Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Tesla’s Real Scientific Successes and Failures…Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 as the fourth child of a Serbian-Orthodox family living in a village in Croatia, later he had another brother. Nikola’s mother, a woman who invented small things to make household chores easier, had once designed a mechanical egg beater. At the same time, he loved to read and what he read would not leave his memory; It is said that Nikola’s inventive genius was inherited from his mother. Nikola had a difficult childhood; His family always compared him to his older brother. His older brother fell from a horse and died when he was 12 years old. His family blamed Nikola for scaring the horse. It is thought that his family’s behavior towards Nikola affected his psychology and paved the way for him to become an introverted person.
As a child, Nikola loved to write and read poetry. He had an amazing ability to remember; He did not forget anything he saw, heard or read, especially his visual memory was excellent. He started his inventions at a very early age, making his own waterwheel when he was just 6 years old. But he was a child with quirks. For example, she couldn’t touch anyone’s hair and counted her steps as she walked. He had a great weakness for shiny objects. Also, he always calculated the cubic content of his food, refusing to eat if he failed to do so.
University Years and Later Work Experiences
Tesla studied first at the Polytechnic Institute in Graz in 1873 and then at the University of Prague in 1880. Initially, his aim was to specialize in the fields of physics and mathematics, but when he entered the field of electricity, he was fascinated. He started his career as an electrical engineer for a telephone company in Budapest in 1881. Before going to America, he worked at the Continental Edison Company in Paris, where he designed dynamos. In 1883 he built a prototype of the induction motor in Strasbourg, but unable to find anyone to support the device, he accepted a job offer from New York. He would work for the Edison Machine Works company, founded by Thomas Edison.
Tesla arrived in New York in 1884. He impressed Edison with his industriousness and ingenuity. Edison said he would pay Tesla $50,000 for the design of DC dynamos. After months of experimentation, Tesla offered a solution and asked for the promised money, but did not receive it. Tesla decided to leave this 6-month working adventure. Later, Edison is said to have said: “Tesla… You don’t understand American humor”. On the other hand, Edison’s biographers write that Tesla tried to sell his AC patents to Edison for $50,000, and Edison laughed and rejected this offer. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Tesla’s First Company Establishment Experiences
After Tesla left Edison Machine Works, he tried to patent the arc lighting systems he developed there. During these studies, he met businessmen Robert Lane and Benjamin Vail, who would finance the company he was going to establish. In March 1885, they founded the Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing Company in Rahway, New Jersey. Tesla struggled to get the patents for the generator he developed that year. But his investors didn’t pay much attention to Tesla’s ideas for new alternating current motors and electrical transmission equipment. By making their investment for another company, they left Tesla halfway and broke. Tesla also lost the patents that the company had given its control. Trying to earn a living by doing various electrical works after this disappointment, Tesla describes that period as “terrible headaches and painful tears”.
Tesla met inspector Alfred S. Brown and lawyer Charles F. Peck in late 1886, the three of whom formed the Tesla Electric Company in 1887. They would share the profits from the patents. Thus, Tesla started working in the laboratory they established in Manhattan in order to be able to realize new projects and develop new devices.
We’ll get to the myths about Tesla, his successes and failures a little later; so we skip the part of his life that deals with inventions. In summary, Nikola Tesla had a very bad time due to these injustices and patent thefts, but he still continued to work and produce. Never thinking and acting like a merchant, Tesla dedicated everything he produced to humanity. He died on January 8, 1943, at the age of 86, in a hotel room where he was alone. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Myths and Facts About Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a genius. Nikola Tesla was an extraordinary person. Nikola Tesla is an important scientist, inventor and name who has made important contributions to our day. Nikola Tesla was right. It is almost impossible to argue the contrary of all these in a scientific and safe way.
Tesla was a lousy “marketer” (businessman) as well as a good scientist… That doesn’t make him a lesser personality; however, some of their mistakes are also based on their inadequacies in this regard (we will also include them in our article). He was able to preserve very few of his crops; lost the patents of many of them, or could not get them at all, or even if they did, they could not continue these works. An ordinary “labour thief” like many successful capitalists, the businessman lost some of his patents to Edison while working for the great inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison. Well, this is nothing new, it’s not the first time it’s happened to Tesla, and unfortunately it won’t be the last…
In particular, his work, which was marketed as “giving people free electricity” (which he believed could be done), did not work because it was scientifically invalid, and did not receive financial support and did not materialize because he could not market these ideas as a “business”. Some of his ideas that were brought to life were a huge failure; because it will come as a surprise to many people who have a special interest in Tesla but… Nikola Tesla was a human!
He made mistakes, made false claims and sometimes even lost his intellectual integrity and went beyond facts, science and logic! This is not just a case of Tesla. Sometimes in the history of science, we see that very valuable and great scientists such as Alfred Russel Wallace stray from the boundaries of science and deviate towards spiritualism, and claims that can be easily understood as not true. Tesla also made this mistake often.
