While listing Nikola Tesla’s inventions we felt an overwhelming lack of achievement in our lives, with a heaped topping of awe. Where would things be without these monumental inventions?
Sure, other inventors may have come along and put humanity on the same path over time, but life today could have been very different without Tesla. And it would have been even better if Tesla’s wireless system of electricity had come to fruition.
So, trying to rank inventions from arguably the world’s greatest mind is crazy – but we did it anyway. These are the top 5 Nikola Tesla inventions that forever changed the world:
5. The First Neon Light Sign
We all love neon lights and amazingly Nikola Tesla invented the first sign in the world:
At the 1893 Chicago World Fair Tesla demonstrated the first neon sign, showing how they can be used to create unique designs and even form words.
However, Tesla did not invent neon lights. Instead, his major interest was in demonstrating wireless energy, and his first neon sign was just part of that demonstration.
Imagine, back in 1893, amongst Nikola Tesla’s demonstration, wireless neon light-powered as if by magic.
4. Niagara Falls Transformer House
Nikola tesla’s power generator is today considered to be a standard for hydroelectric power – and undoubtedly one of the most important Nikola Tesla inventions ever.
When a company was selected for building the power generator at Niagara Falls, Thomas Edison emerged as the first choice. However, after carrying out a review of Tesla’s work with Westinghouse Electric, the Niagara Falls commission decided to for Tesla’s method of alternating current power.
In this way, Tesla and George Westinghouse built the first hydroelectric power plant in 1895 at Niagara Falls and began the electrification of the world.
3. Tesla’s AC Induction Motor
Italian Physicist Galileo Ferraris, and Nikola Tesla invented the first alternating current commutator-free three-phase induction motor:
And despite Ferraris presenting his engine first, Tesla filed the first patent in 1885.
Tesla had developed a half horsepower (400 watts) model of this motor by 1888 and then sold the manufacturing rights to Westinghouse for $65,000. George Westinghouse, who was also developing an alternating current power system at the same time, licensed Tesla’s patents.
Tesla invented the induction motor at the age of 21. The existing direct current motors of that time were not only costly but were also complex in design and had a low power output.
Tesla’s motor had three main parts – a rotor, coils, and a stator. This unique new system would convert electrical energy into mechanical energy with the use of electromagnetic induction, which was the magnetic field that was created when an alternating current was being used.
Before this, turning the current into motion had never been achieved before, just one more proof of the genius of Nikola Tesla. This type of motor is still used in hairdryers, vacuums, and many power tools today.
2. The Radio-Controlled Boat – Teleautomaton
Nikola Tesla wanted to showcase the power of his wireless transmission of energy and in 1898, during an electrical exhibition at Madison Square Garden, he demonstrated the world’s first radio-controlled boat:
The sight of a small and odd-looking iron-hulled boat scooting along an indoor pond surprised all the visitors at the exhibition.
Tesla used a small, radio-transmitting control box to maneuver the tiny ship around a pool of water. He was even able to flash the boat’s lights on and off. And this was all done without any visible connection between the controller and the boat. Few people at that time were aware of radio waves, and Tesla was known to electrify the crowds with his creations.
It was called the teleautomaton and it is one of the most important Nikola Tesla inventions, it literally changed the world. The surprising thing was that Tesla was denied a patent for this invention because the patent office did not think that it was a feasible invention. However, the demonstration at the Electrical Exhibition in Madison Square Garden in 1898 proved everyone wrong.
1. Alternating Current
Alternating current is considered to be the most outstanding achievement of Nikola Tesla. He might not have been the inventor of alternating current power, but it was his achievements that made it easy to spread the concept of AC power around the world.
AC power today allows electricity to be transported over long distances in a much more efficient manner. George Westinghouse purchased Tesla’s AC patents and used them to win the bid for lighting the Chicago World Fair.
Westinghouse and Tesla won the contract and then went on to provide power for $150,000, an amount which was far less than what it would have cost to provide power using direct current at that time.