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Friday, 7 October 2011

My Heroes (33): Nikola Tesla

(It's months since I posted an instalment of the My Heroes series. Not because I am running out of heroes but because I am running out of time having started a new small business.)
Tesla was a Serbian born in the old Austrian Empire in1856                                                            He died in poverty in New York in 1943. There are many people  who have never heard of him or, if they have, know nothing about him. This is a great pity because in some ways he was the superior inventor to Thomas Edison.
He did not posses Edison's business acumen or ruthless streak but they were great rivals in the race to supply public electricity.  Edison favoured the Direct Current method and Tesla Alternating Current and Tesla won that battle because it's a better method although I don't want to go into detail in this post.
He patented modern radio transmission before Marconi, fluorescent lighting and the high-voltage Tesla coil. He was responsible for induction coils, three-phase electricity and, as already stated public supply of AC current.
He also patented a method of transmitting electric current using only one wire!
He took out hundreds of patents and it is thought that many of his ideas are lost to us forever.
There is a lot of information about Tesla on the web and about Tesla and his relationship with Edison, Marconi and Westinghouse. It's all very interesting if you want to learn more!


klahanie said...

Hey bazza,
Thanks for sharing this information on another one of your heroes. Busy as you are, I know it's only a question of time before you put up an instalment regarding me. Then again, maybe not.
I'm shocked to have found out how such an electrical genius is relatively unheard of. Watts that all about?
Thank you for plugging Tesla.

David said...

Dear bazza,
Personally, I'd never heard of the fella until now, which just shows how history can be kind to some, but not to others. I would vouch though, that my Dad, being an engineer who worked for Marconi (the company), has heard of him.
Thanks for the info, bazza.
With Very Best Wishes,

joanne fox said...

I've never heard of him either. Poor chap, having all his achievements forgotten. Obviously his PR people were not very good.

A new small business? How exciting, hope it's going well.

bazza said...

Gary: I am sure you could be a future candidate for this series! Thank you for volunteering. Don't call us, we'll call you....
Thanks for the puns. I know you are well-versed in current affairs.
Have a great weekend my friend.

bazza said...

David: Hi there. I think you would find his biographical details as interesting as his inventions - ask you Dad (I'm assuming the gentleman is still with us?)
Enjoy the weekend David.

bazza said...

Joanne fox: I am glad that a few more people have now heard of Tesla. The strange thing is that now you know his name you may start noticing it in the media.
My business is acting as an agent for some industrial sign-making companies (shop-fronts, vehicle graphics etc). It has started off OK but the cash doesn't start coming in for while!
Incidentally I just saw a lady on breakfast TV (how sad am I ?)who got a three-book deal because of something she wrote for a competition. Made me think of you!

Anonymous said...

Sir Tom Eagerly says:
Bazza old thing, you still have not got around to myself. Surely I'm one of your heroes; that Klahanie chap is a commoner isn't he?
Bottoms up old bean!

John said...

Hi Bazza,
I have actually heard of this chap! They did a thing on him on the One Show a while ago. It seems a shame to me that he is almost forgotten, but not by everyone, it seems!

bazza said...

Sir Tom: Keep waiting old pal. When I got about another thousand heroes out of the way I might get around to you!
It's not becoming for the aristocracy to look down on commoners.

bazza said...

John: Hooray! At last someone has heard of poor old Tesla.
I didn't see that show but he is often mentioned in the press and on TV - a really interesting person and story. I find it very fascinating.
Thanks for looking in.

rob said...

I'd heard a bit about Tesla.
Of course there's often controversy with scientific discoveries....either the wrong person gets the credit or a team of scientists are overlooked and all the credit given to one person.

It's good to feel your range of enthusiasms Bazza.

Incidentally, in case you didn't know, there's a documentary series on BBC4 at the moment about the history of discoveries about electricity (I think it's called 'shock and awe') doubt he will mention Tesla in the next programme.

bazza said...

Hi Rob. Hope you are keeping well and progressing along your chosen path.
I was aware of that BBC4 series but not seen any yet. I suppose the repeats will be on for the next year or two in view of the new raft of financial cutbacks announced by the beeb.
I think Tesla may be making a posthumous fight-back to promote his name!

THE SNEE said...

I too have heard of the dear, unrecognized genius, Tesla, but didn't know all the details. Now I'm feeling fully charged by the info you provided Bazza. A new business! Now that sounds invigorating. I hope you start bringing in the cash, and BTW....Happy New Year!

Kathy said...

Hi Bazza! I haven't been a good blogger here lately...hopefully I'll be back soon. Interesting post! I've never heard of him.

bazza said...

Snee: Thanks for your comment. I seem to have become a one-man Save Tesla campaign!
The business is very low-level and could take-off or fall flat but that's part of the fun I think.
Thanks for the (Jewish) New Year greeting - same to you!

bazza said...

Kathy: I really don't feel that one should feel pressurised to be a 'good' blogger. I say post what you want when you want!
Anyway, it's nice to hear from you again.

joanne said...

the name Tesla brings back fond memories of college days... (sigh)... thank you for bringing attention to him...

ironic how the quieter (but nonetheless immensely talented) of people so often go unnoticed and unmentioned by anyone... then to die in poverty and relative obscurity...

good luck with the new business!

bazza said...

joanne: Somehow his story makes him a more appealing character to me. Tesla did have real ambition and he believed in himself but was uncompromising when he knew something was right.
Thanks for the good wishes Joanne!

Kelly said...

Hey man, how's it hangin'? Hope you've been doing well.

I've read a couple books on Tesla and other information about him on the web. He created many things and it's sad that, in the end, he went a little crazy. Much of his writing and his ideas were confiscated, supposedly, by the FBI. Presumably, because a lot of his notes contained information about "free energy" and that's a big no-no to wealthy corporations who have a vested interest in "profitable energy". Tesla is one of my heroes, as well, not only for his ingenious inventions but for how he stood up to bullies like Edison and others who opposed him back in the day. There are a lot of details about the man's life that people should read about.

Great choice in heroes, bazza. And great post, too.

bazza said...

Kelly: I knew that there were all sorts of stories and mysteries surrounding the man but I have learnt something interesting from your comment. It's good to have you back Kelly!