In this article, we will include many erroneous information, titles, reputations and successes attributed to Tesla so far. Some of these “mythified” claims are so powerful that countless Tesla fanatics have internalized them as “true” even though they are completely false. The biggest problem with Tesla is that every claim made about him is accepted as fact by his fanatics and spread even more exaggeratedly.
Some of Tesla’s claims are so absurd that he can easily dismiss a physicist today from his job and his entire career. But because so many science and technology products already seemed like “magic” at the time, the wild claims of genius (and weirdo) people like Tesla seemed “probable”. For what is called “common sense” was then remarkably different from what it is today.
For example, while Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the first working functional radio, began working on radio signals, Tesla claimed that he had already achieved radio transmission. So who did he communicate with? According to Tesla’s own claim, with aliens on Mars! He went even further: He claimed that he could establish “instant communication” even with planets much more distant than Mars, thanks to the technologies he had! Today, we know that even if we communicate with waves propagating at the speed of light, which is the speed limit of the Universe, we can communicate with Mars once in 12.5 minutes on average. And again, we know today that aliens do not live on Mars.
Today, while a typical scientist has been experimenting, analyzing and examining for decades without eating or drinking before even producing any argument about extraterrestrial life, while Tesla did not even have a working radio and he had not signed a single experiment on radio waves in his life until then, Martians may cause some warning lights to come on, perhaps not among the fierce Tesla fanatics, but in the questioning, skeptical people who truly understand science; should be. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Why Do We Do Such A Thing?
Why did we decide to write such an article about Tesla? First, Tesla is not a rock star; Scientists and other scientists are not young fans either. The fanatics Tesla currently has is really, literally, “nonsense”. All of these need to be prevented.
Secondly, it is important to correct the records about the history of science and to tell the truth. As people who contain emotions that some would find “left-leaning” (the superiority of labor, the rights of the oppressed, etc.) more intensely, Tesla’s dignity and what he tried to do for humanity are very valuable to us. But for us, honesty with facts and science comes before admiration for a person or institution.
Third, the exaggerated claims mythologized by popular culture about Tesla frankly disturb us as a scientific organization.
Last but not least, some of the achievements attributed to Tesla steal the work of many other scientists, as they are inaccurate and do not belong to Tesla. It is unacceptable disrespect for us to disregard the real inventors of certain technologies in order to glorify Tesla. For these reasons, we believe it is important, for the sake of honesty, to prevent false claims about Tesla.
We would like to state clearly that the purpose of this article is in no way to “discredit” Tesla. We reject any criticism in this direction in advance. Because it is not in our power to discredit a scientist like Nikola Tesla. On the other hand, destroying the lies surrounding Tesla is something we can do easily and is included in our mission statement. We will also include the real contributions of Tesla to today in the article. The aim here is to paint a real Tesla portrait.
After destroying the myths about Tesla, what remains will be more than enough for us to understand the importance of Tesla.
“I don’t think anything excites the human heart more than when an inventor sees the success of a product created by his own brain. These kinds of emotions make one forget about eating, sleeping, friends, love, everything.” Nikola Tesla
Myths and Lies About Tesla
Myth-1: Tesla is the scientist with the largest number and variety of patents. He is the greatest inventor of all time.
It is not correct to reduce the achievements and efforts of scientists to the number of patents. However, the number of patents a scientist has is an important criterion (but not the only criterion) of what he can achieve in the time period when he is scientifically and technologically active.
There are plenty of question marks about Tesla’s number of patents. However, according to official records, Tesla’s 111 separate patents (patent families) acquired in the USA have been reached so far. In total, there are at least 278 patents extracted from the archives of 26 countries. According to some, this number exceeds 300. Some sources (unfortunately, we cannot find these sources unbiased because he is an extreme Tesla fan), adding the patents he lost to people like Marconi and Edison to Tesla’s, although they are not official, and counting some double patents (duplicate patents) as they should not be counted. They inflate the number to 700. Some of these may be appropriate; but most of it is wrong. Therefore, it would probably be most accurate to say “around 110 patent families and around 300 patents”. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
But these numbers do not make Tesla the “greatest inventor of all time”, at least quantitatively, rather than to race the numbers; This is what we are trying to show. Qualitatively, you may have personal opinions about the worth of a scientist. Tesla’s work may be more valuable to you than others for some reason. But on an objective level, ie quantitatively, you cannot declare Tesla “the greatest and most prolific inventor”. Moreover, we will mention how wrong the inventions and discoveries attributed to Tesla are in the next myths one by one.
