Nikola Tesla

by Thomas from San Diego

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Tesla: The Inventor that Electrified the World

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Some modern conveniences we take for granted today are AC power motors, hydroelectric dams, radio, radar, x-rays, cryogenic engineering, radio astronomy, remote controls, and neon lighting. The correlation between these seemingly random parts of modern life is that they were all invented by one genius: Nikola Tesla. This intelligent inventor has maintained an adventure of a life, starting with his birth in 1856. Born in Croatia on July 9, 1856, Tesla was originally a son of a reverend. Although he planned at first to follow in his father's footsteps, he decided to become an inventor because of his mother's influence (she was smart, resourceful, and even invented a few minor appliances herself: she was an early inspiration to Tesla). Tall and slender, Tesla set off to become a man of science. He traveled to Paris and other countries of Europe before sailing to America, where he then suffered through thefts, failure, and misfortune on the way there. He went past that to become one of the greatest inventors and scientists in history. He died on January 7, 1943, and left behind him a legacy of inventions that revolutionized the world, even to this day. It was not only his work that made Tesla an outstanding individual. The dominant factor in his heroism is his unique character. Tesla was always selfless toward others, and tried his hardest to have good work ethic. Also, he never would give up. Even though he is best known for powering the world through his AC power system, Tesla's giving spirit, hard work, and incessant determination is how he managed to electrify the world.


In his desire and actions to help other people, Tesla has shown his giving personality. Near the beginning of his inventing career, Tesla has the idea for the AC motor: "'No more will men be slaves to hard tasks,' he told his friend. 'My motor will set them free. It will do the work of the world.'" (Bailey) His AC system did revolutionize the world, making energy cheap and reliable. Now the average person could switch from candles and wood stoves to electric power, which is considered to be an extraordinary humanitarian, as well as scientific, feat. Tesla, from the very start of his inventing career, has made up his mind to use his inventions to help humanity, not for himself. It He helped shape the world, because he tried to improve the well-being of the world. Tesla again presents his selflessness in his thoughts about money: "Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.... The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of mankind." (Huso) Tesla uses his own money to develop inventions for people everywhere, placing himself below others, and giving to them (in essence) his entire life. This is a difficult and personal sacrifice, which in the end made the world a better place. Not only that, it also makes clear that Tesla did not invent for money: he invented for the sake of society. Tesla devoted his life to give to others, and did so in his words and accomplishments.

Nikola Tesla was the definition of hardworking, as he worked incessantly on his inventions. Even though Tesla grew old and near death, he still experimented: "...he had little money and was lonely during his last days. Former Westinghouse colleagues paid $125 a month for his room and board at the Hotel New Yorker, where he occupied room 3327 (divisible by three, of course) and conducted various electrical experiments until the end." (Bailey) At the end of Tesla's life, he was poor and alone. With no one to talk to, he grew grim. Nevertheless, he would not let age, lack of funds, and loneliness prevent him from his work. This sheer willpower to keep working was one of the inventor's greatest strengths. Without his hard work, he would not be known to the world as an outstanding scientist and person. Tesla was constantly inventing throughout his entire life, as the facts state: "He died in New York City on January 7, 1943, the holder of more than 700 patents." (Tesla, Nikola [1856-1943]) Tesla was one of the greatest inventors ever to live, and the sheer number of patents he has implies how much he worked. He toiled day after day in his lab. Skipping sleep and ignoring breaks, he was able to rack up all these inventions. The continued and constant hard work of Tesla was shown in his lifestyle and inventions.

