Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Tesla, Nikola

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TESLA, Nikola, electrician, b. in Smiljan, Lika, Servia, in 1857, is the son of a minister in the Greek church. He was educated in the public schools of Gospich, and at the realschule at Karlstadt, from which he was graduated in 1873; he then attended the polytechnic school at Gratz. Much against the preference of his father, who wished him to enter the ministry, he gave his attention to electricity and magnetism, relinquishing his plan of teaching mathematics and physics, in favor of the profession of an engineer. He studied languages at Prague and at Buda-Pesth, became an assistant in the government telegraph-engineering department, and then worked with Puskas, who had introduced the telephone into Hungary. He went to Paris after a short time, and thence came soon to the United States. He worked with Edison at Menlo Park, and then entered into a company formed to put his own inventions upon the market. He perfected his discovery of the rotary field principle, and then gave his attention to the utilization of the undulating current. He has studied also the principles of lighting, motors, the conversion of energy, and other related subjects, and has always produced. as a result of his studies, improvements of high order and of great benefit. In the application for a patent for a recent discovery Tesla says: “The greatest value of my invention will result from its effects upon warfare and armaments, for by reason of its certain unlimited destructiveness it tends to bring about find maintain permanent peace among nations.” See “The Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla, with Special Reference to his Work in Polyphase Currents and High Potential Lighting,” by Thomas Commerford Martin (New York, 1894).