B1 Intermediate US 49 Folder Collection
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Nikola Tesla,
famed and mysterious scientist,
inventor and proponent of the AC current system,
the Tesla Coil
and some believe
the inventor of the death ray
and free electricity for all!
Nikola Tesla was born in the Austrian Empire in 1856
in what is Croatia today.
His father was an Orthodox priest
who wanted his son to enter the same profession
but Nikola was only interested in science.
His mother invented labour saving devices
in her spare time
and Tesla credited her
as being the source of his inventiveness.
Around the age of 17 he fell ill
and was in bed for 9 months.
His father promised to send him
to the best science education
if he recovered from the illness.
He excelled in his first year
at the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz
earning the highest grades possible.
He was fascinated
by the mysterious phenomena of electricity
in his classes and wanted to know more
of this wonderful force.
He worked incredibly hard,
barely sleeping.
A trait that he was to keep throughout his life.
His teachers even wrote to Tesla's family
warning that he could die from overwork.
In subsequent years though,
he lost his scholarship
and became addicted to gambling,
losing his entire allowance.
Poor financial management
was another trait
that would hound Tesla in his later years.
When it came time for his exams
Tesla was unprepared.
He asked for more time
but it was refused.
So he dropped out of his studies
and never graduated.
Tesla got himself back on his feet
after a few years
and started work at the Budapest telephone exchange
as Chief Electrician
where he invented and perfected
a telephone amplifier.
He then went to work
for the Continental Edison Company in Paris.
There he was working on a new innovation.
Electric lighting.
His skills got him noticed
and soon he found himself heading to New York
to work for Edison.
In New York he was assigned to improving
and repairing generators.
After fixing the generators of the SS Oregon
all throughout the night
he happened to run into Edison.
Edison joked,
“I see our Parisian has been out all night!”.
Tesla explained
that he'd been working on the repairs for SS Oregon
at which point Edison conceded to his colleague:
"Mm,
this is a darn good man!"
Tesla started working
on an arc lighting system for Edison.
But it was never implemented.
Tesla left their employment shortly afterwards.
There was talk of unpaid bonuses
and disparaging remarks from Edison.
Tesla marked his departure
by scribbling across two pages of his diary
"Goodbye to the Edison Machine Works.
Tesla founded his own company,
Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing
and established a number of patents.
Even though it had the Tesla name,
the reality was
that the company was financed by two businessmen.
When they decided to abandon manufacture
and set up a new company
it left Tesla destitute and penniless.
During 1886 he had to work as a ditch digger
just to survive.
He wrote of the time:
“My high education in various branches of science,
mechanics and literature
seemed to me
like a mockery”
However
Tesla soon got himself back on his feet
with the invention of a new motor
that ran on alternating current or AC
which was eventually bought by Westinghouse.
Tesla was a champion of AC
and was hired by Westinghouse for $2000 per month
and given a hefty bonus.
Westinghouse Electric Company was founded
by George Westinghouse
and based their technology on AC.
In the late 1880s and early 1890s
a fierce commercial battle was going on
between Edison and Westinghouse.
Known as “The Battle of the Currents”
many unsavoury publicity stunts
were made by Edison
trying to prove that AC was unsafe.
But we'll not confront that particular Elephant in the room
for now...
Tesla became very wealthy
and now had enough money
to fund his own research,
hiring staff and opening workshops.
This was the golden age of Tesla's inventiveness.
In 1891 at the age of 35 he became a US citizen.
That same year
he patented the Tesla Coil.
He experimented with a system of wireless lighting.
Giving several public demonstrations
but he never received
commercial backing for the project.
At one demonstration
he told onlookers
that a system like this could transmit
“intelligible signals or power
to any distance without the use of wires”.
The thought that wireless power
could encompass the globe
was an idea that Tesla devoted much time and research to.
He started research
on wireless telegraphy
and in his laboratory observed strange signals
which he thought came from another planet.
He wrote to the press in 1899 and 1890
and an article was published entitled
“Talking With Planets”
More recently speculators think
he may have
unintentionally picked up signals
from Marconi's experiments
that were happening around the same time.
Tesla threw his money
into the wireless telegraphy research
and borrowed heavily from JP Morgan.
However Marconi's radio based system
which Tesla thought was in part copied from his designs
was the first to transmit a message
across the Atlantic.
After that,
investors preferred Marconi's system…
Which left Tesla once again without funds.
In 1906
it's speculated Tesla had a nervous breakdown.
From 1900
Tesla had lived in the Waldorf Astoria hotel.
In 1922 he moved to the St Regis Hotel.
Leaving his Waldorf Astoria bill unpaid.
After that
he moved from hotel to hotel
leaving his bills unpaid.
He liked feeding the pigeons
from the windows of his hotel room.
Despite issues with money
he spent over $2000
building a device
to heal the bones of a sick pigeon.
He said:
"There was one,
a beautiful bird,
pure white with light grey tips on its wings.
It was a female.
I had only to wish
and call her
and she would come flying to me.
I loved that pigeon
as a man loves a woman,
and she loved me.
As long as I had her,
there was a purpose to my life.”
Tesla never married
explaining that it would
get in the way of his scientific abilities.
When Tesla was 75
he was friends with a young science fiction writer
called Kenneth Swezey
who organized regular birthday parties for Tesla.
The press would be invited.
At one party
Tesla announced
that he had invented a motor
that ran on cosmic rays
that would run for 500 years
and a machine to photograph thoughts.
He also announced
that he had invented a “peace ray”
which he called
teleforce
that could bring down 10,000 airplanes at 200 miles distance.
When later questioned on his experiments he replied:
"But it is not an experiment...
I have built,
demonstrated
and used it.
Only a little time will pass
before I can give it to the world."
Nikola Tesla died alone in his hotel room
in 1943 at the age of 86
and his ashes are displayed
in a gold-plated sphere
in the Nikola Tesla Museum.
Two days after Tesla's death
the FBI ordered the seizure of his belongings.
An MIT Professor
John Trump
analysed the items.
He reported after 3 days deliberation
that there was
“nothing that would constitute a hazard
in unfriendly hands.”
"Cut!
Someone clean that up!"
"Never work with children or animals,
that's what they say at R.A.D.A."
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Nikola Tesla and his incredible inventions

49 Folder Collection
shuting1215 published on February 2, 2020
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