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On the 10 of July 1856 on a stormy night in a small village called Smiljan Croatia, was born Nikola Tesla, Nikola Tesla would become one of the greatest inventor's of all time and helped to change the way we live. At a young age, Tesla had a fascination with electrical storms and had read a number of books on the development of electricity. The use of electricity and its development and experimentation during the 19th century was of gigantic interest to engineers and scientist.
In 1875, Tesla attended the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz, Austria where he earned the highest grades. Tesla was totally focused on learning and passing his grades, he worked harder than anyone else to the point that the principle of school sent a letter to his father warning him that his son is working too hard and feared he would have a breakdown. We now know that Tesla had a mental illness of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Tesla had a great interest in magnetic electricity and began learning about (AC) alternating current. Tesla had an obsession with alternating current and claimed he would see visions of a magnetic energy driven motors.
In 1882, Tesla began working for Continental Edison Company in France, designing and improving electricity equipment. He showed himself here to be a real genius and was highly regarded by his employers and management. In 1884 with letters of recommendation he immigrated to New York City where he met for the first time Thomas Edison and was employed. Tesla explains to Edison about AC power but Edison would have none of it as he had invested a lot of money in the development of DC power. Edison offered Tesla $50.000 if he could improve the existing DC motors and after months of hard work Tesla had overcome a number of drawbacks and had vastly improved several different DC motors, When Tesla went to collect on Edison’s promise of $50.000, Edison laughed and said he was only joking and that Tesla didn’t understand the American sense of humor. Tesla left Edison and after some time of poverty, he was able to get investors to back him on his AC powered motor.
As his reputation grew and his visual demonstrations of AC power sparked a lot of interest he came to the attention of George Westinghouse who would buy Tesla Patents and they would have a life long business relationship. This is when the current wars began between Gorge Westinghouse and Edison over the use of AC or DC power. Tesla AC power won! And with now the backing of financier JP Morgan Tesla in 1896 designed the first hydroelectric AC power generators to be used at Niagara Falls to power the city of Buffalo. Since then Tesla AC power system has powered up cities all over the world.
With his developing technology of rotating magnetic field Tesla come up with what we know today as wireless technology, this was now advancing way into the future! People were trying to get the head’s around the idea of an electric light bulb and here Tesla was working on remote controlled motors and demonstrated to the 19 Century media in 1898 at Madison Square Garden at an Electrical Exhibition a radio controlled boat, The media and audience were in total shock at this demonstration, some claiming it was some trick with a person in this small four foot boat, Tesla had to open the boat and show that it was no trick.
Free Energy and lighting become Tesla goal and began experimenting on wireless energy, Tesla build a Tower in Colorado where there are many thunderstorms and high energy fields, by using vacuumed sealed bulbs with Phosphorus, Argon and mercury, Tesla was able to turn on more than 200 induction bulbs that he planted in the field using magnetic frequency from the tower, without any wires! Tesla believed he could create charged electrical fields by using large transmitters to transmit charges to the upper atmosphere using these towers. He envisioned a global network of these towers around the world providing free electricity to the world without wires. When he demonstrated his experiment to JP Morgan, Morgan asked Tesla where do you put the meter? Tesla had no answer and JP Morgan and other investor's dropped Tesla as they saw his technology as a serious threat to their current business model and was in fact, a threat to capitalism. Tesla was not able to get any more financial backing for this program and eventually went bankrupt. Tesla lived a very humble existence in a New York apartment until is death 1943.
Many of Tesla’s earlier inventions and patents were used to develop wireless communication, Fluorescent lighting, X-Rays, MRIs, the radio, TVs, the common spark plug and, of course, induction lighting. Induction lighting today is having a major comeback as it has continued to be redeveloped and used especially since the 1990s and is cheaper to produce and last twice as long as LED lighting and uses 50% less energy than most standard forms of lighting. The glow from induction also produces lower glare and a higher colour rendering with 360º light dispersal making induction lighting excellent for area lighting in warehouses, factories, supermarkets, car parks etc. Thanks to Tesla work on induction lighting and many of his other inventions we live in a brighter world. But just imagine where we would be if Tesla’s dream of free energy to the world had become a reality.
You may have seen or even brought Westinghouse products if you have then most likely you will have been pleased with the quality of their products. From industrial machines to whiteware to lighting and power distribution, Westinghouse has always been synonymous with quality, durability and leading edge technology. Even after a century of the death of its founder George Westinghouse, their products are sold worldwide.
