Nikola Tesla is a name many may have heard of, but during his lifetime he was not as lauded for this genius inventions as he is today. Telsa was from Smiljan, Croatia and studied at Realschule, Karlsdadt, which was later called Johann-Rudolph-Glauber Realschule Karlstadt. He also attended school in Austria at the Technical University in Graz, where he studied physics and math, as well as going to the University of Prague to study philosophy.
He came to the US when he was 28 years old and worked with several famous people, to include Thomas Edison. Over his lifetime he had many patents in several countries. His first patent was for a commutator for dynamo-electric machines in 1884, but he went on to protect many of his other inventions with 112 in the US, as well as 30 in Great Britain, 10 in France, 27 in Belgium, 21 in Germany, 15 in Austria, 19 in Italy and several more in other countries.
Out of all these and an estimate of many others, he had several top inventions, to include:
- The Tesla Coil
The Telsa Coil is a transformer that can produce A/C current. It is made of a main coil and a secondary one. They each had their own capacitor that stored the electricity and were connected via a spark gap, and powered by high voltage energy sources. The main coil builds up a charge and the resistance in the spark gap is broken down, which allows current to flow and makes a magnetic field. It looks like a lightning bolt and was able to make fluorescent bulbs work with no need for any wires!
- The Magnifying Transmitter
The Telsa Coil was supposed to be part of Telsa’s wireless power system. This magnifying transmitter allowed Telsa to make it possible for his coil to cause fluorescent bulbs a kilometer away to turn on. This was done via the transmitter make electric energy waves that then could be used via tuning a receiving circuit.
- The Tesla Turbine
This style of a turbine engine utilized combustion to cause disks to rotate, and had an astonishing 90 percent fuel efficiency level.
- X-Ray images
Most people credit Roentgen with inventing x-rays films, but evidence says Telsa also worked in this area, but sadly a fire in his lab destroyed much of the proof. He was said to probably have made the first x-ray picture while using a vacuum tube to create a picture of the famous Mark Twain, but it failed and instead showed his camera lens screw. But he did manage later to create one of the human body, but Roentgen beat him to it in 1895, so he is not credited with being first.
Telsa also figured out that his coil was able to send as well as receive radio signals. As of 1895 he managed to send radio signals as far away as 50 miles, but again sadly, the fire in his lab destroyed a lot of the proof, so invention of the radio is credited to Guglielmo Marconi, who had the first patent for wireless telegraphy.
- Neon Lamps
While Tesla didn’t exact invent neon lighting, he made major contributions to it. He made the first neon sign, which he showed off at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, so if you love all the cool neon signs in bars and reastaurants, you have Telsa to thank.
- Hydroelectric power
Nine of Tesla’s patents involved hydroelecrical power, which one built at the famous Niagara Falls which he owned. This made Tesla a pioneer in clean energy since he touted using it instead of fossil fuels.
- Induction Motor
Even though Galileo Ferraris also invented and showed of an AC commutator-free 3-phase induction motor in 1885, Telsa had the patent for it first, though Ferraris built his first. This kind of engine is now common and used in things like blow dryers, power tools and vacuum cleaners.
- Remote Controller
Tesla also invented a type of remote control he dubbed as a “teleautomaton” and got a patent for it in 1898. He used is to power a toy boat in a demonstration he did that same year, but was first denied the patent because until he built the boat the patent office thought the invention wouldn’t work.
- Alternating Current
The most famous of Telsa’s inventions is alternating current, which we widely use nowadays. Telsa had worked for Edison in 1884, who wanted Telsa to help him find a way to make DC current better. Telsa tried to convince him AC was more efficient, but ended up in a fight with Edison, never getting paid for his work and being discredited by Edison. But these days Telsa is the victor because AC power is what is mostly used for powering up much of our machinery.
Sadly, he died in his own hotel room in 1943, supposedly of a coronary thrombosis.
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