10 things you didn’t know about Nikola Tesla


10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Greatest Inventor, Nikola Tesla

Billed as archrival of Thomas Alva Edison, Nikola Tesla is considered to the greatest inventor to walk on Earth. Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.

Born on July 10, 1856, in Smiljan (now Croatia), Nikola Tesla died a poor man’s death on 7th January 1943. Tesla spent his entire lifetime inventing things but the AC electric supply system stands out as his major contribution to science and our daily life.

When he was alive, Tesla remained unrecognized due to his rivalry with Edison but after his death, his reputation and inventions have seen a popular resurgence. In 1960, the General Conference on Weights and Measures introduced the term “tesla” to the International System of Units for the SI unit measure for magnetic field strength.

You may learn everything about Nikola Tesla from various web resources including Wikipedia. But there are some interesting things about Tesla that even Wiki doesn’t know.

Here are the 10 interesting things about Tesla that you didn’t  know:

#1 Tesla was born during a lightning storm

Tesla was born in Smiljan (now Croatia) during a violent lightning storm. As his mother was having labor pains, the midwife assisting her pregnancy told her after seeing the continued violent lightening that this meant Tesla would be a “child of darkness.” Tesla’s mom had other ideas about Tesla and replied: “No. He will be a child of light.”

#2. Tesla thought of wireless internet a hundred years ago in 1901

Tesla was pretty prolific with his inventions but he couldn’t convert all his ideas into one. Wireless Internet was one of them. While developing transatlantic radio, he envisioned a system of collecting information, encoding it and broadcasting that information to a hand-held device. This is the Internet-enabled smartphone that we have today. He wrote in the magazine that, one day it would be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world.Seth Porges, the magazine’s technology editor, disclosed Tesla’s prediction at a presentation, titled “108 years of futurism”, to industry figures in 2010 in New York.

3. Tesla was an environmentalist

This would elate the greens around the world. Tesla was much concerned about how we were consuming the Earth’s resources and was an advocate of renewable fuel. He researched methods of using natural energy from the ground and the sky to minimize the human impact of fossil fuel consumption. In order to help the environment, Tesla created artificial lightning in his own lab.

4. Tesla was a humanist

Tesla was a humanist to the core. In those days of black apartheid in the United States, Tesla believed everybody’s equal right to the Earth’s resources. As a humanist, he also tried to improve human conditions without thinking about profits. This is the prime reason that Tesla died a poor man while his competitor Edison was minting money in Wall Street.

5. Tesla was Eidetic: He had a strong capacity for memory

Tesla’s memory was eidetic. Which means that he had a sharp photographic memory and recall entire books in great detail. According to studies, he allegedly used his potent imagination to temper the vivid nightmares he had as a child.

6. The U.S. Government has classified Tesla’s possessions

When Tesla died, the Office of Alien Property seized all of his possessions.It is said that this was done due to pressure from Edison on the American government. Some of the possessions were eventually released most of his possessions to his family. The family in turn donated a  few items to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. The government is yet to release some of his personal documents more than 74 years after his death.

7. Tesla may have had obsessive compulsive behavior and insomnia

Tesla was an incurable insomniac and claimed that he needed only two hours of sleep a night. He also got frightening nightmares and would often go without sleep in his lab. Tesla was also obsessed with the number 3, and used 18 napkins (a number divisible by 3) to clean his dining room before eating his evening meals. His strange fixation can be noted from the fact that he detested round objects, jewelry, and touching hair.

8. Edison and Tesla were not arch-rivals

There is a perception among the science community that Edison and Tesla as bitter enemies, constantly one-upping each other with their latest inventions. But it is pertinent to note that they collaborated in designing direct current generators before Tesla quit to pursue his dream of the alternate current induction motor. It has been said that Edison made him quit but Tesla never acknowledged his enmity with Edison.

9. Tesla had an interesting challenge for renowned author Mark Twain

Tesla had invented an earthquake machine or a high-frequency oscillator. The oscillator would shake his building every time he started it for experiments. Once Tesla invited Mark Twain to a friendly challenge to Twain knowing about the bovel issues Twain had. Tesla challenged Twain to stand on the platform while the oscillator was switched on. After 90 seconds, Twain quickly dashed off to empty his bowels.

10. You can get free Wi-Fi from Tesla

There is a seven-foot-tall statue of Tesla in Palo Alto, California with a time capsule as well as free public Wi-Fi hotspot for anybody to use. The statue was unveiled in December 2013 after web comic creator Matthew Inman to raised funds for The Tesla Science Center. Inman managed to raise $1.37 million from the IndieGoGo campaign for the statue. It was matched by a grant from New York State and the Tesla Science Center was purchased in May 2013.


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Vijay Prabhu

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. ― Mahatma Gandhi 

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