History has proven one of the greatest scientists right, even if it is decades behind schedule. It is no coincidence that one of the main car manufacturers today bears the name Nikola Tesla. One of the most famous images shows this great scientist surrounded by lightning bolts, purple discharges, but what to untrained eyes may seem to be the quirks of an engineer were the foundations of the future. Most people attribute the discovery of AC to Tesla, but his studies went much further, studying most of the most advanced technologies we have today: almost a century in advance.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of Nikola Tesla’s inventions with regard to his 272 patents in 25 countries, including 112 patents for the United States alone.
#1. Tesla coil
image credt: OneTesla/Wikimedia
Can you imagine the amazement of recreating in a room very similar discharges to lightning strikes in the atmosphere? That’s what Tesla did when he invented his coil. Compared to traditional coils, the gain of which is limited by the number of coils, the Tesla coil has the ability to achieve a much higher voltage gain. This type of device allows electrical energy to be transferred to the environment without wires.
#2. Induction motor
image credit: Ctac/Wikimedia
One of his most important inventions is the induction motor. Initially, he only developed the concept of what is also known as an asynchronous motor, but then, in 1883, he built a prototype that enabled him to design the first hydroelectric power station at Niagara Falls .
It is no coincidence that the induction motor invented by Nikola Tesla is the basis of how Elon Musk’s Tesla cars work .
#3. Radio control
image credit: Wikimedia
In 1898, Tesla amazed the public in the gardens of Madison Square with a boat controlled by remote control . Tesla said the demonstration elicited astonishment greater than any of his other inventions.
The story goes that Tesla mocked the crowd by telling people that they could control the movements of a boat just by shouting orders. So, while people were shouting “Right!”, “Left!”, “Stop!”, No one realized that he was actually guiding him with the help of remote control . Back then, no one could imagine controlling an object from a distance, whereas today it goes without saying: we turn on the television, open a gate, turn on the air conditioner …
#4. Amplifier transmitter
image credit: Wikimedia
From 1899 to 1900, Tesla made a larger version of his coil, which he called the amplifier transmitter. The huge coil measured 15.5 meters in diameter and could reach a voltage of 12 million volts. Tesla also used this invention to achieve wireless transmission of electricity: with this new version of the coil, in fact, the inventor was able to light three incandescent bulbs located 30 meters away.
#5. Hydroelectric power
image credit: pixabay
The construction of a hydroelectric power station at Niagara Falls officially marks the victory of alternating current, designed by Tesla, over direct current, for both domestic and industrial use. History has proven the scientist who has worked on the concept of alternating current all his life right, openly fighting other famous scientists, such as Thomas Edison.
Alternating current was able to transmit electrical energy over distances of up to hundreds of kilometers, and it was this concept that enabled Tesla to design the first AC hydroelectric power station near Niagara Falls.
#6. Luminescent lamps
image credit: Prof. Feynman/Twitter
In a world lit almost entirely by incandescent lamps, Tesla introduced another type of lamp whose efficiency was much higher. Its luminescent lights are actually the ancestors of modern neon lights, those used for billboards – and more. Luminescent lamps contain a noble gas, such as neon or argon, and a small amount of mercury. As current passes through the bulb of the lamp, the noble gas produces ultraviolet radiation which stimulates the fluorescent material that covers the interior walls of the bulb, thereby producing light.
#7. Turbine Tesla
image credit: Ivar van Wooning/Wikimedia
Contrary to popular belief, the Tesla turbine is a bladeless turbine. It is precisely this aspect that makes it innovative, while being the most compact and simplest model of turbine that exists, as Tesla himself said. The turbine is made up of three parts, parallel discs compacted together, a central shaft and a fluid. Using a physical principle, the turbine can generate energy. Tesla notably proposed to apply the principles of its turbine to the exploitation of geothermal energy .
Nikola Tesla’s life has passed at the rate of great discoveries and great disappointments: in his time, no one believed in his patents, despite his demonstrations. On the verge of the Nobel Prize, he could not hold it in his hands due to tensions with his great rival, Thomas Edison, who denigrated his alternating current in favor of direct current. Today, however, the visionary greatness of Nikola Tesla is no longer in doubt .