Tesla is not on the “World’s Most Prolific Inventors” list. This list includes people with over 200 patent families, and although it changes from time to time, it includes around 120 names. As of 2019, Benzion Landa is at the bottom of the list with 200 patent families, while at the top of the list is Shunpei Yamazaki, the most productive inventor in human history with 5467 patent families and nearly 20,000 patents, and Kia with 4747 patents and nearly 10,000 patents right behind him. It is located in Silverbrook. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Sometimes these people’s contributions to science and technology are vilified by claiming that they are in “ordinary” or “simple fields”. Let’s see if…
Yamazaki is the name that brought modern semiconductors to where they are. He also has plenty of patents in technologies such as thin-film transistors, liquid crystal displays, Solar panels, flash memory, OLED. In other words, we can say that he is one of the people who made it possible for you to read this article. Kia Silverbrook, on the other hand, holds patents in key technologies that shape our era such as printers, digital paper, internet, electronics, CGI, chemicals, DNA technologies, laboratories on a chip, MEMS, VLSI. Lowell Wood, which ranks 3rd as of 2019 and has 1875 patent families and approximately 2000 patents, is known for his work in the field of nuclear weapons. Leonard Forbes, who also has 1106 patent families and 1500 patents, has conducted studies in fields such as semiconductor memory technology, CCDs, thin film processes and materials, and VLSI. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Machinery and automation, optical recording, genetically modified organisms, signal and image processing, wireless communications and computer networks, automobile safety and technologies, photography, polarized films, computer architecture and technologies, 3D circuits, radio control and communication He holds patents in numerous fields such as biotechnology, drug delivery, tissue engineering, computer programming, electricity, carbon nanotubes, implants, solar panels, integrated circuits, lasers, video processing, batteries, medical devices. Contrary to what is claimed, these people are not “empty people”, but names that enable or develop technologies that shape our lives.
Various antitheses come from people to these numbers. Chief among them is “There’s a difference between inventing in 2019 and making it in 1930.” claim comes. However, the invalidity of this claim can be seen from the fact that numerous names such as Thomas Edison, George Albert Lyon, John O’Connor, Melvin De Groote, Francis Richards, Carleton Ellis, who are at the top of the list of the most prolific inventors, all lived at the same time as Tesla. Among the inventions made by these people are the automotive industry, the railway industry, stainless steel, polyester production, vibration-free gasoline burning, etc. There are significant strides in the field. Moreover, considering that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, Eadweard Muybridge invented the motion pictures (video) in 1877, and F. E. Mueller and Adolf Fick invented the eye-correcting contact lenses in 1887, the era was not particularly disadvantaged in inventing.
One of the arguments against this myth is “There is invention, there is invention.” form of opposition. The invalidity of this can be understood from the fact that it is impossible to compare inventions and discoveries in an objective and qualitative way. People may feel greater affinity and commitment to this or that technology. But to claim that the discovery of alternating current is more important than the invention of flying machines, drones, or a dishwasher or gas mask is not acceptable, at least on an objective level. Moreover, Tesla’s role in these technologies is also controversial. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Let’s come to some of the achievements attributed to him…
Myth-2: Tesla is the inventor of polyphase alternating current (polyphasic AC) and generators powered by it. (Shorter: Tesla invented AC!)
No, it is not. In fact, the first successfully working polyphasic, hand-cranked AC generator was produced by Hippolyte Pixii in 1832, 24 years before Tesla was born. When Tesla’s first work on AC began, many inventors in Europe were producing products that worked with AC. Yes, these technologies were somewhat rare and were just finding their place. For example, Guillaume Duchenne, who is also the inventor of electrotherapy, made history as the first person to use alternating current for practical purposes in 1855. So in conclusion, it is very clear: Tesla was not the inventor of AC generators or AC itself. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
For example, while Tesla had not touched AC yet, Germany had already successfully operated 2 separate AC generators. But Tesla’s success came after he moved to the USA. Because the USA had not yet met AC, this was a good opportunity for Tesla to market its own AC generators. Unfortunately, Tesla didn’t have much success in persuading New York entrepreneurs for AC for a long time. For this reason, AC and DC (direct current) wars took place between Edison and Tesla. In the end, Tesla won, and AC began to spread in the USA (meanwhile, this trend had already started in Europe!).
Tesla’s problem was that he got stuck in the two-phase generator for some reason. In 1887, August Haselwander and C.S. Bradley produced the first 3-phase AC generators in history. Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovsky, on the other hand, succeeded in producing and distributing electricity using these 3-phase generators, with his work between 1888 and 1891. Today’s research shows that the three-phase generators that Tesla never accepted are more efficient than the two-phase generators that he stubbornly insisted on. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Myth-3: Tesla is the inventor of transformers.
