Nikola Tesla – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

Portrait Of Scientist Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla – Complete Biography, History, and Inventions

Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla – Scientist

Who was Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856; he was a Serbian-American engineer and scientist who produced hundreds of discoveries in generating, transmitting, and using electric power. He pioneered AC generation and transmission technologies and built the first alternating current (AC) motor.

Quick Facts

Full Name
Nikola Tesla
Net Worth
  • Order of the Yugoslav Crown
  • John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium
  • IEEE Edison Medal
  • Elliott Cresson Medal
Place of Birth
Smiljan, Austrian Empire
Fields of Expertise
[“Electromagnetism”,”Radar Technology”,”X-ray Technology”]
Technical University at Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague
Alternating-Current Power System

He also invented the three-phase electric power transmission system. Tesla moved to the United States and sold George Westinghouse the patent rights to his system of alternating-current dynamos, motors, and transformers in 1884. He created the Tesla coil, an induction coil that is widely utilized in radio technology, in 1891.

Early life

Tesla was born in Croatia in 1856; his father, Milutin, was a Serbian Orthodox priest, and his mother used to manage the family farm. Tesla’s brother Daniel died in a riding accident in 1863. Tesla, who was 7 years old, was shaken by the loss and claimed seeing visions, the earliest indicators of his chronic mental problems.

He displayed obsessiveness that perplexed and amused many around him from an early age. He can remember entire books and keep logarithmic tables in his head. He quickly took up languages and could work for days and nights on only a few hours of sleep.


Portrait Of Scientist Nikola Tesla
Portrait Of Scientist Nikola Tesla

Tesla attended the Technical University of Graz, where he studied math and physics, and the University of Prague, where he studied philosophy. Tesla came up with the invention of a brushless AC motor while walking in the sand of the route in 1882. He drew the first designs of its whirling electromagnets in the sand.

Continental Edison Company

Later that year, he relocated to Paris and worked for the Continental Edison Company, fixing direct current (DC) power facilities. He came to the United States two years later.

Thomas Edison’s Manhattan Headquarters

Tesla came to New York in 1884, where he was hired as an engineer at Thomas Edison’s Manhattan headquarters. Tesla stayed there for a year, impressing Edison with his diligence and ingenuity.

Alternating Current Research

Tesla attempted to initiate his own Tesla Electric Light Company, but it went unsuccessful. Later on, Tesla was able to get funding for his research on alternating current. Tesla received more than 30 patents for his innovations in 1887 and 1888 and was asked to speak to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers about his work.


George Westinghouse, the inventor who had built the first AC power system in Boston and was Edison’s main adversary in the “Battle of the Currents,” was drawn to Tesla’s talk.

Tesla was employed by Westinghouse, who licensed his AC motor patents and provided him with his laboratory. In 1890, Edison staged the execution of a convicted New York murderer in an AC-powered electric chair to demonstrate the dangers of the Westinghouse standard.

What Did Nikola Tesla Invent?

Tesla made numerous inventions throughout his life.

Tesla Coil

A Tesla coil is an invention made by Nikola Tesla in 1891. A resonant electrical transformer circuit was used to generate alternating-current energy with a high voltage, low current, and high frequency.


It is a signaling and communication technology that uses radio waves. Electromagnetic waves with a frequency of 30 hertz to 300 gigahertzes are known as radio waves.

Induction Motor

It is a motor that uses electromagnetic induction. In an induction motor, also known as an asynchronous motor, the electric current in the rotor necessary to create torque is generated by electromagnetic induction from the magnetic field of the stator winding.

Wardenclyffe Tower 

Tesla proposed a scheme that must have sounded like science fiction: a world system of wireless communications to relay telephone messages across the ocean; to broadcast news, stock market reports, private and military messages and communications, and even pictures and music to any part of the world. When wireless is fully applied the earth will be converted into a huge brain, capable of response in every one of its parts.

Tesla asked Morgan for the money he needed to start his project, but Morgan turned him down. Then Tesla offered him 51% of the patent rights to his inventions for $150000 and Morgan accepted. It seems, however, in spite of what Tesla told Morgan, his actual plan was to make a large-scale demonstration of electrical power transmission without wires, and this turned out to be a fatal mistake.

