Nikola Tesla was one the most influential people of last few hundreds years. He was Yugoslavian inventor, mechanical and electrical engineer living in the second half of nineteenth, and first half of twentieth century. He was incredibly creative and contributed to development of large part of technologies that we use in our everyday lives today. In fact he was truly ahead of his times. Although we was well known, recognized and respected during his life (well, at least thought most part of it), he seem to be forgotten today. I think that the only group of people who know who he was today, are those who have some interest in alternative energy sources.
Most people nowadays think for example that radio was invented by Italian scientist Gulielmo Marconi, when in fact Tesla was the first to fill the patent (he was of age 41 at that time). Yet Marconi was more success-oriented, and thinking about fame and money. Thanks to that he was able to promote himself as an inventor. Only in 1943 the Supreme Court of United States overturned Marconi’s patent in favour of Tesla.
Big part of his searches were directed into finding energy sources. Speaking about that, Tesla had his first visions on that subject matter as early as a child. He hit upon an idea of capturing Niagara Waterfalls energy and using it to supply local people households. He managed to realize that project in 1896 when Niagara Falls energy was first used to supply Buffalo city. That was after 5 years of hard work of engineers, mechanics and workers, and after some investors had already doubted sense of the project. As the idea was highly innovative that times, the fact of actually running that water powerhouse was considered a great success.
But yet that was just small part of Tesla’s inventions, and his vision was going much further into the future. He described a sort of solar energy antenna that was going to collect and distribute energy of the sun. Although that invention seemed to be left aside, still his biggest project on energy searches was connected with drawing power from inside the Earth. His viewpoint was that he should be able to pump electric power inside the Earth and thought that, change it’s inner state, so that it will be possible for everyone to get it back from any place in the world – for free and using just handy, pocket device. Treating planet as a sort of oscillator he was going to create “perpetum mobile” – amount of power that people would be able to get back was going to be unlimited. This power was supposed to be sent wireless through worldwide net of power stations, and supply households and conveyances around the whole globe for free. That was going to be completely clean, safe and infinite source of electrical power.
Unfortunately that project did not come to live. Although Tesla was able to start building Wardenclyffe -huge powerhouse system with tower, in the end 1901 investor JP Morgan decided to refuse further credits for development of this construction. That way this potentially revolutionary invention was lost for humanity.
Tesla died in 1943 leaving 1200 patents and probably hundreds of ideas that haven’t even been written down. Immediately after his death his documents were confiscated by USA government and labeled as “top secret”. We can not even guess how our would look like if all of them would come to live.