No, that’s also wrong. Tesla did not invent the first transformers, contrary to popular belief. Operating in Budapest, the Ganz Company had already produced the first transformers in history at the end of the 1870s, while Tesla had not yet graduated. The inventors of the first transformer are Károly Zipernowsky, Miksa Déri and Ottó Bláthy. Tesla finally started his first business in telephony and voice transmission in 1880, where he realized what great potential AC had. Realizing that the Hungarians would not be very successful in expanding this business, he decided to work in this field. This was a good field, because the Western countries were following the technology of the Hungarians at least 5 years behind. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Tesla fanatics, who sometimes see that the above claim is wrong, said, “Okay, Tesla may not have invented the first transformer, but he is the inventor of the modern transformers we use today.” they say. This is also wrong. Tesla was not the inventor of the modern transformers still in use today. The inventor of these transformers is William Stanley, who produced the first modern transformer in 1885. Ki Stanley’s design is also based on the designs of his predecessors Gaulard and Gibbs. In other words, successful studies have been carried out in this field for a long time. For example, Gaulard succeeded in transferring power from Lanzo to Turin using his own transformer in 1884. There’s more: Z.B.D. The Hungarian company named Transformer Company has produced transformers that work, albeit inefficiently. Z.B.D., which pushed Stanley to produce a functional and efficient transformer. These are relatively unsuccessful designs of the Transformer Company.
A trouble with sources on this subject is Tesla’s notes in some of his inscriptions that “he imagined and designed the first working and large-scale transformer in 1882”. There is no concrete evidence that these transformers were produced. So all we can do is to trust or distrust Tesla’s word. On the other hand, it is verified by historians and science, technology and historical institutions such as IEEE, Smithsonian Institution, Berkshire Museum, Great Barrington Historical Society and Tom Blalock that many different transformer designs were already working years before Tesla’s first working AC transformer production. Therefore, the credit has to go not to the “who claims to have produced the idea” but to the “who brought the idea to life”. This is William Stanley. Tesla launched its first concrete product in 1885, after Stanley.
Tesla focused on dual-phase AC transformers, as opposed to Stanley’s single-phase and three-phase transformers. He conducted these studies not alone, but together with Westinghouse and Oliver Shallenberger.
Myth-4: Tesla invented the induction coil.
This is a fairly common and incredibly erroneous myth. For those who don’t know what it is: An induction coil is a device that produces high voltage alternating current (AC) using low voltage direct current (DC). Michael Faraday, one of the greatest physicists of all time, was the first to discover the phenomenon of “induction” at the heart of this device. William Sturgeon is also known for his important work in this field. The first name to produce a coil using the induction phenomenon was Nicholas Callan, who started his work in 1834 and brought the product to life in 1836. Tesla was not yet born when Callan produced the first successfully working induction coil.
Myth-5: Tesla is also the inventor of the loudspeaker.
It is claimed that Tesla invented the first loudspeaker during the years he was working on sound transmission. According to all official records, the inventors of the loudspeaker, C.W. Rice and Edward Kellogg. The duo produced the first prototype in 1921 and received their patent in 1925. Moreover, Tesla cannot be considered the father of the speaker; because years before that, Werner Von Siemens was working on magnetically controlled loudspeakers.
Myth-6: Tesla is the inventor of the radar.
No, it is not. Although it is claimed that Tesla invented the radar in 1917, it was German inventor Christian Hulsmeyer who invented the radar in 1903; because he is the first to successfully use radar on a ship. German physicist Heinrich Hertz, who made the first breakthroughs in the field between 1886 and 1888, is sometimes known as the inventor of radar. However, Hertz’s work is mostly in the laboratory setting and deals with the basic physical phenomena underlying radar machines. Therefore, Hertz can be seen as the “idea father” of radar. Apart from that, Guglielmo Marconi conducted studies on radar in 1899. Later, Lee De Forest, Edwin Armstrong, Ernst Alexanderson, Guglielmo Marconi, Albert Hull, Edward Victor Appleton and even the Russians who tried to detect German planes in 1934 were among the names who worked on the first successful laser systems. This is such a common misconception that Tesla fanatics will be shocked when Tesla’s name is not even mentioned in radar history textbooks and internet articles.
Myth-7: Tesla is the inventor of fluorescent lamps.
This too is wrong. Alexander E. Becquerel was the first person to study the concept of fluorescence in his laboratory and conducted his research in 1857. In fact, it is not certain who produced the first fluorescent lamp. According to academic sources, possibilities include Thomas Edison, George Inman, German inventor Edmund Germer and some other inventors. But often the credits go to George Inman; but Edmund Germer probably succeeded in producing the fluorescent lamp before either of them. Daniel McFarlan Moore is the inventor of the Moore Lamps, the ancestor of fluorescent lamps. Yes, Tesla has dealt with fluorescent lamps; He even made many important contributions to neon lamps. Just like Thomas Edison… But one thing is for sure: Tesla was not the inventor of the fluorescent lamp. Tesla worked on an existing system and improved it.
Myth-8: Tesla is the inventor of microwave transmitters.
No, it is not. The inventor of magnetrons, the technology that makes today’s microwave oven, microwave manufacturing technologies, and even radar possible, is Albert W. Hull. Of course, Hull also stood on the shoulders of his predecessors, and those who came after him built on his successes. For example, the first successful microwave radio relay was operated in 1931 by a team headed by Andre C. Clavier. The first successful microwave power transmission was carried out in 1964 by William C. Brown from a helicopter. The name that produced the first successful microwave oven was Percy Spencer. Some important names in this field include Sir John Turton Randall, Harry Boot, Sir Henry Tizard. Tesla is not the inventor or father of microwave transmitters. While the IEEE includes Morse, Maxwell, Hertz and Marconi among the fathers of microwave communication technologies, it does not even mention Tesla’s name.