Wardenclyffe Tower of Nikola Tesla
Wardenclyffe Tower of Nikola Tesla

By 1901 the so-called Wardenclyffe project was well under construction, the most challenging task being the erection of an enormous tower, rising over 60 meters in the air and supporting on its top a 55 ton steel sphere. Beneath the tower, a well-like shaft plunged 40 meters into the ground, and 16 iron pipes were driven 90 meters deeper so that currents could pass through them and seize hold of the earth. As Tesla explained—In this system that I have invented, it is necessary for the machine to get a grip of the earth, otherwise it cannot shake the earth. It has to have a grip… so that the whole of this globe can quiver.

As Wardenclyffe tower construction slowly increased, it became evident that more money were needed. Tesla pleaded with Morgan for more financial support, but he refused. To make matters worse, the stock market crashed and prices for the tower’s materials doubled. High prices combined with Tesla’s inability to find enough willing investors eventually led to the demise of the project in 1905, after some amazing electrical displays.

Nikola Tesla: Marriage, Divorce, Children, and Personal Life

Net Worth

While his contemporaries prospered well, Tesla died pennilessly. Yet, at his death, he had a net worth of $1,000.


Tesla never married throughout his life, although he allegedly claimed to have been in love with a pigeon. Tesla liked to feed the pigeons at the park during his walks. He formed an odd bond with a white pigeon who used to pay him daily visits. “I adored the pigeon in the same way as a man adores a woman, and she adored me.”


On January 7, 1943, a maid at the New Yorker Hotel entered room 3327 and discovered a dead Tesla at the age of 86 years. He had spent the previous decade at the hotel. Tesla was alone and destitute when he died. He was preoccupied with feeding the pigeons outdoors and lived on warm milk and crackers. It was later given that he died of coronary thrombosis.

In January 1943, Tesla died in New York City. Following his death, Tesla’s work faded into obscurity until 1960, when the General Conference on Weights and Measures declared Tesla the SI unit of magnetic flux density in his honor.

Nikola Tesla: Awards and Achievements

Nikola Tesla was awarded many awards throughout his life.

John Scott Legacy Medal and Premium

Tesla was awarded this award in 1934.

IEEE Edison Medal

Nikola Tesla, a former Edison adversary, received the Edison Medal in 1917 to create polyphase and high-frequency electric currents.

Elliott Cresson Medal

The Franklin Institute awarded Nikola Tesla the Elliott Cresson Medal in 1894.

Nikola Tesla: Published Works and Books 

Tesla published several books as well as essays in periodicals and journals. The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla, gathered and edited by David Hatcher Childress, and The Tesla Papers are only a few of his works.

Ben Johnston gathered and edited My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, a book that details Nikola Tesla’s work. The content was mostly based on Nikola Tesla’s series of essays for Electrical Experimenter magazine, which he wrote when he was 63 years old in 1919.

Other books include;

A New System of Alternate Current Motors and Transformers, Phenomena of Alternating Currents of Very High Frequency, On Light and Other High-Frequency Phenomena, and Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency, etc.

Nikola Tesla Quotes

Following are the famous quotes of Nikola Tesla:

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.”

“I don’t care that they stole my idea. I care that they don’t have any of their own”

“Of all things, I liked books best.”

“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”


Frequently Asked Questions

Who was Nikola Tesla?

Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor and engineer who developed the rotating magnetic field, the foundation of most alternating-current machines. He also invented the three-phase electric power transmission system.

What did Nikola Tesla invent?

He developed AC generation and transmission technology and invented the first alternating current (AC) motor.

How did Nikola Tesla invent the rotating magnetic field?

Tesla recited the Faust in Budapest, he discovered the rotating magnetic field which is the heart of his induction motor and alternating current electricity.

When was Nikola Tesla born?

Nikola Tesla was born on July 9, 1856, in Smiljan, Austrian Empire.

When did Nikola Tesla die?

Nikola Tesla died on January 7, 1943, in New York City.

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