Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla

Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was a scientist and inventor of Serbian ethnicity born on the 10th July 1856 in Smiljan, Austrian Empire (modern-day Croatia). He is well known as the pioneer of early x-ray imaging, alternating current motors, and remote controls but did not have success in the public during his lifetime despite making huge strides in his field. He spent much of his life in the United States after emigrating there in 1884 at the age of 27 to work at Edison Machine Works which was owned by the famous inventor Thomas Edison. Unfortunately for him, he had many financial issues during his life becoming virtually bankrupt in 1915 and dying a penniless man in 1943 at the age of 86. In this article we will be looking at some interesting facts about this extremely fascinating man. We will also feature some incredible photos that have been colorized by experts which will give us an opportunity to see the real Tesla.

A colorized photograph of Nikola Tesla in 1893 at the age of 37. Colorization by  Dana R. Keller

A colorized photograph of Nikola Tesla in 1893 at the age of 37. Colorization by Dana R. Keller

Nikola Tesla was friends with Samuel Langhorne Clemens, also known as Mark Twain, who was a world-famous author best known for his novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”.  Twain went to Tesla’s laboratory on multiple occasions and took part in some of the experiments. On one occasion, Tesla wanted to show off his ‘earthquake machine’ which would violently shake a platform. Twain lasted all of about 90 seconds when he would have to jump off the platform and run to the bathroom. As well as Mark Twain, Tesla also had other famous friends including John Muir, Henry Clay Frick and Thomas Fortune Ryan.

Mark Twain in Tesla’s Laboratory with a figure (which is believed to not be Tesla) in the background.

Mark Twain in Tesla’s Laboratory with a figure (which is believed to not be Tesla) in the background.

Nikola Tesla (blurred in the centre) performing an experiment with author, Mark Twain, and actor, Joseph Jefferson, in 1894.

Nikola Tesla (blurred in the centre) performing an experiment with author, Mark Twain, and actor, Joseph Jefferson, in 1894.

As a teenager, Nikola Tesla nearly died after contracting cholera, a bacterial disease which affects the small intestine, and since then he was never the same. From then he was a germaphobe meaning he had a fear of germs. It was stated that every night before eating he would use 18 napkins to clean his silverware, plates, glasses and other items used when dining. He lived with this fear for the rest of his life.

Nikola Tesla sitting at a desk in his office in New York City, USA in 1916. Colorization by  Jecinci

Nikola Tesla sitting at a desk in his office in New York City, USA in 1916. Colorization by Jecinci

It is believed that Tesla’s memory was incredible in recalling past events with stunning accuracy. He was able to memorise entire books while also being able to create and store new inventions in his head. It is also said that he was able to visualise things in three dimensions which is perfect for an inventor who wants to see their idea in detail before they begin creating.

Scientist and Inventor, Nikola Tesla, reading ‘Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis’ by Roger Boscovich in front of the spiral coil of his high-frequency transformer in New York, USA in 1896. Colorization by  Mads Madsen

Scientist and Inventor, Nikola Tesla, reading ‘Theoria Philosophiae Naturalis’ by Roger Boscovich in front of the spiral coil of his high-frequency transformer in New York, USA in 1896. Colorization by Mads Madsen

Nikola Tesla was a lover of birds and looked after many pigeons throughout his life. There was one pigeon in particular that he was particularly fond of. It was a pure white female bird with grey tips on the wings. He wrote "I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life." The pigeon unfortunately died in 1922.

Nikola Tesla lived until he was 86-years-old which is older than the average person born in the 1850s. What many people don’t know is that in 1931, to celebrate his 75th birthday, Time Magazine featured him on the cover and asked Einstein for a comment. Albert very kindly said “As an eminent pioneer in the realm of high frequency currents… I congratulate you on the great successes of your life’s work.”

A photograph of an old Nikola Tesla (81-years-old) on the 11th July 1937. Colorization by  Jecinci

A photograph of an old Nikola Tesla (81-years-old) on the 11th July 1937. Colorization by Jecinci

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