Mr. Tesla was six feet, six inches tall. Behaviors included: columbiphilia, kakiphobia, scotophilia, pathophobia, spherophobia, and triphilia. Sartorially, he was fond of wearing a black Prince Albert coat, a derby hat, and white silk handkerchiefs. He hated Marconi and was skilled in billiards.

In 1879 Tesla briefly attended the University of Prague. In 1881 he worked for a phone company in Budapest. In 1882 he worked as at the Continental Edison Company and in 1884 he went to the United States. Many of his patents were developed by 1888 and most if not all of the rights to those patents were bought by Mr. George Westinghouse for $60,000. Tesla became an American citizen in 1891, which was the same year that he applied for 40 U.S. patents.

While testing wireless communication devices at his Colorado Springs laboratory, Tesla claimed that he had received messages from Mars via a radio receiver. In 1899-ish he produced artifical lightning 135 feet in length. He couldn't touch other peoples' hair and was repulsed by pearls. He read all 100 volumes of Voltaire.

Tesla was a Serbian who emigrated to the U.S. His inventions include: a telephone repeater, rotating magnetic field principle, polyphase alternating-current system, induction motor, alternating-current power transmission, Tesla coil transformer, wireless communication, radio, fluorescent lights.

The Complete Nikola Tesla U.S. Patent collection can be found at and is a copyrighted site.

"Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity."

Nikola Tesla : Autobiography

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6


Editors Note, August 28, 1995

This text has been entered by John R.H. Penner from a small booklet found in a used bookstore for $2.50. The only form of date identification is the name of the original purchaser, Arthua Daine (?), dated April 29, 1978.

The book appears to be considerably older, made with typewriters, and then photocopied and stapled. The only other significant features of the booklet is that it contains four photocopied photographs of Tesla, and was originally forty pages long. I must apologise for the quality of the scans, but the originals were of very poor quality, and this is the best that could be obtained after touching-up in Photoshop.

The book has no Copyright identification, nor any means of contacting the publishers. As far as I am aware, this autobiography is no longer available in printed form anywhere.

In the interest of making this important text available to the wider public, I have retyped the entire text word-for-word as it originally appears into this electronic format. The only words which appear in this file, that are not in the original book are this Editors Note, and the Introduction. I have exactly maintained page numbers as they appear in the original Ð including the somewhat odd artifact of Chapter 1 starting on page two.

If anyone knows how to reach the original publisher, please contact me at the below address, so proper credit may be given where it is due.

John Roland Hans Penner 464 Scott Street St. Catharines, Ontario L2M 3W7, Canada Phone: 905.646.3551 eMail:

This file may be freely redistributed as long as it's content is not modified in any way. It may not be sold or published for profit unless specifically authorised prior to publication by the express permission of Kolmogorov- Smirnov Publishing, or John R.H. Penner. Unless otherwise notified, this work is Copyright ©1995 by John R.H. Penner.

---- This AUTOBIOGRAPHY is released to remedy this situation, and to fill this "BLACK HOLE" in information space.

©Kolmogorov- Smirnov Publishing.

A Serbian scientist born in Lika, Croatia. Got higher education in Prague, Czech Republic. Many of his inventions were stolen by Thomas Alva Edison. When Westinghouse was doing bad, he released the company of paying any royalty to him. Invented the Alternating Current (AC) generator, the Tesla coil, a crude radar, and many other things (including a Tesla Tower, often seen in Command and Conquer computer game). Became seriously mentally ill (paranoid schizophrenia).
Due mainly to the paranoid schizophrenia he picked up in his late thirties, he was completely ignored in the scientific circles. Many years later, a magnetic unit tesla was given name in his honor. Interestingly enough, many books still refuse to use this unit.

Died ill, ridiculed and completely poor in Croatia in 1943.

Tesla invented the radio and alternating current, in addition to a multitude of other toys...

He would place an oscillator on a steel bar until the oscillator found the resonant frequency of the steel. The bar would actually contort and writhe BEFORE it broke in a manner akin to shattering.

He found the resonant frequency of the earth and said he could destroy us all in 6 weeks. But he was a chill guy (and good friends with mark twain and JP morgan, how many can claim that?) so he stuck to the inanimate. I like to think of society as a greater organism, in the way that our cells are alive and yet make up ourselves. If you fly in an airplane at night you get the idea, seeing these HUGE arterial highways connecting so many organs of the city. The point is, that our hearts beat like our homes, for every outlet of the electrical grid in your town is resonating at 60 hertz. In fact, since grids are synchronized, the entire country is resonating like thist.

Nikola Tesla: Person of the Century

By: Allen Bouchard
For: Edwin P. Calouro, M.A.
In: Hist 161
On: 20 December 2003

Nikola Tesla is a name that not many Americans know; however, we all benefit from his inventions every time we turn on a fluorescent light, listen to the radio, or watch a television. Tesla was born in Croatia on 10 July 18561. His father was a Serbia Eastern Orthodox Church priest and his mother came from a Serbian family known for making craft tools. As he was born during a summer lightning storm, his mother said that he would be a child “of light.”2 Whether her proclamation was prophetic or influential we will never know; however, the production and use of electricity fascinated Tesla throughout his life.

Tesla held four Baccalaureate degrees from the Austrian Polytechnic Institute. The first of these degrees was Physics, the second in Mathematics, and the final two in Engineering – one for Mechanical Engineering and the other for Electrical Engineering. He also received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Prague. He spoke seven languages fluently and had learned the majority of them by the age of ten.3

After working for the Continental Edison Company in Paris, France for two years, he moved to the United States with a letter of recommendation from his boss. This got him a job with Thomas Edison in New York City. Edison offered Tesla $50,000 to improve his inferior direct current power generators.4 After spending a year on the project, Tesla requested the payment from Edison, who rebuffed the request. This prompted Tesla’s departure from the Edison Company.

