Nikola Tesla may be a name that you’ve never actually heard, but if you’re an electrician, it’s a name that probably has more of a bearing on your day to day than you think.
Tesla was born in Croatia in 1856 and was known as an inventor, a physicist, an electrical and mechanical engineer and futurist. If you’ve ever paused for a moment to be thankful for the wonders of wireless technologies while you’re browsing Facebook on your phone, booking a client in on your iPad and catching up on some paperwork on your PC, then you’ve got Tesla to thank.
Tesla invented what he coined the ‘Tesla Coil’ in 1891 which was a resonant transformer circuit used to produce high voltage, high frequency alternating-current electricity. One of the many attributes of the Tesla Coil was its ability to transmit electrical energy without wires. At Mobile Test ‘n’ Cal, we use a version of this exact creation to produce up to 300,000V test voltages in our lab, and up to 210,000V in our vans.
Nikola Tesla’s life and achievements did not come without controversy. One such controversy involved the renowned inventor of electric light and motion picture, Thomas Edison. Tesla was given the difficult task of redesigning Edison’s direct current generators for a rumoured promise of $50,000 in 1884. Once Tesla was successful in the redesigning after numerous months, he went to collect payment. Edison reportedly told Tesla that he was in fact joking about the payment and suggested that the Serbian did not understand American humour. Edison instead gave him a US$10 per week pay rise. Completely unsatisfied, Nikola Tesla resigned there and then and went on to achieve finance for his own company; ‘Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing’ and later; ‘Tesla Electric Company’.
There is no doubt that Tesla has had a profound impact on the electrical industry. He was granted almost 300 patents in his lifetime that have been responsible for social, economic, technological and scientific advancements over the years. It is also rumoured that many of his unfinished and yet to be released designs and inventions were stolen when he died. They have never been recovered. One can only wonder where the world would be today if it weren’t for that.
He even predicted the concept of a smartphone and other devices that we enjoy today. So next time we do high voltage testing for you, use your wi-fi or have an x-ray, remember where it all started!