Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 - 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, physicist, and electrical engineer. Among his inventions are flourescent lighting, radio, the Tesla coil, 3-phase electricity, the Tesla induction motor, and the alternating current (AC) electrical energy distribution system.
War of currentsEdit
After emigrating to America, Tesla became employed at Edison Machine Works. Thus, he was employed by Thomas Edison. Edison had invested a large amount of money in an electrical energy distribution system that used direct current (DC). However, Edison noticed that his energy distribution system was problematic (it could only distribute energy a short distance). Therefore, he offered a monetary reward the equivalent of about $1 million to the one who could offer him a solution. Nicola Tesla proposed, and patented, an alternating current (AC) electrical energy distribution system, which could distribute energy across much greater distance, with transformers used to convert the AC energy into the DC energy that homes could use. However, Edison refused to pay Tesla the monetary reward, and afterward, Tesla left Edison Machine Works.
Afterwards, Edison initiated a campaign in an attempt to show AC energy as being too dangerous to use in homes. He held demonstrations in which he used AC energy to electrocute various animals, including cats and even an elephant. Edison also petitioned congress in an attempt to make AC energy illegal to use. Edison even went as far as to have AC energy used to execute an inmate on death row.
As part of his campaign, Edison presented an image of Tesla as a mad scientist. Edison's success in this endeavor was such that Tesla himself had difficulty marketing AC electrical energy distribution, and he ended up selling his patent to George Westinghouse, and even to this day, many insist that Tesla was a mad scientist.