NIKOLA TESLA (1856-1943)

Nikola Tesla was born in the village of Smiljan, near Gospic in Lika, in 1856. His father, Milutin Tesla, was a Greek-Orthodox priest, born in the village of Raduce in Lika. Tesla's mother Nikolina, nee Mandic, was born in Gracac and she too came from an old clerical family. Nikola's father died while he was still a student, while his mother lived to enjoy to the full the worldwide fame of her son.

Nikola went to a German primary school in Smiljan. In Gospic he finished primary school and started his grammar school education, which he completed in Rakovac, near Karlovac. As a child, Nikola was friendly, he played with other children, caught birds, read, but he was never idle. He was very popular with his friends. After he had finished grammar school, Nikola had a two-year pause in his education, because his family was in mourning over his elder brother. Then, in spite of his parents' insistence that he should be a priest, Nikola went on to study technical science in Gratz and Prague. When his father died, while he was at the last year of his studies, his uncle Petar Mandic supported him financially.

After he had graduated, Nikola started working with a postal telephone company, installing telephones at people's homes. Then he worked in Budapest for a while, but he soon went to Paris to work in Edison's company. After he had made some changes on Edison's dynamo-machines, Tesla went to America and entered Edison's laboratory. He worked with Edison for a year and a half, and then he started work in his own laboratory in New York. Tesla first returned to Europe in 1889, when he visited the Paris exhibition with his uncle Petar, and for the second time in 1892, when he was invited by the English Academy of Science and the English Society of Electrical Engineers to give a lecture about his latest work. The motive for the invitation was Tesla's lecture, held on 8th of May, 1891, before the American Society of Electrical Engineers, which had attracted enormous attention. Nikola gave two lectures in London, on February the 3rd and the 4th. Both lectures were held in Faraday's laboratory, which was a great honour. The English watched Tesla's experiments with admiration, and The Times published an enthusiastic article about the lecture.

Tesla in front of his coils
Tesla's experiments in Colorado Springs


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