Myth-9: Tesla built the world’s first AC hydropower plant by producing the Niagara Falls Hydropower Plant.
Wrong. Tesla, who is not the inventor of alternating current, is not the inventor of the power plants that use them. As a matter of fact, between 1878 and 1885, AC power plants were in a considerable amount in Europe. Long before Tesla, Westinghouse in 1885; Stanley, Oliver Shallenberger, Benjamin Lamme and some other names were included in his team and worked on these power plants in North America. Tesla joined the team in 1888.
A small example is the Redlands Power Plant, which was established in 1893. The generator used in the plant is a 3-phase AC generator. Among those who designed this power plant are Elihu Thomson, Almirian Decker and Louis Bell. The first AC generator-powered hydro power plant in Europe, on the other hand, was built in Frankfurt in 1891 and also uses a 3-phase AC generator.
Moreover, Tesla was not the first to notice and try to solve some of the key problems with AC generators. For example, Charles P. Steinmetz noticed the problem of hysteresis in generators long before Tesla and solved this problem by turning theoretical physics calculations into practice.
Myth-10: Tesla has developed technologies that will make electricity available to humanity free of charge.
This is perhaps one of the most exaggerated, mind-blowing myths about Tesla. First of all, it is unfortunately delusional to think that as a result of the use of natural resources (renewable or non-renewable) by using power plants, companies with thousands of employees whose salaries they have to pay will distribute electricity “for free” at any time. Tesla discovered how to transmit electricity wirelessly over short distances; not making it free.
Just because something is “wireless” doesn’t mean it will be “free” (examples: cell phone communication, wireless internet, etc.), as Cosmic Vortex points out in this very illuminating article on Tesla. If we look at this claim with a realistic philosophy, it can be seen that it is a Polyannaist approach from the very beginning. In a world where even the water bottled at the source is not free, it is nonsense to claim that electricity will be free simply because it is wireless. Moreover, even if electricity were “unlimited”, it would inevitably come at a cost within the existing global political-economic system (see: Solar panels). It is therefore essential that the dream of “free electricity” be abandoned.
On the other hand, Tesla does not have such a success as free electricity. Yes, Tesla has succeeded in transmitting electricity wirelessly over very short distances. Which is a great success. This is how some phone chargers work today. Probably in the future we will be able to wirelessly charge all battery-powered devices in a room. However, none of this means that Tesla can achieve this power transmission over longer distances. Despite using the millions of dollars allocated to it (we’ll get to the details of this), it has not succeeded in transmitting electricity efficiently over a certain distance.
As a matter of fact, it is possible to transfer electricity in all directions using towers called “Tesla tower” or “Tesla coil”. There is no problem with that. The trouble, however, is apparent when you look at the efficiency of this electricity. If we were to use Tesla’s products beyond a few hundred meters, we would have wasted almost all of the electricity we produced and thrown it into the air. Because electricity loses its power depending on the obstacles it encounters. Air is a good insulator and therefore rapidly reduces electrical efficiency and power (inversely proportional to the square of the distance). Therefore, to think that a mechanism that randomly throws electricity in all directions can be used for efficient electricity transmission requires lack of basic engineering and physics knowledge.
Have you ever thought why we use “cables” to transmit electricity? Because cables enable us to transmit electricity in one direction and with the lowest level of loss. Yes, you can throw electricity with Tesla’s towers, maybe you can power a few devices. However, the efficiency of the electricity you use while doing this is so low that what you are trying to do just looks “cool”, it cannot be functional beyond a certain level. At least Tesla did not have any solution for this problem and unfortunately we do not know how to solve this problem within the framework of our collective engineering knowledge today. You can read a more detailed article on this subject by clicking here.
Myth-11: The Wardenclyffe Tower Debacle was actually a huge success.
No, it wasn’t. Tesla’s biggest dream was also his biggest failure. However, Tesla was such a stubborn personality that he never admitted failure. He thought that he would be able to transmit an incredible amount of electricity to incredible distances through the huge tower he was going to build, called the “Wardenclyffe Tower”. He requested $30 million in today’s money for his research. J.P. Morgan gave him $4 million to try out the project. But because he didn’t trust Tesla, he demanded a share of the patent proceeds.
Tesla immediately got to work. First he bought land, then he hired workers. Later, he purchased 16 steel pillars that rose tens of meters above the ground. He intended to use the Earth itself as a conductor in his project. Thus, the steel pillars would sink into the Earth and draw its strength from it.
Although Tesla fanatics claim that Tesla failed “because he didn’t have enough money,” in reality, Tesla was able to build just the tower of his dreams, using every single piece of his application. In other words, contrary to the claims, Tesla did indeed produce a transmitter, and this transmitter was no different from what he had imagined. But there was a “small” problem: the tower did not work. It’s that simple. It didn’t work! Tesla demanded more money from Morgan because he thought he could “fix” his tower with that money. But their demands were unconvincing, because Tesla didn’t even know what was broken.
