Nikola Tesla is probably the most underrated inventor of all time. He patented a lot of useful inventions, mostly in the field of electricity and yet, most people still don’t know who he is or his biggest contributions to Science.
And since he just turned 158 this July, here are some things you probably didn’t know about the great Nikola Tesla:
Tesla and the Invention of the Smartphone and the Internet
As shocking as that may sound, the original concept of smartphones and Siri weren’t cooked up by Steve Jobs. The idea for that modern technology came from Tesla. His idea was to make a handheld device that could receive stock quotes and telegram messages wirelessly via broadcasted frequencies. Tesla reportedly once said, “The household’s daily newspaper will be printed ‘wirelessly’ in the home during the night”. In other words, he was the first to envision smartphones and wireless internet. If only he was supported enough to push through with that project, the internet would’ve been invented decades ago.
No Sleep For Great Minds
Like all the other great inventors, Nikola Tesla rarely slept. He would work in his lab for hours and in one instance, he stayed up working for 84 hours straight. He never slept for more than two hours and after he’s done working at 3 am, he’ll be at it again in just a few hours. Although he admits that he occasionally dozes off to ‘charge his batteries’.
The Man From the Future
Tesla’s mind is so advanced that people often speak of him as if he came from another time and it is evident in his inventions. Some people even thought he was from Venus and was preparing the earth for the coming of Venusians. That’s utterly ridiculous but who can blame them? Tesla is incredibly brilliant and he held around 700 patents in 26 countries. These includes the Tesla Coil, Alternating currents, Robots, Spark Plugs, Bladeless Turbine, Devices for X-rays and many more. He also once planned on making an actual death ray. He was also the first to harness the power of the Niagra Falls into a hydro-electronic power plant. His main goal? Free electricity for everyone.
Tesla vs. Edison
Contrary to popular belief, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla weren’t actually arch enemies. However, they were rivals. Tesla once worked for Edison in his lab and while they were both brilliant, Tesla knew that he can do so much more on his own. Soon enough, he became Edison’s rival and the only reason why Edison is much more popular and richer than Tesla is because he was a businessman. A little unknown fact: Thomas Edison was not the one behind the idea of light bulbs . It was actually Tesla, however, Edison knew how to sell it so he got the credit. Despite that, the two remained decent to each other and even admired each other’s work. Kind of like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs relationship.
Eccentric-like that’s a surprise
Most geniuses are eccentric types. Tesla however is a little bit more special. He had OCD and cannot bear the sight of pearls and later, human hair. He needed to touch things constantly and everything must be divisible by three. He also had a strange fascination with pigeons. It was rumored that he was even ‘in love’ with one because of what he wrote about it. Also, he never had a love interest or a girlfriend, nothing. He was entirely married to his work.
Here’s the sad part: Tesla died alone and penniless in a hotel in New York City. He died January 7th, 1943 from Coronary Thrombosis with the maid discovering his body two days later. Even though he had sold his AC patents, he still died a very poor man because he self-funded most of his projects that never even seen the light of day.