Topics in History: Nikola Tesla


Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in the Austrian Empire in what is now Croatia.  Tesla was an inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and physicists who is best known for his contributions to the design of the alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.  He emigrated to the United States in 1884 and worked briefly for Thomas Edison in New York City before establishing his own company.  In his New York laboratories he patented his AC motor and experimented with wireless lighting, x-ray imaging,  and the radio remote control.

Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Tesla’s experiments with wireless power and his study of the conductive nature of low pressure air brought him to Colorado Springs in 1899.  Upon his arrival, he told reporters that he planned to conduct wireless telegraphy experiments, transmitting signals from Pikes Peak to Paris. In 1901 Tesla returned to New York to build a wireless communication system to be transmitted through a large electrical tower he built on Long Island that became known as Wardenclyffe.  Tesla lost financial backing and the project was eventually abandoned. For the rest of his life, Tesla continued to work but he struggled to gain support for his experiments and inventions. He died on January 7, 1943 in New York City.  Over his lifetime he obtained around 300 patents worldwide for his inventions.

Historic Newspaper Articles About Nikola Tesla

Tesla and His Experiments

Tesla in Colorado

This topic in history and the related online primary sources are brought to you by the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection, a free online resource of primary sources. For this and other topics, please visit the Colorado Historic Newspapers Topics page. For questions about CHNC, contact Leigh Jeremias, ljeremias@coloradovirtuallibrary.org

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