Tesla was the eccentric, enigmatic and brilliant scientist who revolutionized electricity, setting the stage for the future of wireless technology. So let’s get to know this crazy mad scientist a little better.
1. He was born during a lightning storm
This was some epic foreshadowing, but yes, the famous Tesla was actually born around midnight during a crazy lightning storm in Serbia. Though the midwife thought it was a bad women and thought that he would be a child of darkness, Tesla’s own mother prophetically said, “No, he will be a child of light.”
2. The U.S. government thought German spies were using Tesla’s creations
Tesla built the Wardernclyffe Tower, a 185-foot tower in Long Island, using it to conduct many of his wireless power transmissions experiments in the early 1900s. It was believed it had the power to suck the electricity out of the sky. Authorities then became worried that the Germans were using this and blew it up. Though, many still believe that the story was for Tesla to scrap the materials because he ran out of money. Remains of the tower are being converted to a museum, funded by the people and a 1 million dollar donation from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors.
3. He had an obsessive personality
Tesla suffered from many characteristics that would likely be classified, today, as obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was obsessed with the number 3, and hated jewellery, round objects, and touching hair. He was also really wary about pearls and wouldn’t talk to any woman wearing them, once sending his secretary home when she wore pearls. He was also an insomniac and claimed that he only needed 2 hours of sleep a night, though he often took naps in the afternoon.
4. Many of his inventions are still classified
Tesla may have died in 1943, but many of his inventions and experiments are still classified by the U.S government. After his passing, all of his belongings were seized by the Office of Alien Property and eventually released to his family, but some select items were still kept.
5. He was a germaphobe
When Tesla was a teenager, he had a near-fatal case of cholera. This caused him to become extremely obsessive about germs and hygiene. He also had an extensive and rigid personal hygiene routine, used 18 napkins to wipe his dining room every night and wore white gloves to every dinner.
6. He lived in multiple Manhattan hotels
Throughout Tesla’s life, he lived in many Manhattan hotels, and at the height of his career, his lived in the Waldorf Astoria – part of the reason why he had many famous friends. But because he was more focused on humanity than money, he was never rich and died quite poor.
7. We can credit him for the idea of wireless Internet and smartphones
As early as 1901, he actually had the idea for a wireless way to gather information, code it in his lab, change the frequency and broadcast it to a hand-held device, just like how smartphones today work. And like many of his great ideas, it was never created or tested.
8. He had an amazing memory
If Tesla had a superpower, it would be that he could memorise entire books and pictures in great detail, which could be why he used to have terrible nightmares as a child. But this also helped him get visions of numerous inventions, many of which never really made it onto paper. Another power he has was also the ability to visualise things in 3D, allowing him to his inventions before they were created.
9. Mark Twain owes him for shaking his constipation issues
He was always searching for more efficient energy sources and built a high-frequency oscillator which shook his Manhattan neighbourhood when he conducted experiments. He then invited his friend, Mark Twain to stand on the machine’s platform whilst he turned it on, and within minutes, Twain who had constipation issues, ran to the bathroom.
10. Without his inventions and research, our modern world would look quite different
His experiments can be seen in countless aspects of modern technology and everyday life. A presenter in 1917, when Tesla received the Edison Medal, stated;
“Suffice it to say that, were we to seize and to eliminate from our industrial world the results of Mr. Tesla’s work, the wheels of industry would cease to turn, our electric cars and trains would stop, our towns would be dark, our mills would be dead and idle. Yea, so far reaching is this work, that it has become the warp and woof of industry”
Header image source: procaffenation