Nikola Tesla - The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla

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<ul><li> 1. THE STRANGE LIFE OF N I KO L A T E S L A</li></ul><p> 2. Editors Note, August 28, 1995This text has been entered by John R.H. Penner from a small booklet found in aused bookstore for $2.50. The only form of date identication is the name of theoriginal purchaser, Arthua Daine (?), dated April 29, 1978.The book appears to be considerably older, made with typewriters, and thenphotocopied and stapled. The only other signicant features of the booklet is that itcontains four photocopied photographs of Tesla, and was originally forty pageslong. I must apologise for the qualitty of the scans, but the originals were of verypoor quality, and this is the best that could be obtained after touching-up inPhotoshop.The book has no Copyright identification, nor any means of contacting thepublishers. As far as I am aware, this autobiography is no longer available in printedform anywhere.In the interest of making this important text available to the wider public, I haveretyped the entire text word-for-word as it originally appears into this electronicformat. The only words which appear in this le, that are not in the original bookare this Editors Note, and the Introduction. I have exactly maintained page numbersas they appear in the original including the somewhat odd artifact of Chapter 1starting on page two.If anyone knows how to reach the original publisher, please contact me at the belowaddress, so proper credit may be given where it is due.John Roland Hans Penner464 Scott StreetSt. Catharines, OntarioL2M 3W7, CanadaPhone: 905.646.3551eMail: J.Penner@GEnie.GEIS.comThis le may be freely redistributed as long as its content is not modied in anyway. It may not be sold or published for prot unless specically authorised prior topublication by the express permission of Kolmogorov- Smirnov Publishing, or JohnR.H. Penner. Unless otherwise notied, this work is Copyright 1995 by John R.H.Penner.iiThe Strange Life of Nikola Tesla 3. IntroductionNikola Tesla was born in Croatia (then part of Austria-Hungary) on July 9, 1856,and died January 7, 1943. He was the electrical engineer who invented the AC(alternating current) induction motor, which made the universal transmission anddistribution of electricity possible. Tesla began his studies in physics andmathematics at Graz Polytechnic, and then took philosophy at the University ofPrague. He worked as an electrical engineer in Budapest, Hungary, andsubsequently in France and Germany. In 1888 his discovery that a magnetic eldcould be made to rotate if two coils at right angles are supplied with AC current90 out of phase made possible the invention of the AC induction motor. The majoradvantage of this motor being its brushless operation, which many at the timebelieved impossible.Tesla moved to the United States in 1884, where he worked for Thomas Edisonwho quickly became a rival Edison being an advocate of the inferior DC powertransmission system. During this time, Tesla was commissioned with the design ofthe AC generators installed at Niagara Falls. George Westinghouse purchased thepatents to his induction motor, and made it the basis of the Westinghouse powersystem which still underlies the modern electrical power industry today.He also did notable research on high-voltage electricity and wirelesscommunication; at one point creating an earthquake which shook the ground forseveral miles around his New York laboratory. He also devised a system whichanticipated world-wide wireless communications, fax machines, radar, radio-guidedmissiles and aircraft.The Strange Life of Nikla Tesla iii 4. NIKOLA TESLA IS THE TRUE UNSUNGPROPHET OF THE ELECTRIC AGE!;without whom our radio, auto ignition,telephone, alternating current powergeneration and transmission, radio andtelevision would all have been impossible.Yet his life and times have vanished largelyfrom public access.This AUTOBIOGRAPHY is released to remedy thissituation, and to ll this BLACK HOLEin information space.Kolmogorov- Smirnov Publishing.iv The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla 5. The Strange Life of Nikla Tesla v 6. October 13, 1933vi The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla 7. The Strange Life of Nikla Tesla 1 8. Chapter 1My Early LifeBy Nikola TeslaThe progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is themost important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the completemastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature tohuman needs. This is the difcult task of the inventor who is often misunderstoodand unrewarded. But he nds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of hispowers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged classwithout whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle againstpitiless elements. Speaking for myself, I have already had more than my fullmeasure of this exquisite enjoyment; so much, that for many years my life was littleshort of continuous rapture. I am credited with being one of the hardest workers andperhaps I am, if thought is the equivalent of labour, for I have devoted to it almostall of my waking hours. But if work is interpreted to be a denite performance in aspecied time according to a rigid rule, then I may be the worst of idlers.Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrice of life-energy. I never paid sucha price. On the contrary, I have thrived on my thoughts. In attempting to give aconnected and faithful account of my activities in this story of my life, I must dwell,however reluctantly, on the impressions of my youth and the circumstances andevents which have been instrumental in determining my career. Our rst endeavoursare purely instinctive promptings of an imagination vivid and undisciplined. As wegrow older reason asserts itself and we become more and more systematic anddesigning. But those early impulses, though not immediately productive, are of thegreatest moment and may shape our very destinies. Indeed, I feel now that had Iunderstood and cultivated instead of suppressing them, I would have addedsubstantial value to my bequest to the world. But not until I had attained manhooddid I realise that I was an inventor.This was due to a number of causes. In the rst place I had a brother who was giftedto an extraordinary degree; one of those rare phenomena of mentality whichbiological investigation has failed to explain. His premature death left my earthparents disconsolate. (I will explain my remark about my earth parents later.) Weowned a horse which had been presented to us by a dear friend. It was a magnicentanimal of Arabian breed, possessed of almost human intelligence, and was cared forand petted by the whole family, having on one occasion saved my dear fathers lifeunder remarkable circumstances.My father had been called one winter night to perform an urgent duty and whilecrossing the mountains, infested by wolves, the horse became frightened and ranaway, throwing him violently to the ground. It arrived home bleeding andexhausted, but after the alarm was sounded, immediately dashed off again, returningto the spot, and before the searching party were far on the way they were met by myfather, who had recovered consciousness and remounted, not realising that he hadbeen lying in the snow for several hours. This horse was responsible for mybrothers injuries from which he died. I witnessed the tragic scene and although somany years have elapsed since, my visual impression of it has lost none of its force.The recollection of his attainments made every effort of mine seem dull incomparison. Anything I did that was creditable merely caused my parents to feeltheir loss more keenly. So I grew up with little condence in myself.2The Strange Life of Nikola Tesla 9. But I was far from being considered a stupid boy, if I am to judge from an incidentof which I have still a strong remembrance. One day the Aldermen were passingthrough a street where I was playing with other boys. The oldest of these venerablegentlemen, a wealthy citizen, paused to give a silver piece to each of us. Coming tome, he suddenly stopped and commanded, Look in my eyes. I met his gaze, myhand outstretched to receive the much valued coin, when to my dismay, he said,No, not much; you can get nothing from me. You are too smart.They used to tell a funny story about me. I had two old aunts with wrinkled faces,one of them having two teeth protruding like the tusks of an elephant, which sheburied in my cheek every time she kissed me. Nothing would scare me more thenthe prospects of being by these affectionate, unattractive relatives. It happened thatwhile being carried in my mothers arms, they asked who was the prettier of thetwo. After examining their faces intently, I answered thoughtfully, pointing to oneof them, This here is not as ugly as the other.Then again, I was intended from my very birth, for the clerical profession and thisthought constantly oppressed me. I longed to be an engineer, but my father wasinflexible. He was the son of an officer who served in the army of the GreatNapoleon and in common with his brother, professor of mathematics in a prominentinstitution, had received a military education; but, singularly enough, laterembraced the clergy in which vocation he achieved eminence. He was a veryerudite man, a veritable natural philosopher, poet and writer and his sermons weresaid to be as eloquent as those of Abraham a-Sancta-Clara. He had a prodigiousmemory and frequently recited at length from works in several languages. He oftenremarked playfully that if some of the classics were lost he could restore them. Hisstyle of writing was much admired. He penned sentences short and terse and full ofwit and satire. The humorous remarks he made were always peculiar andcharacteristic. Just to illustrate, I may mention one or two instances.Among the help, there was a cross-eyed man called Mane, employed to do workaround the farm. He was chopping wood one day. As he swung the