Happy Birthday To Nikola Tesla

10 Jul

Don’t know who Nikola Tesla is? Well, someone slept through history class. Or, you were told that Thomas Edison was the greatest scientist and inventor in American history. In fact, Edison was simply the better businessman, Tesla was a true genius for whom business was a tedious distraction from science. Today, July 10th, would have been his 155th birthday.

Nikola Tesla was one of Western New York’s most prominent and important residents. In the race to electrify the world and to create modern industry, Tesla was at the forefront. The Father of Alternating Current was the first to harness the power of Niagara Falls. He and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant in Niagara Falls and started the electrification of the world with their three-phase AC system which made long distance transfer of power possible. He also held over 700 patents on other technologies including induction motors, radio waves, and lighting systems.


Tesla’s last remaining power generation facility was recently highlighted on The Travel Channel’s “Off Limits” and is currently being used to store some guy’s boat.

A sad end to the life of a great man. Perhaps we might convert the facility from storage unit to museum at some point to honor one of the greatest engineers in the history of mankind.

12 Responses to “Happy Birthday To Nikola Tesla”

  1. Maria Rosa July 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Interesting article… just wondering what role he played in the Pan American Exhibition? 

  2. Brian Castner July 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    For some reason, I have never thought of Tesla in relation to WNY. Any way to know how much of a connection he actually had? Residency, etc?

  3. Leo Wilson July 10, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

    A place to start finding out might be the Tesla monument/exhibit on Goat island at Niagara Falls on the American side. There’s also a pretty good exhibition/tour that incudes some pretty snazzy models of some of his experiments. Tesla designed the first hydroelectric power plant in NF, NY, pretty much ending Edison’s attempts to deliver DC to a customer base. There’s a bunch of info here: http://www.teslasociety.com/

  4. RaChaCha July 10, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    Tesla had a ZOMG OMFG huge impact on WNY and the Niagara River corridor in particular. From http://www.teslasociety.com/niagarafalls.htm :

    “Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant in Niagara Falls and started the electrification of the world. Adam’s Power Station (Power House No. 3 [which Chris has pictured]), the only remains of the old Niagara Falls Power Plant, may become a science museum. This museum would be devoted to Niagara Falls Power Plant, the first hydro-electric power plant in the world, this location is a great turning stone in the history of electricity. Adam’s Station is registered as a National Historic Landmark.”

    It was because of Tesla that Niagara Falls power could be sent to Buffalo, 20 miles away, arriving in 1896. The impact on the development of Buffalo can hardly be overestimated. The success of the initial plant led to the construction of the power canal (now buried) and the second plant in the gorge. Its destruction by a rockslide in 1956 led to the construction of the Robert Moses plant, the Parkway, the Lewiston-Queenston bridge, and Artpark.

    There’s a big bronze of Tesla on Goat Island, parts of it kept shiny from kids sitting on it. I was one — Mama RaChaCha has a photo of it, somewhere…

  5. Mike In WNY July 11, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    It is no coincidence that one of the most sought after cars is named Tesla.

  6. Brian Castner July 11, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Well, it appears the problem was that I learned about Tesla is science and engineering classes, not history one’s (to go back to Chris’ first point). I am enough of a dork to go to a Tesla Society meeting sometime.

  7. Alan Bedenko July 11, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Nikola Tesla. Serbian Immigrant. 

    Not all immigrants are welfare cheats and anchor baby makers. 

  8. RaChaCha July 11, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    @Brian, this place might also be worth a visit: http://www.niagarasciencemuseum.org/

    It’s on some list of ‘Top 10 museums for geeks’!

  9. Kevin J. July 11, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I saw Tesla open for Def Leppard at the old Aud in February 1988; the shows a reviewer has to see sometimes. What, not that Tesla?

  10. Leo Wilson July 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm #

    @Brian – be a proud dork. Visit the society, gather info and share what you find here. This comment section reflects apolitical interest from people who normally disagree… or, the spinmeisters are still working their angles 🙂

  11. pirate's code July 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    The building in Niagara Falls was part of the Adam’s generating station, but it did not house the generating equipment. The building in the photo was, I believe, a transformer building. The powerhouse itself was demolished decades ago. Either way, it is indeed the last remaining structure from that historic facility.

  12. Def Leppard July 11, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Huh?? What did he say? What?!

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