When scientists today examined the Wardenclyffe Tower, they found more questions about Tesla than answers. From the very beginning, Tesla’s designs did not have the engineering designs that could produce the results he imagined! In other words, even if Tesla’s tower were to work, it would not yield the results Tesla thought it would achieve. The tower Tesla produced was so strange that it was not even clear which of his patents he was testing. For example, in one of his patents, he had an idea to transmit electricity over long distances by using the Earth’s ionosphere; however, the design of the tower did not make this possible.
If you’re wondering why today we don’t build a tower like the Wardenclyffe Tower and transmit electricity to the other side of the Earth… It’s because we “do not understand Tesla” or “the FBI has seized all the documents” or “Tesla is enormous” not so. This is because Tesla’s tower is useless. Tesla failed. This much. No mystery, no hash, no conspiracy. There is failure. You can create any fantasies you want. But until these fantasies are proven, Tesla fanaticism will not do anyone any good. It will not reveal the truth.
Myth-12: Tesla was actually going to be awarded the Nobel Prize, but he didn’t because he had to share it with Edison.
One of the points where the Tesla-Edison struggle reaches pointless places is the “Nobel Prize” issue. The claim, which also took place in famous newspapers such as The New York Times, is that Tesla and Edison were offered a joint Nobel Prize; however, the award was given to someone else because the duo did not want to share the award. In fact, Tesla fans hate Edison so wildly that they claim that Edison sabotaged this offer just so that Tesla would not receive the award. These parts of the work are completely false. There is no documentation about this.
The Nobel Committee said that they had already determined to whom they would award the prize when the allegations came to light. In a clear statement they have already made, they have said that they will never stop giving the award to that person (even if they don’t) just because someone doesn’t want it. You may not receive the award; but the reward is still given to you. The reaction of the Nobel Committee to these allegations is quite clear:
Any claim that a person would not be awarded a Nobel Prize simply because they did not want the award is nonsense. The person who is deemed worthy of the award can refuse the award only after the award is announced to the whole World.
Both Edison and Tesla denied the claim that such an award would be given to them. Although both of them have done works that could deserve a Nobel, neither of them was awarded a Nobel Prize in their lifetime. In 1915, the issue of awarding Edison the Nobel Prize came to the fore. Edison was able to get 1 out of 38 votes. In 1937, the issue of giving the same award to Tesla came to the fore. Coincidentally, Tesla also got only 1 out of 38 votes.
Myth-13: Tesla built an earthquake machine.
No, he didn’t. It is often claimed that Tesla was able to create artificial earthquakes by producing a kind of resonance machine. Of course, needless to say, these documents were “seized by the FBI, so we have no credible documentation of that.” A typical conspiracy theory… But conspiracy theorists aren’t always this boring. In one version of the claim, Tesla was so afraid that the machine he produced would kill him that he smashed the machine he produced using a hammer. Yeah…
Unfortunately, Tesla’s strange personality appears here as well. He claimed that “a machine he could have built but never worked on had the power to split the Earth in two like an apple.” Probably such a machine will never be produced. On the other hand, there are some accounts that vibrations were created during some of his work in the Wardenclyffe Tower. Such physical vibrations are quite expected during the operation of a large machine. There is nothing secret or private about it; however, there are still no reliable sources for even these vibrations.
Mythbusters once tested Tesla’s crazy machine. At least to see if such a machine is possible… Conclusion? Yes, it is possible to manufacture a machine that creates strong vibrations. However, if these vibrations can damage someone or something or create effects comparable to earthquakes… Impossible.
Uncertainties about Tesla
Uncertainty-1: Tesla has a photographic memory.
It is not yet certain that such a thing as “photographic memory” even exists. Scientists continue to work in this field. And yes, if there is such a thing, Tesla is likely to be one of them. As a highly intelligent and brilliant man, Tesla’s memory may also be simply “extraordinary”. Because the claim of “photographic memory” means that “everything seen can be remembered perfectly, just like a photograph”. Tesla has never been tested on this and we do not have enough reliable evidence.
The type of memory that is not photographic but close to it is called “eidetic (photographic) memory”. Tesla is more likely to have such a memory. These people cannot perfectly remember all the details and everything they see; but they are well above average. One problem is that these people usually don’t need to take notes; because they can remember everything. However, Tesla has numerous and very detailed notes on the work he is working on.
It is not as easy as the others to come to a definite judgment on this subject and call it “myth”. However, it is certain that there are big question marks on the subject.
Uncertainty-2: Tesla was very bad with money. He always led a poor life.
Tesla’s relationship with money is quite complex. If he hadn’t lost some of his patents to Edison and had better protected what he had, his finances would probably have been better. As we said before, it is certain that Tesla is not a “businessman” like Edison and others.
