Nikola Tesla: Electrical Engineering

An individual that made important contributions to the field of electrical engineering was Nikola Tesla. Nikola Tesla was a man of many traits, he was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who discovered, designed, and developed many important inventions, the majority of which were officially patented by other inventors, like the induction motor and dynamos. In the discovery of radar technology, X-ray technology, remote control and the rotating magnetic field Nikola Tesla was initial. Tesla’s contribution with the Tesla coil and the alternating current are what Nikola Tesla is most well-known for. Before immigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for his soon to be enemy, Thomas Edison in New York City at Edison Machine Works, Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering. Tesla set up laboratories and companies in New York to evolve a range of devices, both electrical and mechanical, with the help of partners to finance and market his ideas. George Westinghouse licensed Nikola’s AC induction motor and transformer. He also employed Tesla for a short period of time as a consultant.

Along the way, Tesla was developing inventions he could patent and market. The invention Nikola Tesla is most remembered for is the invention of the alternating current electrical supply. This caused havoc between Tesla and Edison because Edison had developed direct current (or DC), and Tesla had created alternating current (or AC). Edison’s current was being used as the electricity supply in the United States, but there was one problem with direct current. It was not easily converted to higher or lower voltages. Tesla’s solution to this problem was his alternating current because, it can easily be converted to different voltages using a transformer. Edison knew that Tesla’s idea was in fact better and it would solve the conversion problem, but since he did not want to lose his authorities from the patents from his direct current, he started to spread rumors about Nikola Tesla’s alternating current. Edison was saying that Tesla’s current was highly dangerous, and he even electrocuted animals publicly to prove his point.

In 1893 The War of the Currents had reached its peak and started to end. At the Chicago World’s Fair that same year, George Westinghouse outbid General Electric saying that he could light the fair with only $399,000 using Tesla’s alternating current, instead of paying $544,000 to use Edison’s direct current. Also in 1896 with the alternating current in Niagara Falls, it powered all of Buffalo, New York. General Electric had started transitioning to alternating current around this time, even though he previously believed in Edison’s direct current. The feud was over. Tesla’s alternating current had completely demolished Edison’s direct current.

Today, Edison’s direct current is starting to reappear. Although our electricity is mainly run on alternating current, smaller scale objects including LEDs, computers, and even some electric cars are run on direct current. Plus, because Edison’s direct current has more stability than Tesla’s, people are starting to figure out ways that direct current can be converted to the higher and lower voltages that it could not before. Although Nikola Tesla died in New York City in January 1943, the SI unit of magnetic flux density was named the tesla in his honor by the General Conference on Weights and Measures, and he has and will keep on influencing not only me, but many other people for as long as this world is still here.

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