Technology Essay: Inventions of Nikola Tesla

How Did Nikola Tesla Impact the World?


Nikola Tesla greatly contributed to the development of commercial electricity. Tesla was born on July 10th, 1856, to Serbian parents in the modern-day Croatia.

Tesla as a child was so curious about the world around him and experienced a strange childhood. Once he attempted to produce electrical power through rubbing two cats together which led to failure.

In pursuit of to the engineering career he attended to Technical University of Graz in Austria,  and later Charles University in Prague. Tesla’s first employment was a telegraph engineering job in Budapest, Hungary. In 1881, he became Chief Electrician of the company and contributed to the development of the country’s first telephone system. Then Tesla went to work for Edison’s company in Paris in 1882. He developed the practical induction mode, which is a type of alternating current (AC) motor. He built various devices to produce a rotating magnetic field, the principal element necessary of the operation of the alternating current motor.

In 1884 he arrived in New York City. After being hired by Thomas Edison he quickly became a crucial asset towards improving Edison’s direct current (DC) generators. Edison offered Tesla $50,000 for redesigning Edison’s direct current generators, but after completing the work he didn’t pay out the money. Professor W. Bernard writes: “Edison and Tesla could not be more different in the way that they handled themselves, their appearance, their manners, and the way they constructed a public image for themselves. Edison could not care less about the clothes that he had on. He was basically a very slovenly guy. Tesla, on the other hand, even as a young man in his mid-twenties, thought about his appearance, how he comes across to people, thus he cared about his clothes,his manners, and even about how his photograph was taken, and always made sure to have a nice recorded profile” (University of Virginia, October 6, 2012).

Then Tesla left Edison’s company and partnered with George Westinghouse. In 1885 George Westinghouse submitted the patent rights to Tesla’s polyphase system of alternating current dynamo-electric machines and transformers. Tesla’s electric light and manufacturing company was formed in 1886. But the investors ultimately disagreed with Tesla’s method and he was removed from his position. In 1888 Tesla presented his brushless alternating current induction motor before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. He invented the Tesla coil in 1891. The Tesla coil is widely used today in television and radio as well as other electronic equipment for wireless communication. He became an American citizen that same year. Tesla also invented the fluorescent light and became infatuated with the wireless transmission of power. He claimed to have created the technology of remote control and demonstrated the radio control boat for the US military. Later he experimented with method to transmit electrical power wirelessly for long distances. He produced artificial lighting with some discharges and later he designed the wireless telecommunication tower in New York.

Tesla’s largest contribution was probably alternating current (AC) power transmission. He spent years of his life working with and sometimes against other leaders on inventions and businesses to help market AC power to the public. His work helped generate AC power by perfecting a three phase induction motor. At the 1893 Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, AC power was put on display and mass scale, turning night into day in the largest electrified light system in the world at the time.

In 1896, the new power station was completed by Niagara Falls using Westinghouse AC generators to produce Tesla’s polyphase current. Finally, huge amounts of power could be transmitted from the falls to nearby Buffalo. A few years later, the Niagara Power Plants provided power to New York City itself and today almost all of the electricity generators in the world are made using Tesla’s system.

We still use a lot of things such as cordless phones, radio, Wi-Fi and cell phones, which can be traced back to Tesla. A radio is made of two bits, a transmitter and a receiver. Tesla was one of the first to consistently maintain a signal between the two. Since the transmitter takes in a live video and transmitting to a sun-wave and browse out in the space, the receiver, like your Wi-Fi antenna, sucks that in and decodes it. Tesla did it right!

But Tesla’s story doesn’t end in fame and fortune. Although he made significant contributions to many other areas of science and invention, to save George Westinghouse from ruin after the stock market crash, he gave up his claim to the royalties from his polyphase invention. As an old man, he was left almost bankrupted. It is told that Nikola Tesla may have suffered from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He became reclusive in the last years of his life and died alone from heart failure in a room of The New Yorker Hotel, on January 7th, 1943.

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