With the return of spring comes the return of people
With the growing popularity of Tesla cars, more and more eyes are turning to their namesake – Nikola Tesla. With his inventions, Tesla invented the basis of practically every modern convenience we have. For example, did you know he invented…
- Neon lights
By running electricity through a tube filled with “noble” gasses like Neon and Argon, Tesla found that the different gasses would glow brightly. Many years later, someone took that invention, made one that spelled “OPEN,” and a hundred thousand convenience stores rejoiced.
- Remote Control
Nothing is more modern and useful than a remote control. Despite being the most lost of all the appliances, the remote control invented by Nikola Tesla, like many of his inventions, created the modern world as we know it.
- Tesla Coil and Artificial Lightning
Tesla was fascinated by electricity. So, in order to make even more, he invented the Tesla Coil – a large, lollipop-shaped device that produces high voltages of electricity.
At his laboratory in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Tesla used this device to create artificial lightning. Some bolts had millions of volts of power and leaped up to 135 feet. Thunder from the discharge could be heard 15 miles away. People walking along the street saw sparks jump between their feet and the ground, as well as from water fixtures to their hands. Horses were shocked in their stables through their horseshoes, light bulbs turned on, and butterflies glowed blue with St. Elmo’s fire.
It may be pertinent to say here that Tesla intended to provide free wireless electricity for everyone.
- Alternating Current
Tesla’s biggest opponent, Thomas Edison, was a user of “Direct Current” electricity, where an engine would push electrons through a wire to the device. This meant very thick copper wires, as big around as baseballs, which couldn’t be transported very far. Tesla came up with a much better system which we all use today – Alternating Current, a system where electrons are pushed through, then pulled back, making it way easier to pass electricity. With alternating current, electricity can move through much smaller wires over vast distances.
- Induction motor
At some point, Tesla must have looked at a motor and thought “I could do that better.” He would have been right – His Induction Motor, which used electric induction to turn the motor, was economical, efficient, and didn’t need anything except to be plugged in.
- An X-ray machine
In 1894, Tesla noticed some damaged film from some of his experiments. Intrigued, he began to investigate “invisible” radiant energy. While his early models (and many of his others) were destroyed in a laboratory fire. After hearing about Wilhelm Röntgen’s discovery of X-rays and X-ray imaging, Tesla began to produce his own prototypes, which he said would “enable one to generate Roentgen rays of much greater power than obtainable with ordinary apparatus.”
- Remote Controlled Boat
Tesla revealed an application of his radio transmission technology in Madison Square Garden in 1898 – a freaking boat. He called it a “teleautomaton,” controlling the boat by radio. The crowd couldn’t believe it – some people claimed that the boat was piloted by magic, telepathy, and most interestingly, trained monkey.
- Vertical-liftoff biplane
Who knew that this magician of electricity dabbled in flight? In 1928, Tesla received a patent (his last one) for a “VTOL” aircraft, which would take off vertically, but then would gradually tilt its wings until it flew like a regular airplane.
- Doomsday Machine
This is perhaps the most infamous of Tesla’s inventions. The machine itself was a steam-powered electric generator. Apparently, while experimenting with the seven-inch, two-pound device, the device produced oscillations that caught the resonance frequency of the buildings around him, causing them to shake. Neighbors called the police. By the time police arrived, the device had started making his own building to shake, and in a panic, he smashed his device with a sledgehammer.