Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Tesla, the true inventor of radio


Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) is said to have invented the 20th century. We owe him the coils for the alternating current electric generator, the spark plugs, the alternator, the remote control and many other discoveries that have made our lives easier. However, the general public is unaware of this Croatian genius born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in July 1856, since what was brilliant was also impractical and many of his inventions ended up filling the list of other less scrupulous subjects. Perhaps one of the most striking cases is that of the radio.

Tesla used his alternating current technology to invent, in 1895, the radio transmission system. However, the Italian Guillermo Marconi used the oscillator developed by Tesla and 17 other Croatian patents to transmit signals across the ocean in 1901, patent the invention in 1904 and, to finish off history, win the Nobel Prize in 1909. Marconi He did not mention or acknowledge the role that Tesla had indirectly played in his discovery and without which it probably would not have been possible. In 1943, the same year as Tesla's death, the United States Supreme Court recognized Tesla's merit and returned the patent to him.

As a child he had a talent for mathematics and a prodigious memory. It is said that he did not need to make plans, as he kept everything in his head, and that he only slept three hours a day. He studied engineering in Vienna and Prague, worked in various European electrical companies, and in 1884, at the age of 28, he moved to New York. In the big city he would go to work under the orders of Thomas Alva Edison, with whom he disputed the 'War of the Currents' because Edison defended the use of standard direct current for the lighting of cities and Tesla opted for alternating, that it would end up showing itself better and imposing itself.

The purely financial interests of Edison made him reject the idea of ​​Tesla and try to sabotage and ridicule him, so the Croatian inventor ended up resigning and joining the Westinghouse company, which bought his patents and installed a generator in Niagara Falls (the first hydroelectric power station) with which he saved his economy. The funny thing is that Tesla, in another of his impractical gestures, waived the royalties as a thank you to the company and went bankrupt.

In the later years he became darker and more eccentric. Tesla lived in hotels that he left when he couldn't pay the bill and embarked on such strange projects as lighting up part of the Sahara desert for Martians to see or building the Wardenclyffe Tower or Tesla Tower. This imposing structure would serve to materialize Tesla's dream and be able to transmit free energy through the air, without cables, taking advantage of the conductivity of the ionosphere. He never got there and died poor and alone, accompanied only by the pigeons he fed.

After his death, a campaign of forced oblivion took place so that his figure and achievements were hidden. Many of his inventions and discoveries began to be associated with names that did not correspond instead of Tesla's and even the FBI went so far as to requisition most of the documents of the Croatian inventor, whose family had to recover after long trials. The little affection that the academic community felt for Tesla and the clash of interests with the electricity companies for his idea of ​​creating a free energy system caused a temporary oblivion that has been disappearing in recent years, returning to Nikola Tesla the merit and the place he deserves in history.

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