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Profile of the Day: Nikola Tesla

Happy birthday to Nikola Tesla! Today marks what would have been the inventor’s 163rd birthday.

Profile of the Day: Nikola Tesla

Image: Nikola Tesla / Library of Congress

Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in the village of Smiljan in the Austrian Empire (modern-day Croatia) to Serbian parents. His father and his maternal grandfather were Orthodox priests. Although his father wished for him to also enter the priesthood, Tesla was firmly interested in the sciences.

After arriving in American in 1884, Tesla worked briefly as an engineer for Thomas Edison to redesign Edison’s direct current generators. According to Tesla, Edison offered to pay him $50,000 if he could successfully improve the DC generator’s efficiency. However, once he completed the task and asked for his payment, Edison claimed he was only joking and offered him a raise. Tesla immediately resigned.

Venturing out on his own, Tesla eventually formed the Tesla Electric Company, where he would develop some of his greatest inventions and pave the way for modern alternating current (AC) electricity. His invention of the “Tesla coil” laid the foundations of wireless technologies. Tesla was also a pioneer in the discovery of x-ray technology.

Sadly, Tesla never achieved financial success during his lifetime. He died a recluse in his room at the New Yorker Hotel on January 7, 1943.

How are you related to Nikola Tesla? Explore his family tree and discover your connection to the prolific inventor!

View Nikola Tesla’s Geni Profile


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