“WIZARD: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF NIKOLA TESLA,” BY MARC J. SEIFER

My journey into the world of “Electrical Science,” started off with me reading the historical fictional novel, “The Last Days Of Night,” by Graham Moore. As I would soon learn the book was much more fiction than actual history and it, more or less, covered Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla, but I did come away with a small understanding of the difference between AC and DC electrical currents and enough interest to pursue the topic further.

I went on to read a number of nonfiction books that covered the history of electrical science which also dealt with the three main people associated with the science: Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla. But, it was not until I read “Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse and the Race to Electrify the World,” by Jill Jonnes that my interest peaked.

So, from there I decided to read biographies dedicated not to the three men, but biographies on each individual, and I started with the most fascinating of them all, Nikola Tesla.

“Wizard: The Life and Times of Nicola Tesla/ Biography Of a Genius,” by Marc J. Seifer was where I started and believe me I was not disappointed. The word ‘genius’ is often thrown around quite easily, but throughout this book I kept going through famous names who I thought were comparable with the genius of Mr. Tesla. After reading two-thirds of the book, I came up with two names who I thought Nikola Tesla was comparable too: Leonard da Vinci and Ben Franklin. And in a strange occurrence, a couple pages further into the book, a number of magazines and distinguished individuals said, “That Nicola Tesla deserved to be included in the select group of da Vinci and Franklin.”

Nicola Tesla was born in Croatia and was of Serbian decent. He was able to speak up to ten different languages, and was profoundly affected by literature and poetry. Aside from being the genius behind the Niagara Falls Project that send electricity over greater areas than ever before imagined and lighting up much of the Chicago World’s Fair in the middle 1890’s, he also invented the first robots, wireless telegraphy, the radio (which was originally attributed to the Italian inventor Marconi who literally stole his ideas and was forced by courts in Europe and America to acknowledge his theft) and laser bean technology which the U.S. government refused to buy the patents for but was quick to get hold of the 87 trunks stored in Manhattan after his death.

Eighty years later, much of that material in those trunks are still considered highly classified and the material and designs have never been seen.

Mr. Tesla lived a life a luxury, residing at the Waldorf Astoria for over twenty years and other famous hotels throughout Manhattan. His only problem was his inability to keep up with the payments at these hotels. His associates included Mark Twain, John Astor, J.P. Morgan, George Westinghouse, the Rockefeller’s, and the list goes on and on. But, it was J.P. Morgan who caused him the most headaches and destroyed his biggest dream The Wardenclyffe Tower that he built on Long Island and promised to deliver wireless telegraphs across the Atlantic.

Tesla, out of generosity, simply gave Morgan 51 per cent of the Wardenclyffe project for his investment, but once Morgan figured out that such a powerful device would cost some of his current businesses to go bankrupt he held back much of the investment and it was never completed and eventually destroyed.

Nicola Tesla was a complicated genius, generous, trusting, and was the first to admit that all inventions were simply the byproduct of ideas and creations that came before. He was a conservationist whose inventions he felt would keep the air and nature clean and would lessen the hard labor of the working class.
In summary Goethe’s lyrics from “Prometheus.”

Cover your heaven, Zeus,
With cloudy vapours,
And test your strength, like a boy
Beheading thistles,
On oaks and mountain peaks;
Yet you must leave
My earth alone,
And my hut you did not build,
And my hearth,
Whose fire
You envy me.

Did you suppose
I should hate life,
Flee into the wilderness,
Because not all
My blossoming dreams bore fruit?

Here I sit, making men
In my own image,
A race that shall be like me,
That shall suffer, weep,
Know joy and delight,
And ignore you
As I do!

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