Tesla was born at midnight on July 9, 1856 in Smiljan, Lika,
Croatia. He was known to say, "I am a Serb but my fatherland is
Croatia." At the age of twenty-six while walking with a friend in a park
in Budapest, Nikola recalled,
"…the idea occurred to
me like a flash of lightning and in a second the truth revealed
itself. With a stick I drew in the sand the diagrams...".
He was talking about an alternating current (AC) induction motor. Nikola patented his
motor in 1893 and used it to light the World Columbian Exposition in
Chicago in the same year. Then in 1896 the world’s first hydroelectric
power was sent from Niagara Falls to light the city of Buffalo.
Nikola Tesla, through George Westinghouse, had laid the
foundations of the power system used around the world today.
Many scientists and individuals acknowledge Tesla’s
foresightedness and accredit him as being the originator of many of
today’s inventions. The wording to describe Tesla’s 1891 carbon button
lamp (the "brush"), with minimal word change, serves well as a
description of the million-magnification point electron microscope
developed by Vladimir R. Zworykin in 1939. The "brush" has also
been related to the cyclotron and the atom smasher.
Tesla described a vacuum bulb, considered to be the forerunner of
the radio vacuum tube. He talked about visible and invisible light and
described blurred photographic plates in his laboratory, considered to
be the earliest reference to X-rays. And did Nikola venture into
plasma physics when he created a flame and described it as "burning
without consuming material or even a chemical reaction"? Fifty years
before the development of the fluorescent lamp, Nikola built
phosphor-coated globes and illuminated his gas-filled tubes, which he
had twisted into names. The disputed credit for the invention of the
radio was settled in 1943 when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an
initial finding in Marconi’s favor to rule that Tesla had
anticipated all other contenders with his fundamental radio patents.
The list of credits given to Nikola Tesla is large indeed. He has
been associated with:
transmission to satellites
solid state transistor technology
Tesla’s genius with
electricity received further stimulation through his interest in
resonance. The ubiquitous Tesla Coil is evidence of the
synergy of electricity and vibrations. With a power cord from an
insulated handle at one end and primary and secondary coils tuned to
resonate at the other end, the Tesla Coil, when plugged
in, begins to vibrate and hum. The small Tesla Coil
generates high voltages and high frequencies and is used in one form
or another in every radio and television set and can be found in every
university science laboratory: used to detect leaks in vacuum apparatus.
It has been said that resonance is a manner in which nature works. It
covers all aspects of science from electricity to nuclear fusion.
Nothing exists in the Universe that does not have
vibration. Nikola knew that vibration is the rapid
back-and-forth motion of an object, which creates waves. He also knew
that resonance is the effect of these waves on another
object when, in 1898, he made an oscillator no larger than a fist and
attached it to a steel link two feet long and two inches thick.
"For a long time nothing
happened..." he said. "But at last ... the great steel link began to
tremble, increased its trembling until it dilated and contracted
like a beating heart - and finally broke!"
Though his genus was often
ridiculed, his own comments showed his confidence.
"I know that you are a
noble fellow and devoted friend and, noting your indignation at
these uncalled-for attacks, I am afraid that you might give it
expression. I beg you not to do it under any condition, as you would
offend me. Let my ’friends’ do their worst, I like it better so. Let
them spring on scientific societies worthless schemes, oppose a
cause which is deserving, throw sand into the eyes of those who
might see - they will reap their reward in time...."
In his younger years
Nikola sensed the universe was,
"composed of a symphony
of alternating currents with the harmonies played on a vast range of
octaves. The 60-cycles-per-second AC was but a single note in a
lower octave. In one of the higher octaves at a frequency of
billions of cycles per second was visible light. To explore this
whole range of electrical vibration between his low-frequency
alternating current and light waves, he sensed, would bring him
closer to an understanding of the cosmic symphony." (1)
In his sunset years,
Tesla believed that all matter came from a primary substance, the luminiferous ether, which filled all space.
Nikola once said,
experience an inexpressible satisfaction from the knowledge that my
poly phase system is used throughout the world to lighten the burden
of mankind and increase comfort…"
Amongst his many legacies to
society are a number of small items that employ Nikola’s
discoveries in both electricity and vibration. Nikola influenced
the production of personal oscillators that vibrate in tune with "the
luminiferous ether" (collectively called, Purple Plates).
Like many of his inventions, the plates cannot be explained, and yet for
over twenty-eight years the plates have continued to offer the same "increase
comfort and happiness" to society that his poly phase system has
provided since 1896.
Nikola Tesla, aged 86, died from coronary thrombosis at 10:30 PM
on January 7, 1943 in his room at the Hotel New Yorker