Nikola Tesla



1856-1943

The genius who lit the world


Nikola Testa came to The United States of America in 1884 with an introduction letter from Charles Batchelor to Thomas Edison:
I know two great men, he wrote, one is you and the other is this young man." Tesla spent the next 59 years of his productive life living in
New York. Tesla set about improving Edison's line of dynamos while working Edison's lab in New Jersey. It was here that his
divergence of opinion with Edison over direct current versus alternating current began. This disagreement climaxed in the war of the
currents, as Edison fought a losing battle to protect his investment in direct current equipment and facilities.


Many United States congressman gave a speeches in the House of Representatives on july 10, 1990 celebrating the 134th anniversary
of scientist-inventor Nikola Tesla. Senator Levine from Michigan spoke in the US Senate on the same occasion. The liberty Science
center in Jersey City, New Jersey has a daily science demonstration of the Tesla coil creating a million volts of electricity before the
spectator's eyes. Many books were written about Tesla: Prodigal genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neil and
Margaret Cheney's
book Tesla: Man out of time has constributed significantly to his fame. A documentary film Nikola Tesla, The
genius who lit the world,
produced by the Tesla memorial society and the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, The secret of
Nikola Tesla,
(Orson Welles), BBC Film Master of the Ionosphere are other tributes to the great genius.


Nikola Tesla was born on July 10 1856, Smiljan, Croatia. He was an Electrical engineer, physicist, inventor and he is best known
for his constribution to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system. Tesla pointed out the inefficiency of Edison's
direct current electrical power houses that have been built up and down the Atlantic seaboard. The secret, he felt, lay in the use of
alternating current, because to him all energies were cyclic.


Edison's lamps were weak and inefficient when supplied by direct current. This system had a severe disadvantage in that it could not be
transported more than two miles due to its inability to step up to high voltage levels necessary for long distance transmission. Consecuently,
a direct current power station was required at two miles intervals. The future according to Tesla, belong to alternating current, because it
change direction 50 or 60 times per second and can be stepped up to very high voltage, minimizing power loss across great distances.


Nikola Tesla developed polyphase alternating current system of generators, motors and transformers and held 40 basic
U.S. patentes on the system, which George Westinghouse bought, determined to supply America with the Tesla system. Edison
did not want to lose his DC empire, and a bitter war ensued. This was the war of the current between AC and DC. Tesla-Westinhouse
ultimately emerged the winner because AC was a superior technology. It was a war won for the progress of both, North America
and the world.


Tesla introduced his motors and electrical systems in a classic paper, "A new system of Alternating current motors and
transformers" which he delivered before the American Institute of Electrical engineers in 1888. One of the most impressed was
the industrialist and inventor George Westinghouse. One day he visited Tesla laboratory and was amazed at what he saw. Tesla had
constructed a model polyphase system consisting of an alternating current dynamo, step-up and step-down transformers and A.C.
motor at the other end. The perfect partnersship between Tesla and Westinghouse for the nationwide use of electricity in North America
had begun.


In february 1882, Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field, a fundamental principle in physics and the basis of nearly all devices
that use alternating current. Tesla brilliantly adapted the principle of rotating magnetic field for the construction of alternating
current induction motor and the polyphase system for the generation, transmission, distribution and use of electrical power. Tesla
astonished the world by demonstrating, the wonders of alternating current electricity at the world columbian Exposition in Chicago in
in 1893. Alternating current became standard power in the 20th century. This accomplishment changed the world. He designed the first
hydroelectric powerplant in Niagara Falls in 1895, which was the final victory of alternating current. The achivement was covered
widely in the world press, and Tesla was praised as a hero world wide. King Nikola of Montenegro conferred upon him
the Order of Danilo.


Tesla was a pioneer in many fields. The Tesla coil, which he invented in 1891, is widely used today in radio and television
sets and other electronic equipmnent. That year also marked the date of Tesla's United States citizenship. His alternating current
induction motor is considered one of the ten greatest dicoveries of all time. Among his discoveries are the fluorescent light,
laser beam, wireless commuications, wireless trasmission of electrical energy, remote control, robotics, Tesla's turbines and
vertical take off aircraft. Tesla is the father of the radio and the modern electrical transmissions system. He registered over 700 patents
worldwide. His vision included exploration of solar energy and the power of the sea. He foresaw interplanetary communications and
satellites.


The electrical Review in 1896 published X-rays of man, made by Tesla, with X-ray tubes of his own design. They appeared
at the same time as when Roentgen annouced his discorery of X-rays. Tesla never attempted to proclaim priority. Roentgen
congratulated Tesla on his sophisticated X-ray pictures, and Tesla even wrote Roentgen's name on one of his films. He
experimented with shadowgraphs similar to those that later were to be used by Wilhelm Rontgen when he discovered
X-rays in 1895. Tesla's countless experiments included work on a carbon button lamp, on the power of electrical resonance, and on
various types of lightning. Tesla invented the special vacuum tube which emitted light to be used in photography.


One of his remarkable invention was a bladeless steam turbine based on a spiral flow principle. Tesla also patented a pump
design to operate at ezxremely high temperature. Nikola Tesla patented the basic system of radio in 1896. He published the schematic
diagrams describing all the basic elements of the radio trasmitter which was later used by Marconi In 1896 Tesla constructed
an instrument to receive radio waves. He experimented with this device and transmitted radio waves from his laboratory on South
5th ave. to the Gerlach Hotel at 27th st. in Manhattan. The device had a magnet which gave off intense magnetic fields up to 20,000
lines per centimeter. The radio device clearly establishes his priority in the discorevy of radio.


The shipboard quench-spark trasmitter produced by the Lowentein Radio company and licensed under Nikola Tesla company
patents, was installed on the U.S. Naval vessels prior to World War l. In december 1901, Marconi establshed wireless communication
between Briain and the Newfoundland, Canada, earning him the Nobel prize in 1909. But much of Marconi's work was not original.
In 1864, James Maxwell theorized electromagnetic waves. In 1887, Heinrich Hertz proved Maxwell's theories. Later, sir Oliver Logde
extended the prototype system. The Brandley increased the distance of transmission. The coherer wasw perfected by Marconi.


The heart of radio transmission is based upon four tuned circuits for transmitting and receiving. It is Tesla's original concept
demonstrated in his famous lecture at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1893. The four circuits, use in two pairs, are still a
fundamental part of all radio and television equipment. The United States Supreme court, in 1943 held Marconi's most important
patent invalid, recognizing Tesla's more significant contribution as the inventor of radio technology.


Tesla built an experimental station in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1899, to experiment with high voltage, high
frecuency electricity and other phenomena. When the Colorado Springs Tesla coil magnifying transmitter was energized, it
created sparks 30 feet long. From the outside antenna, these sparks could be seen from a distance of ten miles. From this
laboratory, Tesla generated and sent out wireless waves which mediated energy, without wires for miles.


Tesla Staying in Colorado Spring from may 1899 until 1900, made what he regarded as his most important discovery,
Terrestrial stationary waves. By this discovery he proved that the Earth could be used as a conductor and would be as responsive as
a tuning fork to electrical vibration of a certain frequency. He also lighted 200 lamps without wires from a distance of 25 miles
(40 kilometers) and created man-made lightning. At one time he was certain he had received signals from another planet in his
Colorado laboratoy, a claim that was met with disbelief in some sientific journals.

There is not doubt that this man contribute to the molding of the great North America.

The men who molded North America


Julio Duran

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