Nikola Tesla (10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. He was an important contributor to the birth of commercial electricity, and is best known for developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system.
In Colorado Springs, Colo., where he stayed from May 1899 until early 1900, Tesla made what he regarded as his most important discovery—terrestrial stationary waves. By this discovery he proved that the Earth could be used as a conductor and made to resonate at a certain electrical frequency. He also lit 200 lamps without wires from a distance of 25 miles (40 km) and created man-made lightning, producing flashes measuring 135 feet (41 metres).
Tesla soon established his own laboratory, where his inventive mind could be given free rein. He experimented with shadowgraphs similar to those that later were to be used by Wilhelm Rntgen when he discovered X-rays in 1895. Tesla's countless experiments included work on a carbon button lamp, on the power of electrical resonance
Tesla was awarded 221 worldwide patents, and 113 US patents. These covered polyphase AC power alternators, transformers, and motors, radio communication, fluorescent lighting, automotive ignition systems, VTOL aircraft, efficient bladeless turbines, etc. Tesla was relatively unconcerned about getting rich, seeking funds only to continue his research for the betterment of humanity. After 1915, Tesla slowly faded into obscurity, finally dying penniless in 1943.
. His AC induction motor used the principle of electromagnetic induction that had already been embodied in the electrical transformer with the concept of a rotating magnetic field. Tesla originated the idea of using alternating currents, generated in multiple phases (called a “poly-phase system”), to produce rotating magnetic fields within the motor's stator windings. Tesla and Westinghouse demonstrated the practicality of AC power by providing all the lighting for the beautiful 1893 Colombian Exposition at the World's Fair. Three years later, they harnessed the mighty Niagara Falls to provide polyphase power to Buffalo, NY, finally proving once and for all the superiority of AC over DC for practical long distance electrical power distribution.
Forced to flee from war in his homeland in 1884 at age 28, he emigrated to the United States, arriving with only 4 cents in his pockets. Strongly recommended by Charles Batchelor, Manager of Continental Edison in France, he began working for Thomas Edison. Tesla quickly demonstrated his extraordinary abilities in electrical engineering to Edison, but he eventually quit in disgust when Edison reneged on a promise to pay him $50,000. Edison had previously promised this sum to Tesla if he could make Edison's DC generators more efficient. Tesla worked day and night, finally solving this "impossible" problem, but then Edison claimed he was merely joking.
While working on his first job with the American Telephone Company in Budapest in 1880, Tesla suffered a nervous breakdown in which he claimed to suffer from a Edgar Allen Poe-like hypersensitivity of perception (Hunt and Draper 1991, p. 32). After he recovered, he was walking with a friend when the idea for the polyphase system of generating alternating current suddenly occurred to him. As of yet, he did not possess the means to actually build the necessary equipment.
Born in Smiljan Lika, Croatia, the son of a Serbian Orthodox clergyman, Tesla attended Joanneum, a polytechnic school in Graz and the University of Prague for two years. He started work in the engineering department of the Austrian telegraph system then became an electrical engineer at an electric power company in Budapest and later at another in Strasbourg. While in technical school, Tesla became convinced that commutators were unnecessary on motors; and while with the power company he built a crude motor which demonstrated the truth of his theory. In 1884, Tesla came to the United States and joined the Edison Machine Works as a dynamo designer.
AC has an electric current whose direction reverses cyclically rather than staying in a constant direction like DC. The waveform of AC is also more efficient than the DC. AC is the form in which electricity is carried to homes and businesses.
In 1887 and 1888 Tesla had an experimental shop at 89 Liberty Street, New York, and there he invented the induction motor. He sold the invention to Westinghouse in July 1888 and spent a year in Pittsburgh instructing Westinghouse engineers.
Nikola Tesla invented the induction motor with rotating magnetic field that made unit drives for machines feasible and made AC power transmission an economic necessity.
Born Jul 10 1856 - Died Jan 7 1943