Tesla attempted to go into business for himself. He started Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing in 1886. However, the company did not last long as Tesla planned to use an alternating current motor he had originally developed in 1882. His investors did not approve of the plan and they forced Tesla to leave the company.

In 1888, he was able to present a one-fifth horsepower induction motor to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. The reactions were not pleasant. Many electrical engineers believed that the reversing current of the AC signal would make the motor unstable and cause it to break down. Tesla did have one influential and, more importantly, wealthy supporter in George Westinghouse. After listening to Tesla’s suggestion of a polyphase AC system, Westinghouse signed a contract with Tesla of “$2.50 for each kilowatt of AC electricity sold”5 by the Westinghouse Company.

The big break for alternating current came at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. An entire building was dedicated to electrical exhibits. The Edison-backed General Electric Company proposed a one million-dollar contract to power the electricity exhibits. Westinghouse offered to provide the more efficient high-frequency high-voltage AC power at half the cost. Tesla also used the event to display his innovations in light. Among these were the neon light tube and a phosphorescent light, which would eventually lead to flourescent lights.

This was just one of the many battles in the War of Currents. Edison, realizing that he could win on neither economic nor efficiency issues, started a campaign of fear. He had one of his employees, Harold Brown, use the AC patents to create an instrument of death: the electric chair. The electric chair was an attempt by Edison to create public association of alternating current with death. The New York State Prison system adopted the device in 1888 and first put it to use on a human in 1890.6

The final blow to Edison’s direct current was the Niagara Falls hydroelectric generator. Tesla, who had recently developed a method of transmitting power over long distances, built the hydroelectric plant in collaboration with Westinghouse, who had previously bought Tesla’s AC transformer and polyphase current patents. Lord Kelvin, who had once advocated direct current, headed the commission that awarded the contract. The facility was five years in the making.

Tesla began to experiment with x-ray in 1897. Although he was not the first to do this, he was the first to develop a single-electrode X-ray tube with no target electrode.7 He was the first to notice the hazards of X-rays and to alert others of this issue.

In 1902, Tesla received the first radio patent. However, the fame of the radio was stolen from him when Guglielmo Marconi began to popularize the technology and Tesla failed to legally fight Marconi’s patent violations. Consequently, Marconi received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics and a place in the history books as the inventor of radio. It was not until 1943, mere months after Tesla’s death, that the United States Supreme Court came to the conclusion that Marconi had infringed Tesla’s patents.

Tesla was also the first to detect extraterrestrial radio waves. He picked up these signals on the equipment in his laboratory in Colorado. The scientific community met his 1899 announcement of this discovery with ridicule, as none believed radio waves could originate in the cosmos. However, we now accept the existence of cosmic radio waves as fact and use this knowledge to further our understanding of the universe.8

Tesla began to look at military applications of his ideas. He developed and patented a remote-controlled boat, hoping that the military would want to use the technology for such things as guided torpedoes. The military was not impressed and did not adopt the technology. Tesla’s first military contract was for turbines for the German navy. He backed out of the contract when the US entered the World War I. In 1914, Tesla wrote to Woodrow WIlson revealing that he had invented a Death Ray. The Death Ray is the cause of much speculation. Tesla had supposedly believed that the one time he tested was the cause of the explosion at Tunguska, Siberia; however, most accredit the incident to a cosmological event.

Tesla did have two practical ideas for military application which are still in use today. The more practical of the two is RADAR. He first published the foundations in 1917 and he proposed using radio waves to detect the speed and position of distant objects, specifically submarines. It turned out that it was not practical for detection of submarines, but it became much more usable when aircraft came into frequent use. His final patent was also of practical military use: a VTOL system for aircraft. The military, afraid of losing the ability of putting aircraft in the sky should enemy bombers take out a runway, more readily accepted this idea than his previous proposals. The two known VTOL aircraft in existence today are the Boeing V-22 Osprey, which uses rotors, and the British Airways AV-8B Harrier, which uses jets.9

Without Nikola Tesla, the world would be without inexpensive, efficient electricity: this alone would make him the Man of the Century. However, he has given us so many other gifts, and we have refused more than he has given us, that it is impossible to disregard his contributions. It is no wonder that he is called “The Man Who Invented the Modern World”10 and a “Man Out Of Time.”11

Word Count: 1,162

1 “Nikola Tesla”, Wikipedia,
2 Ibid.
3 “Nikola Tesla - Unsung Prophet of Electrical Age”[sic],,
4 “Nikola Tesla”, Wikipedia,
5 “Nikola Tesla - Unsung Prophet of Electrical Age”[sic],,
6 “Electric Chair”, Wikipedia,
7 “Nikola Tesla”, Wikipedia,
8 “Nikola Tesla and the Exploration of Cosmos”[sic], Wikipedia,
9 “Vertical take-off and landing”, Wikipedia,
10 The Man Who Invented the Modern World, Robert Lomas, Headling Book Publishing, 1999
11 Tesla, Man Out Of Time, Margaret Cheney, Touchstone Books, 2001

Nikola Tesla -- Rockefeller Center

There is no monument here.
His birds spiral to the sky.

In the autumnal gloom,

Wink on lamps the color of lightning.

From taxi doors
Blare directions, voices
Music loud, happy, strong

As a city's energy transforms the night.

There is no monument here.

"Si monumentum requiris, circumspice."

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