Happy Birthday to the Original Tesla

Tesla_circa_1890_jpegBefore there was Tesla, the bright spark of an electric car company, there was Nikola Tesla, the brilliant Victorian inventor born 157 years ago on this date, who saw his contributions copied and name eclipsed (shown, aged 37, 1893, photo by Napoleon Sarony; source: wikipedia). But posthumously his fame has grown.

When Elon Musk founded his electric car company (shown right, the Tesla Model S) he named it after the Serbian-American man credited with inventing the remote control, neon lighting, electric lighting, even the radio, according to the Huffington Post’s story here; see their list below.

de121120The_Tesla_Model_S_an480x172And here is Musk talking about his electric car on this DnA. And read about DnA’s relaunch, featuring Elon Musk, here.

Inventions Credited to Nikola Tesla

1. The Remote Control

Tesla first demonstrated the remote control in 1898, when he showed off a radio-controlled boat in Madison Square Garden. Tesla reportedly hoped that remote-controlled weapons would someday be used by the government.

2. Robots

Tesla’s remote-controlled boat is considered to be one of the first robots. Tesla has been called “the father of robotics,” so you can thank and/or blame him for pretty much everything from R2D2 to Google’s self-driving cars.

3. Electric Motors

Ever wonder where the electric car company Tesla got it’s name? Nikola Tesla invented the AC motor in 1888. The Tesla Roadster’s motor is a direct descendant of Nikola Tesla’s original invention. Tesla was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for that invention in 1975.

4. The Radio

Tesla’s invention of the radio was hotly debated in in early 20th century. Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have invented the radio, but he actually used technology that Tesla patented to make his first radio transmission in 1901. After much debate, the U.S. Supreme court eventually ruled in Tesla’s favor, recognizing him as the radio’s inventor in 1943. Unfortunately, this occurred months after Tesla’s death.

5. Neon Lighting

Tesla actually created some of the first neon and fluorescent lighting. The neon lights that he exhibited in 1893 look remarkably similar to the ones we see today.