Top 12 Fascinating Inventions of Nikola Tesla

By Susan Dorling | 2020 Guide

Nikola Tesla, a name that is loved and known by millions of people even today. But why was Tesla famous? What made him so special?

It couldn’t be just the fact that he was one of the greatest physicists and inventors of his time. Though it may still be a reason it’s not the sole reason for Tesla’s popularity. According to this study, Tesla is recognized in the world of science because of his contributions to discovering electricity as we know it.

Nikola Tesla was born in Serbia which is modern-day Croatia. Tesla was a remarkable child from a very early age because of his ability to perform brilliantly in academics. He had a photographic memory which came of great advantage to him.

The True Story of Nikola Tesla [Pt.1]
(Video)

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He came from a family where it was a tradition for the boys to join the army but things worked out for Tesla because of a disease. Yes, you read it correctly. Nikola contracted Cholera disease after passing high school at the age of 17 which is another remarkable achievement by him.

Tesla was bedridden for almost nine months and the doctors predicted that he wouldn’t be able to live any longer. Thinking of this as the last moments of his life, Tesla requested his father to let him join an engineering college and that’s how he landed in the Graz University of Technology.

Tesla was very dedicated towards his studies and maintained his reputation of being an outstanding student but sadly that didn’t stay for long as he gambled away his entire tuition fee and failed his last semester. Tesla didn’t graduate out of college but what happened after that is an inspiration for many people even today.

From working for $2 a day to survive to be one of the most famous personalities of the 19th century, Tesla has remarkable inventions in his pockets mentioned below.

The True Story of Nikola Tesla [Pt.2]
(Video)

Click to Play.

Here is a list of 12 Remarkable Inventions of Nikola Tesla that changed the world today

12. Tesla Coil

Tesla coil was a revolutionary invention of Nikola Tesla. It was invented in 1891 and proved to be a milestone in the field of mechanics.

This device works as a transformer. A transformer that is capable of producing a very high voltage at low current and this device works on the principle of resonance and electromagnetic induction.

Keep in mind that current is the flow of electrons while voltage is what causes these electrons to flow. So, it is indeed quite remarkable that Tesla was able to create a device that works at a low current and produces high voltage.

Working of a Tesla Coil: For understanding how a Tesla coil works, all you need to understand is the principle of electromagnetic induction. It consists of two coils; primary and secondary coil. What happens is that a small amount of current is passed through the primary coil which creates a magnetic field and in return, the magnetic field generates energy to move electrons at a faster speed by passing through secondary coil and thus a high voltage of current is created. The most popular design of a Tesla coil includes primary and secondary coils, a capacitor and a transformer. According to sources, this coil could produce 100000 volts.

It was Tesla’s dream to make the lives of other people easier by producing wireless electricity and he achieved it by inventing this device.

11. Shadowgraphs

A shadowgraph is as simple as the name suggests. It uses the shadow of objects to reveal things that can’t be seen with the naked eye and has proved to be very helpful and reliable in optical sciences.

In simple words, a shadowgraph is the image of X-rays. Though hard to believe, Nikola Tesla indeed invented this device by accident. All of it started when Tesla’s photographic plates in his lab began to get damaged and he couldn’t figure out why.

Turns out, the reason behind this was his custom built vacuum tube which was one of the first practical applications or devices of taking an X-ray. He further went on to describe the harmful effects this device can have.

It was Tesla who discovered the medical benefits of this device and used it to take a picture of his feet. Although, it was Tesla who initially used a shadowgraph the reason why this isn’t as famous as the others are because Tesla’s laboratory was ruined due to a fire.

How it Works? The vacuum tube contained fast-flowing electrons and when these electrons bumped into each other, a ray from anode could penetrate nearby objects which are known as X-rays.

Although X-rays are very safe, there is always the risk of exposure to radiation to some extent and that’s why Tesla proposed a distance of at least 8 feet.    

10. Teleforce

Teleforce is war machinery as described by Nikola Tesla n 1934 in one of the public statements he gave.

