Early Life

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American engineer and physicist and one of the most significant inventors of all time. He became famous for inventing an induction motor that ran on alternating current (AC), which was later used in many devices like radars, X-rays and wireless communications. Tesla also conceived the rotating magnetic field, and had more than 300 patents registered in his lifetime.
Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in Smiljan, Croatia to Milutin Tesla and Djuka Mandic. His father was a priest and his mother was an inventor who used to make household appliances. He had four siblings. As a kid, he loved reading science and wanted to pursue a career in the same field. For his education, he went to the town's primary school where he studied German, mathematics and religion. In 1870, he went to Higher Real Gymnasium in Karlovac for his higher education. Later, he attended Austria Polytechnic to study science on a scholarship. Even though Tesla wanted to study physics and mathematics, he started to take a particular interest in electricity. The concept of an AC motor came to him in 1982, while he took a walk in the park. Before he could forget the idea, he quickly sketched the rotating magnetic field in the sand. He went to Paris that year and joined the Continental Edison Company. There, he fixed Direct Current (DC) power plants. Tesla was also able to successfully build a model of the induction motor. But, nobody in Europe took an interest in his invention. So, Tesla moved to New York and got a job with the genius inventor Thomas Edison.

He worked with others and improved the motors that Edison had invented. But, after he had worked for a year, some disagreement occurred between Tesla and Edison . It was about the Edison DC and the Tesla AC. It spread like wildfire and people called the fight between the two great inventors the 'war of the currents'. Soon, Tesla left the company. He set up his own company to support his inventions. The company was called Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing. He received thirty patents for his invention in the field of electricity. George Westinghouse was impressed by Tesla's work and offered him a job. He wanted Tesla to continue working on his invention to produce the alternating current. He even supplied him with a laboratory for his experiments. In 1891, Tesla created various electrical devices. One of them was the 'Tesla Coil' , which was a high voltage transformer for the improvement of light. He also made electronic oscillators, meters and X-rays. People witnessed the 'war of the currents' again in 1891. Edison and Tesla took part in a competition to prove which one was better. It was a competition between energy and power. In 1893, Tesla succeeded in lighting up the entire city of Chicago with hundreds of bulbs, without wires. Finally, Tesla won the competition against the Edison DC system.


Tesla was the inventor who installed the first AC power station of the world at Niagara Falls. He was presented with the Order of Danilo, the highest honor for any civilian, by the Kingdom of Montenegro.
 Tesla met J.P. Morgan and convinced him to invest in his experiments. With Morgan's financial support, he built a communication tower to power the world. It was the first ever wireless broadcasting system, famously known as 'Wardenclyffe Tower'.

Tesla was always a pioneer in his field. The Tesla Coil, invented in 1891, was used in radios and televisions. But, most of his research went into the wrong hands. One such incident was when his notes and research on the radio were stolen by Guglielmo Marconi. In 1909, Marconi received the Nobel Prize for the invention of the radio, which was originally Tesla's work. Tesla even filed a lawsuit to get the rights for his invention, but he lost the case. In 1943, the case was reopened, and in the same year, Tesla got the credit for his invention. He was henceforth known as the 'Father of Radio'.
Tesla received the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1894, the John Scott Medal in 1934 and the Order of the White Eagle in 1936. A unit of magnetic induction was named as 'Tesla' in his honor. Also, the Nikola Tesla Award was established for people who made great contributions to the field of electricity. In 1997, Life magazine counted Tesla in the '100 most famous people of the last 1,000 years'. Tesla passed away on January 7, 1943, in New York City.

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