We all know the famous automobile giant Tesla Motors. But where did its name come from? Tesla Motors was named after a Serbian inventor, Nikola Tesla. So who was this person and why should we know about him? Well, when you think of an inventor, you think of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, but most possibly not about Tesla. The thing is each time we use a refrigerator, a toaster or many other daily use devices, we should think about Tesla.
In 1875, Tesla went to Imperial-Royal Technical College in Graz where he was said to be working from 3AM to 11 PM every day. In his first year, Tesla didn’t miss a single lecture and earned the highest grades possible. He had an amazing mind.
He would perform calculus in his mind and would speak 8 different languages. In his first year he passed nine exams which were nearly twice as what was required, and even received a letter of commendation from the dean of the technical faculty to his father that read, “Your son is a star of first rank.” At Graz, Tesla was really interested in the detailed lectures on electricity taught by Professor Jakob Pöschl.
In his early years, Tesla joined Edison’s company and worked there in France. Later on, after seeing his work, he was called to work for the US unit of the company. At the early stage Tesla and Edison appreciated each other, but it didn’t last for a long. Tesla strongly believed in Alternating Current and Edison believed in direct current.
The main difference was that in Alternating Current the flow is in both the direction, making it more suitable for a large scale use but Edison didn’t support the idea as his company and all his major investments were based on DC.
Tesla said that the manager at Edison’s company told him they will provide him with $50,000 if he improves their DC machines. He successfully did the job but then the manager refused to give him the bonus. Also Edison told Tesla, “ You don’t understand our American humor.”
A lot of people like Tesla’s views on it and what he said became a golden line, “I don’t care that they stole my idea; I care that they don’t have any of their own”
Later Tesla quit Edison’s company and started one of his own but soon the investors took the benefit of Tesla not having proper patents on his name and Tesla was thrown out of the company.
After a few years George Westinghouse saw a potential in working with such a great mind and hired Tesla as a consultant at his company. People had slowly started believing in AC and Tesla’s idea and they won the war against Edison and DC.
But again their company started losing money and Westinghouse requested tesla that if he can reduce his royalties for the company. Instead of that Tesla terminated the whole contract and took a one time settlement. He said that he was grateful that Westinghouse believed in him when no one else did.
After this Tesla believed in creating a wireless communication around the world which was a far big idea for the world at that time. At the same time Marconi was also working on his radio idea but US authority didn’t allow him the patents, as 17 patents related to radio were already registered by Tesla’s name.
However Marconi completed his radio device and with the financial help of Edison got a patent in US. Tesla was bankrupt. Westinghouse’s company started paying for his hotel rent a little extra sum of money ( They termed this as consulting fee)Tesla sued Marconi which he won only after his death.
On January 7, 1943, a maid working at the New Yorker Hotel walked in room 3327 just to find that the guest inside Nikola Tesla has died.
Had Tesla been of a capitalist mind and wouldn’t accept his friend’s request regarding royalties, considering today’s inflation his royalties would have amounted $300 million and if he had took the money, it was all possible that he could have become the first billionaire in the world.
“Everyone steals in industry and commerce. I’ve stolen a lot myself. The thing is to know how to steal.”-Thomas Edison.