Popularly known as “death ray” at that time, this device created fear among people as the second world war was about to happen. The device was called death ray mainly because the device would use electricity as a power source to bomb the target 200 miles away.

Tesla claimed that this machinery will end the war at once by making armies drop dead in their tracks. Although this device was never made as it posed a threat to world peace, Tesla tried to get funding from various sources and was offered a huge sum of money by the UN to trade all details about it.

How it Works? The main idea was to focus all energy in the air at one point instead of keeping it in a vacuum. It involved using electromagnetic waves to send over a long distance in the form of a ray that would be thinner than air.

Tesla claims that he made the device in his laboratory and experimented on it which turned out to be successful but no one knows about the remains of the device.  

9. Violet Ray Device

A violet ray device is used by doctors even today. Surprisingly, a lot of Tesla’s inventions have helped the healthcare department in more than one way. This device was created by Tesla after 1900 but the design of this apparatus and all the possible experimentation was carried out before 1900.

The majority of these experiments were conducted by Tesla on himself to see if he was healed or not and it worked. But, after a death due to seizure by this device FDA banned it and considered it to be unsafe.

This is when another person comes into the picture. Edgar Cayce lost his voice in 1902 and used this device, it is known that out of 1200 readings, 900 were related to Violet ray and this helped him speak again.

How it Works? To put it simply, this device is a Tesla coil with an electrode at one end. It uses argon ray which oxidizes the toxins present in our body and makes the healing process faster. Even today, this device is used in a lot of skin and hair care treatments and therapies.

8. Tesla Turbine

The Tesla Turbine was a bladeless Turbine developed in the year 1904. The device was not marketed properly and due to politics, failed in the market at that time. The design was much simpler as compared to that of commonly used designs that used blades with less cost.

According to Tesla, this was his best invention. A turbine is anything that uses fluids to move the rotor (blades or wheel) which in turn generates energy. Mainly, this energy is in the form of electricity.

There are several studies that Tesla Turbine could have worked phenomenally in that era but not in this era.

A normal turbine works when the rotor moves the blades but in the Tesla Turbine, there are no blades.

How It Works? A Tesla Turbine is difficult to explain in simple works. It works on the principle of sheer force, boundary layer phenomenon. What happens is that when the heavy jet of fluid is passed through the space between the two discs, it makes the discs of the Tesla Turbine move and creates energy.

Notably, a Tesla Turbine can work with any fluid and even air. The basic design remains the same.

7. Magnifying Transmitter

The magnifying transmitter was invented by Nikola Tesla in 1902 to supply wireless electricity. Sounds cool, no?  It truly would have been wonderful is this device was made and worked as Tesla described it.

There would be no transformers with so many wires supplying electricity to each household. The reason why Tesla couldn’t build this world wireless system is because of zero funds and the project was shut down in 1906.

The modern-day science rejects the idea of such a system but how does a magnifying transmitter work?

How it Works? A magnifying transmitter is a very complicated invention but works on the principle of magnetic induction. The general idea of how this device works can be explained by considering a Tesla coil and a simple light bulb. If you bring a light bulb closer to a Tesla coil, you will see that it will light up as electrons inside Tesla’s coil oscillate, it causes the nearby bulb’s electrons to oscillate as well. We can say that this device worked based on resonance.    

6. Tesla Radio

Everyone knows that Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio but some people believe that Marconi, like Thomas Edison, stole the idea of Tesla and Tesla never got the credit for his invention.

But, this was not the truth. Tesla started working on his radio in 1895 and was ready to test it out by transmitting a signal to New York but Tesla’s lab was destroyed due to a fire accident. The reason why Marconi succeeded is because of the strong influential background that caused big investors liked Edison to put his trust in Marconi and he got the patent to invent the radio.

Due to unfortunate events and Tesla’s bad luck, he couldn’t invent the radio but he was the person who thought of building this wireless system to transmit signals initially.

How it Works? The basis of this device was Tesla’s other invention “Tesla Coil”. Tesla discovered that when two the device and the coil were tuned at the same frequency, energy in the form of sound waves could be transferred from one place to another.

