Nikola Tesla, The Enabler Of Suburbia Dusko Jocic (June 20th, 2006)
Nicola Tesla was a Serbian inventor and a key man responsible for todays suburban way of life. He created our system of AC Power generation and much of todays power grid relys on his inventions’ ability to transfer power over great distances. This invention is no less then the Brushless Polyphase Alternating Current Engine. Early industrial cities were limited in size because direct current power needed to be generated 2 miles or less from a factory or home. But Teslas’ invention allowed energy to flow anywhere and everywhere. The suburbia of today would probably have little or no electricity without Tesla. Why would you drive a car to a place that doesn’t have electricity? You probably wouldn’t and instead you would stay in walkable urban centers or dense cities with DC power plants. Tesla allowed light rail to go from the city to suburbia. Before him, electric streetcars were inefficient and dangerous. The Brooklyn Dodgers were named after people dodging electrical discharges caused by DC powered trollies. Early street cars were also limited in the distance they could travel.
Tesla built the first hydro electric generating station in the world and it still runs today at Niagara Falls.
His system struggled against Thomas Edisons’ DC Generating system. The AC/DC wars between Edison And Tesla ended with Tesla winning and Edison being forced to merge his company with General Electric to keep himself from bankruptcy. Tesla licensed his AC electrical system for a heavy price that many were unable to pay. So he tore up his patents for the alternating current motor as a gift of cheap energy to the world. If he hadn’t
energy generation and transmition would be 5 to 10 times more expensive. He could have been the world’s first
billionaire instead he gave the world a great gift wrapped in potential disaster.
Edisons’ DC transmission system is only affordable by the wealthy therefore todays’ energy gluttonous society
would not have been possible. If Edison had won the AC/DC war the world would be a much different place.
And if Tesla was greedy and had kept recieving royalties for his invention the world would be in a better
place with regards to the looming energy crisis. Tesla continued to work on power systems and he even proposed
a wireless energy distribution system powered by energy created in the atmosphere. In Colorado Springs he lit
lightbulbs remotely and wanted to create a system of free energy for the world. But the AC generation
infrastructure had been recently built and Teslas’ backers saw what he was up to and pulled the plug on his
research and development. Investors had put considerable funds in building the AC transmition system and didn’t
want their investment to fall through. Economics often wins out over great ideas.
Tesla did succeed however in transmitting energy wirelessly through the ground hundreds of miles away. He would
place light bulbs into the ground and transmit energy to them from the Earth. He used the energy of lightning
hitting the earth to provide the power. Lightning is constantly hitting the Earth and he harnessed that power.
It’s unfortunated that todays’ power doesn’t come from such a free and abundent source.
Tesla went on to discover Radio but Marconi is often falsely credited for an invention first tested and designed
by Nicola Tesla. Tesla held over 700 patents. He invented remote control, radio and even created the tesla coil which is also used today as a spark plug. Without this invention car ignition would be much more difficult and cars
might not be as prevelent in our man made landscapes. July 9th, 2006 was Tesla’s 150th birthday and Niagara Falls has unveiled his statue overlooking the falls. He recieves proper recognition for his accomplishments only as the world begins to unravel and peak.