by Pei-Wen Wang
When people see “Tesla”, they usually think of the electric car brand owned by Elon Musk, yet have you wondered where the company got its name from? The name was chosen to honor Nikola Tesla, an inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, futurist, and experimental physicist. Tesla was seen as an important figure in the commercialization of electricity and was best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
Tesla had a number of revolutionary inventions in magnetic fields. His numerous patents, as well as his theoretical work in electromagnetism, are the cornerstones of wireless communications and radio we have today.
Tesla stabbed in the back by despicable businessman Thomas Edison
When it comes to Tesla, there often comes along a historical figure that is known to almost everyone- Thomas Edison. Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Tesla studied engineering and physics in the 1870s without a degree. Later on, he was introduced to work in Edison’s company in the new electric power industry.
At first, Edison was not aware of Tesla’s talent. Not until Tesla made improvements to electrical appliances did Edison realize that Tesla was way better than any team member in his company. Edison had Tesla help him improve a DC generator, and Tesla completed, but only to find that Edison did not pay a $50,000 bonus as promised. Edison even rejected Tesla’s request for a raise, before Tesla ended up resigning and starting his own business.
After that, with the help of Westinghouse Electric, Tesla came up with the design for an alternating current (AC) system, which totally outgunned everything Edison had achieved. To ruin Tesla’s reputation, Edison designed a set of electric chairs that ran on alternating current, and used his connections at New York State Government to use the chairs to perform electrocution. The purpose was to convince the public that alternating current is negative and evil, and the AC/DC current wars ended with Edison winning.
Although Tesla had countless inventions throughout his life, he still ended up poor in his later years because he could not pay the fees for various patent right. He did not make a fortune from the lucrative electricity patents; instead, he shared his technology to supply alternating current free of charge. The reason for doing so was because Tesla had a grand vision and believed that industrial development should be universal to everyone, instead of being restricted. This spirit happens to be in line with Makers’ open source projects!