Nikola Tesla

Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia, on July 10, 1856. Tesla was one of five children, including siblings Dane, Angelina, Milka, and Marica. Tesla’s interest in electrical invention was spurred by his mother, Djuka Mandic, who invented small household appliances in her spare time while her son was growing up.

In 1884 Tesla arrived in the United States with little more than the clothes on his back and a letter of introduction to famed inventor and business mogul Thomas Edison, whose DC-based electrical works were fast becoming the standard in the country.

Edison hired Tesla, and the two men were soon working tirelessly alongside each other, making improvements to Edison’s inventions.

Several months later, the two parted ways due to a conflicting business-scientific relationship, attributed by historians to their incredibly different personalities: While Edison was a power figure who focused on marketing and financial success, Tesla was commercially out-of-touch and somewhat vulnerable.

Nikola Tesla was an engineer and scientist known for designing the alternating-current (AC) electric system, which is the predominant electrical system used across the world today. He also created the “Tesla coil,” which is still used in radio technology. 

See Other Innovators

Nikola Tesla

Albert Einstein

Catherine Jhonson

Elon Musk