As subtle as a flying brick.

Happy Birthday Nikola

This Studio 360 episode is a wonderful place to start in today’s appreciation of “the father of electricity.”


Born in a small town called Smilian in Serbia, Mr. Tesla is regarded as one of the founders of the telecommunications industry. He passed away in January of 1943 in New York.

Nikola worked hard and long on high frequency radio waves. He was the first to demonstrate the transmission of electrical energy without wires and in 1899 he actually created a station in Colorado where he proved he could receive 1,000 Kilometers away – very clear radio signals. He is the inventor of inductive coupling between two circuits.

Tesla has over 100 patents in the field and all telecom companies owe him a great deal.


When people speak of standing on the shoulders of giants, Nikola Tesla is such a giant.

According to legend, Tesla was born precisely at midnight during an electrical storm, to a Serbian family in his village. That’s the stuff legends are made of. It’s like quite a few American Presidents in the early days of the Republic dying on the 4th of July, which is the American Independence Day.

In 1919 Tesla wrote that Thomas Edison offered him the huge amount of $50,000 (almost $1 million today) , adjusted for inflation if he completed the motor and generator improvements that he had been working on.  Tesla said he worked nearly a year to redesign them and gave the Edison company several enormously profitable new patents in the process. When Tesla inquired about the $50,000, Edison reportedly replied to him, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor,” and reneged on his promise Tesla resigned when he was refused a raise to $25 per week.

Thomas Edison was a shrewd businessman and genius in his own right. Tesla’s had a salary of only less than 20 dollars a week. That would have been worth like over 50 years of pay for him had Edison kept with his promise.


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