There’s a problem: Tesla was pretty bad at controlling it, even if he had money. So even if he could make millions of dollars from his work, it is quite possible that he would lose all his money. Because he always stayed in the most luxurious hotels, he invested all his money in projects that were overly dreamy (but potentially future-proof). While some may see it as “heroic”, for many this attitude may seem “flanky”. Tesla lived a life quite disconnected from reality. Therefore, he was also quite bad at money management. He borrowed money from friends and companies; however, he used the money he received not to pay off his debts, but to maintain his luxurious life.
Uncertainty-3: Tesla was a reliable scientist.
At the beginning of our article, we talked about Tesla’s “communication with the Martians”. However, this is not the only clue that makes us question Tesla’s credibility. One day, while walking with his friend in the park, he fell to the ground and experienced seizure-like contractions. It was later discovered that this was because he was not getting enough sleep.
But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that he claims to “see strange images” after these seizures. He didn’t hesitate to go even further: he claimed that “a complete drawing of the AC motor came to life” during his seizure. It’s almost like a revelation… However, considering that Tesla had been working on an AC motor for 6 years before he had this seizure, it is not surprising that such a drawing came to mind. Assuming, of course, that you actually saw such an image…
Later in his life, he had another “fit of revelation”. While feeding his obsessive pigeons alone one night, he noticed that “one of the others, especially one with a bright white color, showed him an extra affection”. In the meantime, there were 2 big bursts of light in front of his eyes, and these lights communicated with him. These lights told him that “his work is done now and he will die soon”.
Yes of course…
It is quite easy to attribute all this to Tesla’s obsession with overwork and insomnia. It is known that most nights he goes to bed at 5 am and starts a new day with only 2 hours of sleep. There are notes that he sleeps 5 hours only once a year. He always thinks about his job during the day. These are quite common for a “workaholic”. It was this tireless work that made Tesla a great scientist. Unfortunately, these exaggerated studies have negatively affected mental health.
It is possible to say that Tesla was a very strange person indeed. At the beginning of the article, while talking about Nikola Tesla’s childhood, we also talked about his strange behavior. These behaviors did not leave Nikola Tesla in his later years, and even new ones were added. He was extremely meticulous about cleanliness and hygiene. Despite this meticulousness, he loved animals and especially pigeons. He was taking them to his hotel room and feeding them. Tesla had these words about one of his pigeons:
That pigeon was the joy of my life, I loved it as a man loves a woman. When he needed me, nothing else mattered. As long as I’ve had it, I’ve also had a goal in my life. It was enough for me to think of him, he would fly away when I called him. I understood him and he me.
As an unmarried person, Tesla was not very successful in dealing with women. He did not like to dine alone with women, he hated the earrings they wore, especially pearl earrings.
After Tesla came to America in 1889, he met writer Mark Twain at a New York club. Tesla told Twain about his childhood illness and the Twain books he had read. Mark Twain was fascinated by this and they became very good friends. Tesla describes Twain as the first person who inspired him when he arrived in America, and Twain often visited Nikola Tesla’s laboratory. In an excerpt from an interview with journalist Frank G. Carpenter for the Boston Sunday Globe on December 18, 1904, Twain had the following to say about Tesla:
When I saw him at the Waldorf, he looked more like an Italian prosecutor than a hardworking inventor. In his suit and among the other men, he was the most striking figure standing in the lobby. Mr. Tesla is now 47 years old and physically and intellectually at his best. He is a tall and slender person, his head is long and thin and intellectual, his forehead is high and full. He was born and educated in Hungary but speaks excellent English and is one of the most impressive speakers I’ve ever met.
Tesla was featured on the cover of Time Magazine on his 75th birthday in 1931. On this occasion, he received congratulatory letters from many names in science and engineering, including Albert Einstein. However, Tesla said in a statement to The New York Times on July 11, 1935:
Einstein’s work on relativity is nothing but a dazzling mathematical cover. This cover fascinates and impresses people and at the same time hides their underlying faults. Einstein’s Theory is like a beggar who wears purple clothes so that ignorant people see him as a king. The adherents of the theory are metaphysicians rather than scientists.
What they say about that “purple color” is really cruel. In Western culture, the color purple indicates “reign” as it was difficult to obtain in ancient times, as it is mentioned in the Bible. In our culture, it’s like saying “velvet”… Tesla not only accused Einstein and his theory of “ignorance”, he also openly claimed that the purpose of this theory was to confuse people and hide his mistakes. In his 1934 poem entitled “Pieces of Godly Gossip”, Tesla says:
I’m so sorry, Sir Isaac, they have tarnished your reputation,
They have turned your great science upside down,
Now a long-haired lunatic named Einstein,
It corrupts all your teachings.
It says: matter and force are transformable,
It denies your immutable laws.
At the same Tesla’s 75th birthday gala, Einstein’s E=mc2E=mc^2E=mc
He had this to say about his formula:
I have collided countless atoms with each other so far, and no remarkable energy has been released.
