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Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

A Serbian-American engineer and physicist born on July 10, 1856, Nikola Tesla is best known for inventing the first alternating current (AC) motor, plus developing AC generation/transmission technology. AC is when the electrical current frequently reverses direction, while direct current (DC) moves in one polarity of voltage or current. Tesla accumulated around 300 patents. The AC system he came up with and improved upon is our global standard to this day.

Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison’s names will be forever linked due to their many innovations in the lighting industry. Tesla was even one of Edison’s employees for about a year in 1884 after he immigrated to the US. Edison was impressed with his abilities, yet they battled over their preferences of AC versus DC. Edison vilified him as a “mad scientist” of sorts at the time, so Tesla’s accomplishments were more appreciated after he passed away in 1943.

Nikola Tesla Lab Photo
Nikola Tesla, in his lab with a Tesla coil.

Tesla was prolific in his inventions, but wasn’t as financially successful as Edison. He faced a few setbacks such as his lab burning down once, destroying years of notes and research. He worked with George Westinghouse (who invented the first AC power system) on a few projects, including some work with GE to install AC generators in Niagara Falls.

Happy birthday, Nikola Tesla!