axe, my father,who stood nearby and felt very uncomfortable, cautioned him, For Gods sake,Mane, do not strike at what you are looking but at what you intend to hit.On another occasion he was taking out for a drive, a friend who carelessly permittedhis costly fur coat to rub on the carriage wheel. My father reminded him of itsaying, Pull in your coat; you are ruining my tire.He had the odd habit of talking to himself and would often carry on an animatedconversation and indulge in heated argument, changing the tone of his voice. Acasual listener might have sworn that several people were in the room.Although I must trace to my mothers inuence whatever inventiveness I possess,the training he gave me must have been helpful. It comprised all sorts of exercises -as, guessing one anothers thoughts, discovering the defects of some form ofexpression, repeating long sentences or performing mental calculations. These dailylessons were intended to strengthen memory and reason, and especially to developthe critical sense, and were undoubtedly very benecial.My mother descended from one of the oldest families in the country and a line ofinventors. Both her father and grandfather originated numerous implements forhousehold, agricultural and other uses. She was a truly great woman,The Strange Life of Nikla Tesla 3 10. of rare skill, courage and fortitude, who had braved the storms of life and passedthrough many a trying experience. When she was sixteen, a virulent pestilenceswept the country. Her father was called away to administer the last sacraments tothe dying and during his absence she went alone to the assistance of a neighbouringfamily who were stricken by the dread disease. She bathed, clothed and laid out thebodies, decorating them with owers according to the custom of the country andwhen her father returned he found everything ready for a Christian burial.My mother was an inventor of the rst order and would, I believe, have achievedgreat things had she not been so remote from modern life and its multifoldopportunities. She invented and constructed all kinds of tools and devices and wovethe finest designs from thread which was spun by her. She even planted seeds,raised the plants and separated the bres herself. She worked indefatigably, frombreak of day till late at night, and most of the wearing apparel and furnishings of thehome were the product of her hands. When she was past sixty, her ngers were stillnimble enough to tie three knots in an eyelash.There was another and still more important reason for my late awakening. In myboyhood I suffered from a peculiar afiction due to the appearance of images, oftenaccompanied by strong ashes of light, which marred the sight of real objects andinterfered with my thoughts and action. They were pictures of things and sceneswhich i had really seen, never of those imagined. When a word was spoken to methe image of the object it designated would present itself vividly to my vision andsometimes I was quite unable to distinguish weather what I saw was tangible or not.This caused me great discomfort and anxiety. None of the students of psychology orphysiology whom i have consulted, could ever explain satisfactorily thesephenomenon. They seem to have been unique although I was probably predisposedas I know that my brother experienced a similar trouble. The theory I haveformulated is that the images were the result of a reex action from the brain on theretina under great excitation. They certainly were not hallucinations such as areproduced in diseased and anguished minds, for in other respects i was normal andcomposed. To give an idea of my distress, suppose that I had witnessed a funeral orsome such nerve-wracking spectacle. The, inevitably, in the stillness of night, avivid picture of the scene would thrust itself before my eyes and persist despite allmy efforts to banish it. If my explanation is correct, it should be possible to projecton a screen the image of any object one conceives and make it visible. Such anadvance would revolutionise all human relations. I am convinced that this wondercan and will be accomplished in time to come. I may add that I have devoted muchthought to the solution of the problem.I have managed to reect such a picture, which i have seen in my mind, to the mindof another person, in another room. To free myself of these tormenting appearances,I tried to concentrate my mind on something else I had seen, and in this way Iwould often obtain temporary relief; but in order to get it I had to conjurecontinuously new images. It was not long before I found that I had exhausted all ofthose at my command; my reel had run out as it were, because I had seen little ofthe world only objects in my home and the immediate surroundings. As Iperformed these mental operations for the second or third time, in order to chase theappearances from my vision, the remedy gradually lost all its force. Then Iinstinctively commenced to make excursions beyond the limits of the small worldof which I had knowledge, and I saw new...</p>