Just a decade ago, when I was in high school, most young people had no clue who Nikola Tesla was. Mind you, as close as ten years ago seems to many of us, technologically we were dinosaurs compared to how technology has progressed since then. I grew up in a world where YouTube hadn’t even been invented yet, internet moved at the speed of a slow moving sloth, social networks were still groups of friends who gathered in malls, and our cell phones where just learning how to flip open, making the transition from brick-sized piece of plastic.
With the advent of technology, as with all progress, came a flood of information, and soon many people who otherwise would have otherwise been content to believe that Thomas Edison invented everything learned soon of a wonderful, strange man named Nikola Tesla. Much to the chagrin of the countless “historians” who would have (for reasons soon to be discussed), left Mr. Tesla buried far outside of history books, my generation discovered a truth much more earth shattering than learning that George Washington did not, in fact, cut down, the cherry tree. We learned of a man who invented wireless technology, free global energy, and hundreds of other incredible inventions – some of which are just now gracing our world… oh, yeah, and he invented them back in the late 1800’s and 1900’s.
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I remember myself being a bit numbed upon my initial Tesla research – how could a man so brilliant, who invented practically every technology that makes our world run, have been so meticulously edited out of history? The ironic thing is that now, as his technology finally comes to life, so does Nikola Tesla’s truth with it. With the advent of communication traveling at the speed of light, so does information, and Tesla is finally (in some ways) finding the recognition he so dearly deserves.
In this series of articles, we will learn about the man, the myth, and the legend. But, for starters, I thought it would be fun to look at some lesser known facts about Tesla published by LiveScience.com (article HERE, written by Denise Chow – Follow her on Twitter @denisechow) in honor of his just passed (what would have been) 158th birthday. So, without further ado, may I present some lesser known facts about Nikola Tesla:
1.) Though Tesla holds 112 lifetime U.S. patents, and is most famous for helping to develop the modern alternating current (AC) system of electric power, the inventor died penniless and in relative obscurity on Jan. 7, 1943, at age 86. [Creative Genius: The World’s Greatest Minds]
2.) Tesla rarely slept, and claimed he never dozed for longer than two hours. The inventor also said he once worked for 84 hours straight without any rest, according to John O’Neil, author of the book “Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla” (Cosimo Inc., 2006).
3.) Later in his life, Tesla frequented parks in New York City, often rescuing injured pigeons and nursing them back to health. A special PBS report on Tesla’s life and legacy claimed that when the inventor took up residence at the Hotel New Yorker, “he had the hotel chef prepare a special mix of seed for his pigeons, which he hoped to sell commercially.”
(Statue of Nikola Tesla)
4.) Tesla was a vegetarian, but eventually limited himself to a peculiar diet of only milk, honey, bread and vegetable juices, according to Marc Seifer, author of “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla,” (Citadel Press, 1996). Later in life, he was consumed by an extreme aversion to germs, and would only eat food that had been boiled, reported PBS.
5.) Tesla allegedly had a photographic memory, and could memorize entire books, according to Margaret Cheney, author of “Tesla: Man Out of Time” (Simon and Schuster, 2001).
6.) According to Seifer’s book “Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla,” the inventor claimed that repeatedly squishing his toes helped to stimulate his brain cells. In fact, Tesla reportedly performed his toe exercises nightly, 100 times for each foot.
7.) Tesla spent decades as a New York City resident, and to commemorate his connection to the Big Apple, the intersection of 40th Street and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan is named “Nikola Tesla Corner.” A plaque honoring Tesla can also be found on the façade of the New Yorker Hotel, where the inventor died.
8.) Tesla died in Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel on Jan. 7, 1943. A death mask was commissioned after a medical examiner inspected the body. The mask is on display in the Nikola Tesla museum in Belgrade, Serbia.
That’s just a bite to hold you over until Part 2 of our series, where we will examine the very curious early life of the great genius, his childhood, and his rivalry with some of the world’s foremost minds.
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