George Westinghouse was born on October 6, 1846, and become an Amercian pioneer in the industrial revolution in the later half of the 19th and early 20th century. He was an excellent engineer and inventor and invented the railway air brakes that reduce railway accidents and deaths and made the industry safer and more efficient. By the age of 22, George would have his first of many patents to come. A man who was vibrant, industrious and a visionary, George Westinghouse desire was to make a difference to his fellow man by making the world a little easier from the dark laborious manual jobs of the 19th century. By the late 19 century, Gorge Westinghouse was a very wealthy and a successful businessman and his products were known all over America and making life a little easier for common people.
He was ahead of his time with the way he treated his workers, at a time the labourers virtually had no rights, worked long hours up to 15 hours a day with very little pay, George Westinghouse reduce the hours and increased their pay. He implemented safety standards for his workers and shared patent rights with his engineers, unheard of for industrialist of the time. Even his rival Thomas Edison would not share patent rights with his own engineers even though they were the ones who were actually developing the DC motor and electrical distribution for his light bulbs.
In 1885, George Westinghouse had become interested in Europe's new Power system of AC Power or Alternating Current. At the time, Thomas Edison had developed DC or Direct current power distribution. This was in order distribute power to light up his light bulbs into homes and business and then replace the old steam engine motors with these new DC motors for industrial applications. There was huge profit potential for Eddison if he could pull this off. however there were some drawbacks with DC current, the main one is that it could only generate enough power to light up a square mile, which means they would have to install a large power generator every mile. The voltage of AC power can be increased to generate power long distance with just one AC powered generator making AC a better long distance power distribution then DC.
In 1888, George Westinghouse met a Serbian immigrant in New York, by the name of Nikola Tesla who happen to be a genius on Alternating Current and had demonstrated a polyphase brushless AC induction motor based on a rotating magnetic field. This would seal the deal for AC power distribution for Westinghouse and he offered to buy the patents from Tesla for one million dollars and $1.00 for every horsepower of energy produced by Tesla's AC motors, Tesla accepted.
Westinghouse began to develop a new power distribution system with Tesla's AC powered generators, Tesla AC power could actually increase the brightness of Edison's own light bulbs. No longer would power distribution be limited to a square mile. Thus, began the current wars by Edison against George Westinghouse and his AC power. Edison began a campaign of destroying the reputation of AC power by demonstrating to the public how dangerous AC power was, he did this by publicly electrocuting Live animals to death including a large elephant with AC power. He even used a death row prisoner to be the first person to be given the electric chair, apparently convincing the powers to be that this would be a quick and painless death, he was wrong! It was a botch up! and the prisoner was basically burned to death. Eddison tried everything to get AC power removed including lobbying politicians to outlaw AC power, but Tesla demonstrating by properly installing AC power it was safe, he demonstrated this by sending 1000,000 volts through his own body, Now that's a powerful demonstration!
In 1893 Westinghouse won the bid to light up the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago with AC power, he outbid Edison General Electric by one million dollars.
Westinghouse used the new AC Tesla's motors to generate power to the lighting of the building and lagoons. With more than 200 temporary building to be lit, it was no small task. But this was to demonstrate the future of cities and AC power to light them. In 1893 still only a relatively small amount of the population had seen an electric light bulb. On May 1st 1893 the day the Exposition was open to the public, for the fist time in history as the night took over the day the lights of all buildings and pathways were simultaneously turn on, the public who most had never seen a light bulb was propelled into the future and stood in amazement at this city of lights. George Westinghouse was victories.
His dreams of lighting and powered up a city had become a reality and the reality was only just starting for AC Power. Over the next six months, more than 27 million people from all over the world attended the Exposition, what a great visual triumph for Westinghouse and also for Tesla! This would change how cities looked and operated forever! Tesla who's AC powered motors had been rejected by Edison when he fist arrived in America had proved to be Edison downfall, Edison was eventually removed and forced into retirement by the directors of his own company (General Electric) because he was not willing for them to make AC powered motors which they knew were the future for powering cities and industry.
In 1914, George Westinghouse died but with him, he left a legacy of what one person can do if they are prepared to dream and then work to make that dream come true. May we all learn from his example to reach out for our dreams and make them come true too!