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The determination of Nikola Tesla is one of the inventor's strongest and important traits. After moving to the US, Tesla briefly worked for Thomas Edison, who asked the young genius to improve his electric station. To a broke Tesla, this was a lucky find. That is, until he completed the work: "He believed that Edison had promised him $50,000 if he succeeded in improving the station's dynamos. But Edison insisted that he had only been joking. When Edison refused even to raise his $18 a week salary to $25, Tesla quit." (Bailey) After being cheated out of thousands of dollars, Tesla kept working: he did not let this stop him from achieving his dreams and inventing. Edison had snubbed his AC system as well. Tesla ignored this and sought to keep going. Later, Tesla was subject to misfortune yet again: "Tesla succeeded in installing a better system, but his partners cheated him out of patents he had obtained and forced him out of the company. He was once again penniless and now forced into manual labor, including what he considered a most ignoble task: digging ditches to bury the electric lines for Edison's direct current grid." (Bailey) After being cheated by Edison, he was cheated yet again by his "partners". Talk about Deja  vu. He also had to work again for the man who snubbed and cheated him, and to help build his inferior DC system. The broke Tesla even got past this low point. By not stopping despite his challenges and never losing hope, he was able to overcome obstacles in his way. Even Tesla's failures are now crucial parts of our world: "Despite the setbacks in his later career and many expensive failed attempts to demonstrate wireless energy transmission, Tesla never lose hope. Many of his ideas, even though he couldn't put them into practice in his lifetime, survived him, including his ideas for radar, helicopters, airplanes and, most important, his notion that the world would one day be connected by a powerful global wireless communications system." (Huso) Tesla failed many times. However, he always kept trying, and had willpower to keep going. Even Tesla's failures became realities later in history. His ideas would have not gotten to society if he had not thought of them. Without Tesla's determination, the world would be drastically different. Tesla's constant determination gives new meaning to the phrase "never give up".


Without Tesla's selfless giving, diligent work habits, and ever-present determination, he would not have been able to transform the world and be a true hero. Tesla's first trait is a giving personality. He gave so much to the world around him while disregarding his own personal desires. Also, he gave out his ideas to society (for no charge) to improve life in the world. His hard working nature is also an important part of his character. Constantly working, he was committed to inventing and making the world better for others. Lastly, his determination is one of his strongest qualities. Tesla would go through failures after failure, through poverty and bad luck, and he managed to keep going. Tesla is truly extraordinary, especially through his inventions and character: "Tesla was one of those rare individuals whose contributions to society defy any attempt at summary. He acquired more than seven hundred patents both in the United States and in Europe on a wide variety of topics. Some of the consequences of his work were the creation of the Nikola Tesla Award by the IEEE and the naming of the SI unit for measuring magnetic flux density (or magnetic induction), the tesla." (Meyers) He was a man of uncountable achievements. Anywhere and everywhere you go in the world, some of Tesla's inventions will be found. Even though he died long ago, his legacy stays strong. His ideas are literally everywhere. His lasting achievements truly make me feel like I can change the world. Tesla proved that it is possible. Tesla did not have an easy life doing it. He persisted through being impoverished, being cheated, various failures, and even a loss of sanity due to loneliness later in life. Through and after all that, Tesla still did inventions until his death. Again, Tesla inspires me to persist through hardship. It is difficult to do, and Tesla has borne that burden again and again. A true hero of science, Nikola Tesla has impacted life everywhere. The electricity in your house, the internet in your computer, and the radio you turn on in your (electric motor powered) car, all these ideas were thought of by Tesla. Without this intelligent individual, the entire world would be drastically worse off. Still, many do not know Tesla's work, let alone his vast contributions. The name Tesla brings words like "Who?" and "Like the Tesla coil?" Remember to give credit where credit is due in science, and above all, remember an inventor named Nikola Tesla.

Works Consulted

Bailey, Ronald H. "Tesla: the wizard who electrified the world." American History 45.2 (2010): 52+. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

Huso, Deborah R. "Inventor with a global vision: never given full credit in his lifetime, Nikola Tesla revolutionized electric power and wireless communications for future generations." Success July 2012: 76+.

Gale Biography In Context. Web. 11 Dec. 2012.

Meyers Julia M. "Nikola Tesla." Great Lives From History: Inventors & Inventions (2008): 1. Biography Reference Center. Web. 11 Dec.2012.

"Tesla, Nikola (1856-1943)." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1998.Gale Biography In Context. Web. 11 Dec. 2012

Uth, Robert. "Coming to America." PBS. PBS, Summer 2000. Web. 11 Dec. 2012. .

Page created on 3/1/2013 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/23/2019 12:03:27 AM

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