Reviews - What do customers think about Nikola Tesla And The Taming Of Electricity?
The currency war was over. Alternating Current had won! AC would be taken to the world. Jun 6, 2007
"So I practiced day by day from morning to till night. At first it called fro a vigorous mental effort directed against disposition and desire, but as years went by the conflict lessened and finally my will and wish became identical. They are so today, and in this lies the secret of whatever success I have achieved."
In his thirteenth year, Tesla describes visions, "And so I began to travel-of course in my mind. Every night, when alone, I would start on my journeys-see new places, cities and countries-live there, meet people and make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life and not a bit less intense in their manifestations."
In 1831, the English physicist Michael Faraday discovered that an electric circuit and a changing magnetic field would induce electricity to run through wiring.
Tesla could build prototypes, diagrams, and equations in his mind. He could construct the inventions, make them work, determine what adjustments were necessary and only when all the defects had been perfected in his mind's eye did he build the actual apparatus.
Telsa studied at Polytechnic School at Graz, Austria where he planned to become a mathematician. He studied arithmetic, geometry, calculus, theoretical and experimental physics, analytical chemistry, mineralogy, machinery construction, botany, wave theory, optics, French, and English. Telsa studied more than twenty hours a day and soon changed his major to engineering.
When Telsa's physic professor Poeschl, demonstrated the dynamo, an electric generator capable of producing direct current, Tesla suspected that alternating current could be changed without using a commuter. Poeschl spent the remainder of the class explaining why the idea of doing away with the commuator was preposterious. Telsa spent the next four years trying to prove his professor wrong.
In 1879, Telsa enrolled in the University of Prague, for one summer. Telsa began work at the Central Telegraph Office in Budapest, where he became aware of the inventions of Thomas Edison. Suffering a mental breakdown and later reciting a poem, a vision hit him and the answer to the alternating current problem: a new system he called a rotating magnetic field in which two or more electric currents are not synchronous but are out of phase, or step with each other. He could recreate a whirling field of energy by powering a motor whose magnetic coils were like the pistons in a car and cause the shaft of the motor to turn like a wheel, all using alternating current.
In 1884, Paris, Edison Lighting Company, Charles Batchelor urged Telsa to go to America where the "grass and currency was greener." Telsa arrives in a time of great turmoil for Edison, who has invested heavily in direct current lighting of New York. "Weblike masses of crisscrossed wire were strong from pole erected along the streets. Copper tubing was placed in conduits dug under the streets... Edison had placed a cumbersome and unsightly powerhouse every mile or so to generate more current." Telsa figured out ways to make Edison's direct-current dynamos more efficient. Edison agreed to pay Tesla $50,000 to complete the work. Telsa completed the work and asked that he be paid. Edison told Telsa, "Telsa, you don't understand American humor!" Angry and humiliated Tesla resigned.
Alfred Brown heard about Tesla and recognized the advantages of alternating current and wanted to invest in Tesla's ideas. Brown, Peck, and Tesla form a new company, Tesla Electric Company. In 1887, friend Anthony Szigeti immigrate to America and became an assistant. Szigeti helped Tesla build three complete system of alternating current machinery: single-phase (homes), two phase, and three phase. Polyphase current delivered more electrical power and were deemed more useful for manufacturing and industry. Tesla produced dynamos for generating currents, motors for producing power, and Tesla coils or transformers for raising or lowering the voltage. May 15, 1888, Tesla present his paper, "A New System of Alternating Current Motors and Transformers" to the AIEE membership.
George Westinghouse dream of sending electricity across America and wanted to harness the power of Nigeria Falls. Westinghouse offer to buy all forty patents on Tesla's AC motor for $60,000, including 150 shares plus $2.50 for each horsepower generated by his inventions. Tesla agreed. Edison was furious when he heard about Westinghouse arrangement with Tesla and started a propaganda war against alternating current that it was dangerous; Edison paid schoolboys to electrocute cats and dogs for 25 cents each; Edison built an electric chair using alternating current to execute William Kemler, who didn't die on the first electrocution; Edison lied to the public that alternate current required higher voltage than direct current. Westinghouse abandoned work on the induction motor and Tesla began traveling.
