Nikola Tesla; the father of modern day electricity, a genius and visionary was of Serbian American origins born in 10 July 1856 and died in 78 January 1943 at the age of 86. His sheer brilliance and beautiful mind led to the first invention of what is known today as the Alternating Current (AC) electricity system of generation and transmission (Carlson). Nikola Tesla’s ambitions began when he took interest in the study of electricity after he witnessed firsthand how dynamos can be used to generate electricity by rotating magnetic fields in induction motors which ultimately established his reputation as the man who shook the foundation of civilization and made the world a brighter place, shining with technological brilliance to generations beyond. Nikola Tesla’s reputation are greatly attributed to a variety of sources and materials like the written books and documentaries detailing his extraordinary life as a genius and his technological breakthrough in the electrical current systems. For instance, the documentary film of Nikola Tesla: The Genius Who Lit the World produced by the Tesla Memorial Society and Museum in Belgrade or the written books such as Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J.O’Neill and Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius by Marc Seifer (Vujovic). In establishing a particular reputation, one would need to dive deeper in the life of historical and contemporary figures – in this case Nikola Tesla – in order to fully grasp the issues and justifications for establishing said reputations. But again in Tesla’s case, one thing is for certain: Nikola Tesla’s reputations are no doubt closely linked with his rival and former boss, Thomas Edison. While the two stars gained their fame and reputation as the inventors of modern electric technology, Tesla’s reputation always seem to have fallen short when compared to Edison’s. Many factors contributed to this fact; unlike Nikola Tesla he was not only a man of modern day science but also a worthy businessman and a marketing force in the eyes of the public. This charismatic business image of Edison contributed vastly in establishing him as the inventor of modern electricity in the public’s view, most notably the invention of the light bulb and the Direct Current (DC) motor systems. This rivalry reputation between the two started with their clash in their positions when Thomas Edison hired Nikola Tesla in his company, the Continental Edison Company and their different take on achieving the most productive and efficient method in carrying out a successful electric current system. Even though both shared a common goal that would benefit mankind alike despite the difference in theories and practices, Nikola Tesla’s pride made him quit working for Thomas Edison’s company but it is arguable that Edison’s ego is also at fault as he failed to admit Tesla’s dedication and incredible work, going as far as to disregard his work as nothing more than a joke. Additionally, Nikola Tesla’s exceptional intellect and wit granted him the title of a wizard, explained best by his showy and daring performance among the crowds, granting him a celebrity-like status during his lifetime. But it is important to note that Nikola Tesla’s reputation as a wizard, or better yet as a lost or forgotten wizard has been acknowledged by historians and the public eyes only in recent times. The notion of his wizard-like reputation carried a negative connotation in his lifetime. He was regarded by many as a mad scientist rather than a brilliant engineer or a wizard due to his insane and impossible claims of building death-rays, creating wireless signals that will revolutionize the world and the dark and gloomy picture of him surrounded by waves of electricity at night. It was only in the last two decades where Nikola Tesla finally gained the reputation he deserves – rightly so - not only as a legendary pioneer in his inventions and achievements...
Bibliography: - Carlson, W. Bernard. Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2013.
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