14 Rare Images of the Eccentric Nikola Tesla at Work

4/20/2017



It's been 100 years since renown inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla won the Edison Medal. While he initially rejected the accolade, he ultimately accepted the award for excellence in the field of electrical science. In true eccentric Tesla fashion, he disappeared during the medal ceremony's introduction. He was later found at the library, feeding his pigeons.

Tesla may have been one of the greatest inventors of the Twentieth Century, but he died penniless because as a businessman he failed miserably. As a loner who never married, he had no children to leave his intellectual legacy to. His work in the field of the electric arts was way ahead of its time and predicted (while still influencing) the technology of today.

A child prodigy with an eidetic memory,  the engineer either visualized or invented the modern electric motor, AC current, a steam powered reciprocating electricity generator, wireless transmission of energy, radar technology, fluorescent illumination, and the infamous Tesla coil - which is used in TV sets, radios, and other similar devices.

It's a shame that Nikola Tesla did not receive the level of honor he deserved in life, but we can remember him through these rare photos - several of them featuring his inventions in varying stages. It seems that he often made sure that his work was the main focus of many photos he appears in; cementing the idea that he never entered the science game for fame or fortune, but to give new technology to the world simply for the sake of advancing it.


Year and location unknown.


Tesla demonstrates “wireless” power transmission in his Houston Street laboratory in March 1899.


The first photograph captured by phosphorescent light. The time of exposure, 8 minutes. January 1894.


A glow of nitrogen as Tesla sits in front of his generator, 1899.

Tesla standing in his lab, lighting a vacuum bulb by waves from a distant oscillator.

Mark Twain in Tesla's lab, as the experimenter looks on, 1894.

Tesla peering out of his laboratory in Colorado Springs,1899.

An incandescent lamp lighted by waves transmitted through space - to a coil without a condenser.

Experimenting with high-voltage and high-frequency currents,1899.

Tesla lights a disconnected vacuum bulb (1,500 candle power) by high-frequency currents.

 In 1943, the Supreme Court invalidated Marconi's radio patents because of Tesla's work prior to Marconi.

Tesla's hand, in an image taken by his recently perfected artificial daylight. This is the first photo using the kind of modern light we all utilize today.

Tesla working in his office on 40th Street.

Illustrating how a synchronized circuit is energized by waves transmitted from a distant oscillator.

Tesla in his New York City office with his steam engine design behind him, 1916. The inventor frequented Bryant Park across the street - to feed pigeons.




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