In 1891, at the three day AIEE symposium, Tesla was invited to speak where he demonstrated use of vacuum tubes, the principles of fluorescent light and neon light. In 1892, Tesla made history by explain the detailed principles of radio transmission and made the first public demonstration. In 1893, the Chicago World Fair changed Tesla's luck, as Westinghouse won the bid using the more efficient alternating current to power the event. 100,000 incandescent lamps illuminated the fairgrounds, the city of lights was Teslas, powered by twelve one-thousand horse power alternating current generators.
In 1894, Tesla began experiment with high frequency electromagnetic radiation. Tesla builds a cone shaped coil that produced a million volts of high-frequency electricity. Tesla planned to transmitted the message from his lab to a steamboat on the Hudson River, but his lab burned down. Edison claimed it was the alternating current motor that had caught fire and destroyed the lab. Telsa restored equipment from Westinghouse but need a lab. Edison had sympathy towards Telsa and allowed his continue his experiment in his lab. In 1895, AC current was transmitted over 500 miles of wire. Alexander Graham Bell, exclaimed, "This long distance transmission of electric power was the most important discovery of electric science that had been made for many years." The phone was ready for long distance usage. 1896, water from the Nigeria Falls powered polyphase alternating current generators. The war of currents was over. "However, the rivalry had taken a serious toll on the Westinghouse Corporation, which had spent millions of dollars trying to prove that the alternating current was superior to direct current. Westinghouse was on the brink of financial collapse." J.P Morgan was interested in finding ways to profit from electric power and he wanted to acquire the Tesla patents. A Westinghouse and General Electric merger was proposed and rejected. Westinghouse approached Tesla reminding him of the $2.50 for every horsepower clause, owning $12 million to Tesla and begged Tesla to save the company by voiding the contract. Tesla asked Westinghouse what he would do if he refused, "In that event you would have to deal with the bankers, for I would no longer have any power in the situation". Westinghouse agreed to proceed with plan to give the polyphase system to the world and Tesla tore up the contract. Tesla would die relatively poor. Eventually Westinghouse would pay for living expenses for Tesla for the rest of his life, in recognition of Tesla's generousity.
Incredibly inacurate book full of factual mistakes Nov 24, 2006
Being one of Tesla's great admirers because he enlightened 20th century and helped all mankind to get rid of hard work (machines now doing lots of work thanks to Tesla), I don't think this grossly inaccurate book makes him or us readers any favors. Factual error on almost every page is really little bit too much - so much that it becomes great fun to read and laugh if only it is not so sad that someone can actually produce such a book. In conclusion tragicomic, pity that it involves Tesla as he and his great work does not deserve such a cheap and illiterate approach. Maybe the author should try with some other characters where accuracy is not so important, like Donald Duck for example.
Good Report of a Life that Should Have Been Better Jul 8, 2005
Nikola Tesla was one of the unsung heros of the early days of electricity. A contemporary of and sometimes associate of Edison, he held a great many pivital patents in the area. Largely ignored during his lifetime, many of his inventions were used by other companies (Westinghouse, Edison, GE, Marconi) without acknowledgement or payment to Tesla. As a result Tesla died alone and broke. Eight months after his death the Supreme Court reviewed his earlier radio patents and ruled that he had indeed been the basic inventer of radio, not Marconi as is still commonly believed.
Tesla is also remembered as a "way out" thinker. He worked for years on the transmission of power through the air rather than using wires - it didn't work. He was trying to build a death ray, the papers of which are held in a classified library at a U.S. defense research agency and are accessible only to members of the intelligence community - no one knows why they remain so closely guarded sixty years later.
Tesla is a person who should be remembered better. This book is a welcome addition to the bookshelf.