Nikola Tesla was one of the most famous physicists, inventors and electrical engineers that ever lived. Even though history speaks about his amazing accomplishments in science, there are some aspects of his life that remain a mystery.
Tesla became popular for the development of alternating current. He also registered 300 patents and his discoveries have established the basis for the future development of robotics, wireless communication, lighting, laser X rays, radar, etc.
In this article, we present you some interesting facts about Nikola Tesla, which are rarely known.
• Nikola Tesla was born during a lightning storm
Nikola Tesla was born during a lightning storm at midnight between 9th and 10th July 1856. According to his family, the midwife that delivered Nikola Tesla thought that the lightning storm was a bad sign. She thought that the child will have a bad soul, but his mother said that Tesla is the child of light.
• Nikola Tesla and his humor
Nikola Tesla had an amazing sense of humor. He always joked with his parents, including the author Rudyard Kipling.
• The Nikola Tesla Museum was funded by a comic cartoon
The Tesla Science Center bought the Wardenclyffe for more than million dollars. The creator of the comic Oatmeal, Matthew Inman, was the first one to start the campaign.
• Some of Nikola Tesla’s documents are classified
Tesla’s property was taken by the Office of Alien Property after Tesla’s death. Most of the stuff was taken to the museum in Belgrade or was given to her family. However, some of his documents and inventions are classified by the government of the United States of America.
• Maybe Thomas Alva Edison and Nikola Tesla were rivals, but they weren’t enemies
The general public believes that Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were enemies. However, this is not the case. In his beginnings, Tesla worked for Edison, designing generators, but then he quit to pursue his own invention, which was the alternating current induction motor. These amazing minds had different plans – Edison the direct current and Tesla the alternating current. However, their works were both important and they definitely did not see each other as enemies.
• Nikola Tesla as an environmentalist
Nicola Tesla wanted the Earth’s resources to be renewable, as he saw that the people were consuming them too fast. Therefore, he conducted studies on how to gather natural energy from the air and the earth. In his laboratory, he created an artificial lightning and noticed that there is a difference between the electrical potential on high objects and the Earth.
• In 1901, he got the idea for a smart phone
Nikola Tesla was a genius with brilliant, futuristic and innovative ideas. However, he had some difficulty in developing these ideas to practice. When the development of transatlantic radio was going on, Tesla described to his business partner that he was trying to develop a new way of instant communication. It included gathering of telegram messages and stock quotes, which will be channeled to his lab. There he planned to encode them and give them a new frequency. This new frequency will be sent to a small device that could fit in a hand. To sum up, Tesla developed the idea for wireless internet and smart phones. However, this was the idea that led Tesla out of his course.
There are also other ideas that Tesla didn’t manage to develop, including the technology for radio astronomy, radar, death ray – particle beam and X-rays.
• Nikola Tesla as a humanist
Nikola Tesla was both a humanist and environmentalist. All of his inventions and hard work were done in order for people to have an opportunity for a better life. He was never worried about money. He even did not have enough money for his research and inventions.
Nikola Tesla socialized with wealthy and famous people like the actress Sarah Bernhardt and the author Mark Twain. However, he was not a successful entrepreneur like Westinghouse and Edison.
He loved and was successful in pool. He always enjoyed a good game of pool and won a few quarters, which is around $15 today.
• Tesla scared Mark Twain
Nikola Tesla was an eccentric man. There is one legend that he developed an earthquake machine, which was kept in his laboratory in Manhattan. This machine shook the entire neighborhood, when Tesla was conducting his experiments.
This machine was probably an oscillator with a high frequency. Under a platform there was a piston set that shook while moving a different experiment.
The machine did not cause any damage to the building or the surrounding houses, but it scared Mark Twain, who was suffering from digestive issues. Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain knew each other from a gentlemen’s club. Tesla invited Twain in his laboratory and asked him to stand on the platform. Then, Tesla turned on the oscillator and after a little more than a minute, Twain went to the facilities with running.
• Nikola Tesla’s friends were famous
John Muir, the conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club, was one of Tesla’s friends as well. Muir liked that Tesla’s hydroelectric system was a clean energy source that runs on waterfalls. Nikola Tesla was also a good friend of the financiers Thomas Fortine Ryan and Henry Clay Frick.
• Nikola Tesla suffered from OCD and insomnia
Nikola Tesla slept for only two hours during the night, claiming that this is enough. However, he took afternoon naps occasionally. He could not stand to touch hair and he also despised jewelry and round objects. He had an obsession with the number three as well. He also polished the dining room every night before dinner. During his cleaning process, he used exactly eighteen napkins.
• Nikola Tesla hated pearls
Tesla did not talk to women who wore pearls. He hated pearls. He had an eccentric sense of style and believed that a man must look successful in order to be successful. He never sat to dinner without wearing white gloves.
• He was scared of germs and had a photographic memory
Tesla feared germs as he had a near-death experience with cholera when he was a teenager. He had phenomenal photographic memory and memorized books and images of his inventions. He also visualized in three dimensions, which helped him to control his nightmares, which he had since childhood.
• He built a tower that was supposed to suck electricity of the air
Tesla built a tower that was supposed to suck out electricity of the air. Unfortunately, the tower was destroyed. Even though it was said that the Germans were using it as a spy tower, it was probably demolished due to Tesla debts.