However, Tesla did not have a particle accelerator. The first particle accelerator in human history would be invented for the first time 50 years after Tesla’s claim.
Uncertainty-4: Tesla is the inventor of radio and radio control.
This subject is a bit of a mix of myth and a bit of ambiguity. Radio communication technologies are at the forefront of the areas where Tesla really contributes. There are no myths about it. The myths revolve around who is the “father of radio” and “father of radio control”. Let’s try to clarify a little:
The inventor of the radio has been known for many years as Guglielmo Marconi. But for the last few decades there has been a campaign led by Tesla fanatics that the credit should go to Tesla. The reason for this is that Marconi took advantage of 17 different patents belonging to Tesla during his invention of the radio.
Tesla made a great contribution to radio communication technologies with his work on wireless power transmission. At the Electricity Fair held in Madison Square Garden in 1898, he went beyond the technology of the period and succeeded in operating the first “radio-controlled toy boat”. He even added a little “show” to his show, claiming that the ship actually “followed voice commands” (like a robot). However, he was controlling the bot with the remote control, in accordance with what he said (although some may see this as a lie, we will not go into details here, we do not think it is very important). These show how successful Tesla was at transmitting radio waves.
However, there are two problems with the radio-controlled boat: First, he developed the boat not on his own, but with John Hays Hammond, known as the father of radio-controlled vehicles; so it is clear that Tesla was not the father of radio control. Hammond is a brilliant mind (unfortunately unknown) who was awarded the right to work alongside Thomas Edison by succeeding in producing radio-controlled vehicles at the age of 12. Of course, the communication and exchange of ideas between Tesla and Hammond is mutual; Both learned a lot from each other. The second problem is that achieving radio control has nothing to do with the means of communication we know today as “radio”.
The subject of radio patents has two aspects, one for Tesla and the other for Marconi: First, the application aspect of the work… In science, as in everything else, there are some rules and guidelines. An idea is not enough to obtain a patent; A working model must be produced. Therefore, Marconi is generally regarded as the inventor of the radio, as the first to produce a useful and working radio. But it is obvious that Marconi is rising on Tesla’s shoulders. For example, while the first radio produced by Marconi could only transmit data from one end of a lake to the other, Tesla succeeded in sending waves crossing the English Channel as a result of using the coil. In addition, some of Tesla’s preliminary studies and patents were shown, and in 1943 Marconi’s 4 radio-related patents were revoked. But all this alone does not at least bring Tesla the title of “inventor of the radio”; because it was Marconi who enabled the radio to work as we know it and to reach long ranges. But while doing this, he benefited greatly from Tesla’s designs. Therefore, in our opinion, the title of “inventor of radio” should be shared between Marconi and Tesla.
The second point that confuses the subject is formality. Very strange events took place between Marconi and Tesla. Marconi patented the first wireless telegraph (radio) in 1896 in England (not the USA). Tesla applied for a patent for basic radio applications in 1897 in the USA. He received these patents in 1900. Therefore, when Marconi applied for the same patent in the USA, his application was rejected. Marconi continuously improved his designs for the next 3 years; however, Tesla was never able to break through the barrier (the Patent Office gave Tesla priority each time; he even made a statement in 1903 accusing Marconi of “being absurd” because he did not understand Tesla’s products). However, in the early 1900s, Marconi’s firm began to gain strength in stock markets, turning the tide. Giants such as Thomas Edison and Andrew Carnegie made financial investments in the company, whose stock value increased from $3 to $22. Using this financial support wisely, Marconi succeeded in sending the first radio wave across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901. Tesla made the following comment about these breakthroughs of Marconi: Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
Marconi is a good friend. Let him do it. After all, it uses my 17 patents.
This trust brought the end of Tesla in radio. In 1904, the Patent Office changed its decision and recognized Marconi as the inventor of the radio. Marconi was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1911.
If Tesla contributed to the radio with 17 patents, why couldn’t he produce the radio with such a precise and clear success like Marconi? Because Tesla did not fully understand how electromagnetic waves work. Moreover, he had a peculiar character. If he was working in a field, he was obsessed with believing that he was the supreme person. So much so that, while Marconi was able to send radio waves across the Atlantic Ocean, Tesla said that he did not need to experiment because he had too much knowledge of the subject. He was so detached from reality that he believed electromagnetic waves were faster than light. We know today that this is not true.
Some Promising Words from Tesla
In a part of Nikola Tesla’s speech at the Institute of Electrical Engineers in February 1892, he says the following about his work on alternating current and the Tesla coil:
All these observations fascinated us and filled us with an intense desire to learn more about the nature of these phenomena. No matter who we are, we go to our job every day with the hope of discovering and to find the solution to one of the big problems that await us, we return to our task with renewed enthusiasm every day, with each and every success, and even if we fail, our work is not in vain because we have hours of pleasant work in these efforts and we put our energy to the benefit of humanity. we directed. Who is Nikola Tesla? What Did He Invent? Myths and Facts!
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