important invention for the world. This was the first time a device was able to transfer electricity wirelessly. It was used to power things like telephone circuits and predominantly lighting systems. One of the main benefits to the Tesla coil was the ability to handle more current than a transformer.

Tesla died on January 7, 1943 in New York City. He was found by a maid unresponsive in the floor after what appeared to be heart failure from the day before. Tesla achieved so much in his lifetime and isn't given the recognition he deserves

Tesla's death is a very sad story. He suffered a nervous breakdown after the failure of one of his projects. He eventually returned to work but was no longer effective like he once was. He became very poor and also reclusive towards the end of his life. Tesla's continued to come up with ideas but they became very outlandish and impossible to create. In his deteriorating mental state he came up with the idea of a "death ray." This caught the attention of the FBI and he was being watched by the FBI until he passed away.

Tesla is celebrated today, although not as much as other inventors. His inventions are still widely used today. He is well respected by those in a scientific field, but the common person has very little or no knowledge of him.

There is a museum dedicated to the work of Nikola Tesla in Belgrade. As well the Nikola Tesla street corner in New York City. This location is where the legendary scientist enjoyed feeding the local birds.

Tesla Inc, also known as Tesla Motor Company was founded on July 1, 2003. In the past fifteen years Tesla has become the world's premier electric car manufacturer. The reason the company is named after Tesla is the motors put into the vehicles would not be possible without Tesla's work on the alternating current electrical system. The company has created cars capable of a 0-60 time of 2.3 seconds. The current CEO of Tesla is billionaire Elon Musk.

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