03 Dec The Man Who Invented the 20th Century: Why We Love Nikola Tesla, Part 2
He won the feud with Edison in style.
You may remember the Nikola Tesla-Edison rivalry we touched on in Why We Love Tesla (Part 1) Tesla and Westinghouse with their AC system versus Edison and General Electric with DC. They may have respected one another, but a feud is still a feud. It came to a head at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago when both companies bid on the opportunity to power the exhibit.
Edison and GE placed their bid of $1.8 million and had it quickly rejected because the price was considered exorbitant. They then revised their bid to $554,000, a nearly 70% reduction in price, but it was to no avail; Tesla and Westinghouse Company proposed to illuminate the fair with Alternating Current for a mere $399,000. Tesla won the contract easily and started a veritable revolution, introducing the world to efficient lighting.
In retaliation for losing the bid, General Electric banned the use of any of Edison’s lamps in Westinghouse’s plan for the fair. Undeterred, Tesla and Westinghouse quickly designed their own lightbulb that both sidestepped Edison’s patents and allowed them to light the fair their own way.
He wanted to provide free energy for everyone.
The first to identify radiant energy, Tesla believed that the sun should be our primary source of energy. This free energy concept was patented in 1901 as an Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy. He hypothesized that we could condense the energy trapped between the earth and the atmosphere and transform it into an electric current.
He only slept 2-3 hours per night.
Tesla’s bursts of manic creativity meant he couldn’t turn off his brain at night. Supposedly, he would lie awake thinking about his inventions and he would only slow his thinking long enough to take short naps during the day in order to recuperate.
He gives full credit to God for his abilities.
Nikola Tesla’s mother taught him to seek all truth from the Bible. From his autobiography: “As I have mentioned before the microwave comes from the fourth chapter of Revelations; the idea of the alternating current comes from the book of Matthew.”