Many people don’t know who Nikola Tesla was – often you usually think of the expensive yet efficient cars!
But the inventor, Tesla, is arguably one of the most influential engineers of today’s modern technology.
Many of his ideas were so advanced for his time, that many people thought his concepts were ridiculous and too crazy, but even so, Tesla pursued his career and continued to prove them wrong.
So check out these 30 electrifying facts about one of the most underrated scientists of all time!
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, during a lightning storm in the Austrian Empire, which today is now Croatia.
He had four other siblings, three younger sisters, and an older brother.
Tesla was able to do calculus in his head by the time he was 17, which lead his teachers to think he was cheating. He finished high school one year early.
When he was 17, he had cholera which left him bedridden for nine months and brought him near death many times.
Originally, his father wanted him to become a priest, but during his sickness, he promised to send Nikola to engineering school if he recovered from the cholera.
During his first year at university on a scholarship, Tesla never missed a lecture while earning the highest possible grades and passed almost twice as many exams as were required.
Towards the end of his second year, Tesla lost his scholarship and became addicted to gambling. Eventually, he gambled away his budget and tuition money. He later gambled back his losses to pay back his family.
Tesla dropped out from school and never graduated from university. He cut off communication with his family to hide his failure, which caused some people to think he was dead.
In 1882, Tesla got a job working for Edison. This job eventually led him to emigrate to the United States in 1884, and later on he became a naturalized citizen in 1891.
When Tesla made the move to New York City from Europe, he arrived with only four cents in his pocket.
Tesla had a photographic memory!
While working for Edison, he was asked to improve a generator design for a large bonus. Upon completion, Edison stole the design and never paid Tesla. Tesla quit shortly after.
Tesla formed the Tesla Electric Company in 1887 with Alfred Brown.
Tesla’s lab caught on fire and burned to the ground, which set back his current projects and ruined early works as well.
Surprisingly enough, Tesla never received a Nobel prize.
Nikola would walk to the park every day to feed the pigeons. At one point, he continued to be visited by an injured pigeon every day, so he spent over $2,000 to build a device that would fix her broken wing and leg.
Every day, Tesla worked from 9 in the morning until at least 6 at night, and he always had dinner at exactly 8:10 P.M. at the same restaurant. He would phone in his dinner order to the same waiter who was also the only one to serve him the food. He usually ate alone, except on rare occasions. Afterward, he would continue working usually until 3 in the morning.
Tesla has about 300 patents worldwide, although many of his inventions were never patented.
Among his inventions was the remote control, wireless telegraphy, neon lamps, and the Tesla coil, which is what modern wireless technology is based on!
Every night, Nikola curled his toes 100 times every night because he claimed that it stimulated his brain cells.
Towards his later years, he became a vegetarian and only lived off of milk, bread, honey, and vegetable juice.
Tesla says he never slept more than 2 hours a night, but he did doze off now and then in order to recharge. On one occasion, he worked for 84 hours without resting.
Tesla and Mark Train were good friends. Tesla took a photo of Twain which was one of the first photos ever lit by phosphorescent light.
Nikola never had any relationships because he didn’t want to distract from his work. He also believed that women were superior to men.
He had an obsession with the number 3. Tesla only lived in hotel rooms that were divisible by 3, and he did everything in sets of 3.
Tesla had a good sense of style, was often very clean-cut and polished, possibly due to the fact that he was a hygiene freak and germaphobic.
Coming from a family of heavy drinkers with long lives, he thought that drinking whiskey every day would help him live to 150.
Once, Tesla paid a hotel bill with a box that he claimed had a death ray inside, so they couldn’t open it or else it would detonate. After his death, they found out there was just a spare electrical part.
Even with all of his contributions to science and technology, Tesla died broke and alone.
Because of his discoveries with wireless technology, it provided the basis for the invention of smartphones later on.