NIKOLA TESLA, one of the most celebrated electricians America has known, was born in 1857, at Smiljan, Lika,
Servia. He descended from an old and representative family of that country. His father was a a minister of the
Greek church, of high rank, while his mother was a woman of remarkable skill in the construction of looms, churns
and the machinery required in a rural home. Nikola received early education in the public schools of Gospich, when
he was sent to the higher "Real Schule" at Karlstadt, where, after a three years' course, he graduated
in 1873. He devoted himself to experiments in electricity and magnetism, to the chagrin of his father, who had
destined him for the ministry, but giving way to the boy's evident genius he was allowed to continue his studies
in the polytechnic school at Gratz. He inherited a wonderful intuition which enabled him to see through the intricacies
of machinery, and despite his instructor's demonstration that a dynamo could not be operated without commutators
or brushes, began experiments which finally resulted in his rotating field motors. After the study of languages
at Prague and Buda Pesth, he became associated with M. Puskas, who had introduced the telephone into Hungary. He
invented several improvements, but being unable to reap the necessary benefit from them, he, in search of a wider
field, went to Paris, where he found employmont with one of the electric lighting companies as electrical engineer.
Soon he set his face westward, and coming to the United States for a time found congenial employment with Thomas
A. Edison. Finding it impossible, overshadowed as he was, to carry out his own ideas he left the Edison works to
join a company formed to place his own inventions on the market. He perfected his rotary field principle, adapting
it to circuits then in operation. It is said of him that some of his proved theories will change the entire electrical
science. It would, in an article of this length, be impossible to explain all that Tesla accomplished for the practical
side of electrical engineering. His discoveries formed the basis of the attempt to utilize the water power of Niagara
Falls. His work ranges far beyond the vast department of polyphase currents and high potential lighting and includes
many inventions in arc lighting, transformers, pyro and thermo magnetic motors, new forms of incandescent lamps,
unipolas dynamos and many others.
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.
Names A to H
Names I to Z
Biographies of the Presidents.
Railway Officials in America 1906
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