5. Wireless Communication Devices

The radio and Wireless Transmitter were those rare devices invented by Tesla that comes under the category of wireless communication. But, apart from these devices, Tesla had a dream. The dream that one-day people would be able to communicate with each other or energy in the form of electricity could be transferred without the usage of wires.

Tesla talked about these ideas in the 20th century which was not long ago. Wireless Telegraphy and remote control are other examples of wireless communication devices invented by Tesla.

Tesla worked on Wireless Telegraphy in the late 1890s and the basic idea was to send and receive messages through electric signals and it worked the same as radio did.

Sending a telegraph was no big deal in the 19th century but sending a wireless telegraph proved to be efficient and pocket-friendly.

4. Neon Lamp

Neon lights are bright colored lights and the color of the light depends on the gas that is present in the tube. Neon lightning happens when a high voltage is passed through the tube and it causes the electrons to ionize which in turn creates this glowing shiny light.

Tesla didn’t invent neon lights but he gave it some practical usage. The beautiful colored lamps and lights that make the nightlife of a city so beautiful are all neon lights. 

After experimenting and unknowingly finding X-rays, Tesla decided to repeat the cathode ray tube experiment but with lower pressure and different gases which gave birth to this neon lamp.

Tesla displayed this Neon lamp at the World Columbian Exposition that took place in 1893 and explained how they can be used to light up places in the dark.

3. Induction Motor

You may find it hard to believe but Induction Motor is one of the greatest inventions of Nikola Tesla that is used even today. Many houses use induction motor and around 80% of industries use an induction motor to get work done.

It was invented by Tesla in 1887 in his workshop and gave rise to the second industrial revolution which is why this device is used even today. The purpose of this invention was to transform electrical energy into mechanical energy which helps us to move objects.

Induction motors are used in elevators, electric cars, pumping machines, drilling machines, and cranes.

How it Works? It works on the principle of electromagnetic induction. It has two main parts; stator and rotor. When an electric current is passed through the stator, it produces a rotating magnetic field and the rotor starts rotating due to this.

2. Tesla Valve

Nikola Tesla’s other remarkable yet forgotten invention is the Tesla Valve that he created in 1920. It is a one-way valve and has something amazing going on inside it. It uses no additional instruments or device, you don’t have to start it or anything.

The design of this valve is what makes it so special and yet so simple. This simple device allows fluid or gas to flow in one direction and the design of this valve decides if the fluid will go slower or faster.

The valve contains a zig-zag structure such that one end of the valve stops the fluid from moving or slows down the moving of the fluid whereas the other end makes the fluid move faster. The reason why this happens is because of its geometry and the zig-zag pattern.

How it Works? When you enter the fluid from left to right, it breaks down into two ways and then interferes with each other movements which make the fluid go slower. Whereas, the opposite side makes the fluid go faster and all of this happens because of the geometrical shape.

1. Alternating Current

Alternating Current is by-far considered the greatest invention of Nikola Tesla and rightly so. This invention of Tesla was the basis of the industrial revolution, it is what gave rise to Tesla’s all other inventions. Now, many of you may be familiar with “War of currents” that happened between Edison and Tesla.

Edison’s DC (direct current) was a system through which power could be supplied but it was very poor and used to spark and break down. Tesla was hired by Edison to fix his DC generators and make them more efficient and offered him a huge amount of money but things took quite an ugly turn.

After finishing the job, Edison refused to pay Tesla and Tesla left the job. AC (Alternating Current) was already found by George Westinghouse Company in 1886 but Edison pulled some cheap tactics to prove that AC is harmful and should not be used.

Tesla partnered with George and made a system to light up the world using AC. The reason why AC is preferred over DC is that the DC system required big wires had a lot of sparks and was inefficient.

But then, in 1893 at the World Light Fair Tesla demonstrated how AC was completely safe by experimenting with the current on his own body and thus began the downfall of Edison.

How it Works? Alternating current works by moving of electrons back and forth, you can also call is oscillating of current back and forth. Although AC is a lot of more dangerous than DC, it produces low current at high voltage that results in minimum heat loss and thus it is more reliable to power homes and other places through AC.

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