Nikola Tesla. The Man Who Invented the 21st Century

Nikola Tesla. The Man Who Invented the 21st Century
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In July, we celebrate Nikola Tesla Day – a mad genius and visionary who was light years ahead of his time. Today we will introduce you to the profile of this amazing man and discover some interesting facts about him.

Nikola Tesla discovered, among other things, alternating current, which is used both in the motors of large machines and household appliances (vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and washing machines). It can be found in batteries, accumulators and in many electronic devices such as radios and televisions. It is really hard to imagine everyday life without the fruits of the Serbian genius’ labor and his 300 (!) patents. However, the list of his peculiarities, interesting adventures, phobias and quirks of his private life is not shorter than the list of his inventions

Master of lightning

  • Tesla was born on a stormy night, supposedly at midnight – hence the frequent disputes as to whether he was born on July 9 or 10. His later interest in electrical discharges seems to have had something to do with the fact that he was born just when lightning was raging in the sky.
  • His first invention was a water wheel, which he built as… 5 years old. He also tried to build an engine powered by beetles. These inconspicuous childhood games were just a tentative introduction to further discoveries and experiments.

Pigeons instead of women

  • Nikola Tesla was a loner who shunned people. He was so devoted to his career and science that there was no more room for love in his life. In an interview with a reporter of the New York Herald newspaper, the inventor stated:

“I don’t believe you could name many great inventors who have married (…) Which is a pity, because we are sometimes so lonely”.

  • His contacts with people were replaced by contacts with… pigeons. These birds, which are not very popular today, were Tesla’s faithful companions in everyday life. He took care of them, fed them and recognized them when one of them was sick. He was particularly fond of one dove, of which he spoke as he did of his beloved woman:

Wherever I was, the dove found me; when I wanted to see her, all I had to do was call her and she would fly to me. She understood me, and I understood her (…) Yes, I loved her as a man loves a woman, she also loved me (…) This dove was the joy of my life“.

The American Dream and a scythe with Edison

  • In order to fully develop his talent, Tesla decided to go to America. However, he almost wouldn’t have made it! Before the journey, he was robbed of his luggage, which contained his ticket. However, Tesla was able to reconstruct its number from memory and only because of that he managed to get on board. The scientist was famous for his incredible, almost photographic memory. He himself called it “a strange disease”.
  • At the beginning of Nikola Tesla’s American adventure, Edison, the inventor of the light bulb known to all, commissioned him to repair generators and promised to pay him $50,000. When Tesla finally succeeded and demanded the promised amount, he was told that the sum was a joke and that the man was apparently “not familiar with the American sense of humor.”
  • Edison was not the only scientist with whom Tesla did not have the best of relations. The inventor also fought with an Italian designer, Guglielmo Marconi. The Italian, using Nikola’s sketches, was to be the first to construct a radio (for years he was treated as its inventor). However, the court battle, which lasted for years, proved that Tesla was right, but only after his death

Flies, pearls and peaches

  • Nikola Tesla had a number of phobias and fears. Among other things, he suffered from misophobia (fear of dirt and germs), as a result of which he bought new gloves and a tie every week and threw away collars, towels and handkerchiefs after just one use. He also avoided shaking hands. You have to admit, he would have excelled at pandemic strictures.
  • The scientist abhorred flies, peaches, fat women, women’s earrings, pearls, the smell of camphor and the touch of human hair. He claimed that he would not touch the latter for anything in the world, “maybe only under the threat of a revolver”.
  • He compulsively counted everything – (e.g. steps while walking or the volume of a plate of soup). Additionally, the results of these calculations had to be divisible by three. If they weren’t, the scientist would start all over again, no matter how long it took.
(Photo by Stefano Bianchetti / Contributor / Corbis Historical / Getty Images)

Addictions, hotels and death

  • Despite his genius, he was not spared from mundane addictions either. At one time, Tesla was addicted to gambling, and he also smoked cigars and cigarettes and drank whiskey. However, he managed to give up all these addictions.
  • He was morbidly careful about his figure and health. Later in life he gave up eating meat. The inventor himself also boasted that for 35 years his figure did not change and he still fit into clothes sewn according to the measurement taken years ago.
  • Tesla spent the last 40 years of his life in various hotel rooms. He also died in one of them – on January 7, 1943 in room number 3327 at the New Yorker Hotel.

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