Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)
One of the most prolific inventors to date, Tesla is known today as the father of modern electricity due to his invention of the Alternating Current (AC) polyphase electrical system which is now used to send electricity to the 4 corners of the planet. Tesla was known to use his imagination to visualize his creations and work through all the flaws in his mind prior to putting his designs on paper. He was known to be OCD and obsessed with the number 3, 6, and 9. Beyond electricity, his revolutionary work and patents paved the way for the evolution of wireless communication and power including the radio, remote control, robotics, and stuff we haven’t accomplished yet today.
Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
Known as “The Wizard of Menlo Park”, Thomas Edison was one of the highest regarded and influential inventors of his time with 1093 US patents. His method of invention was by gut and trial and error, but would only value inventions that had a practical and commercial use. More than an inventor, Edison was an aggressive capitalist and would do anything to protect his turf. Edison would hire brilliant engineers (including Tesla) creating the first industrialized research laboratory, today known as G.E. (General Electric Corporation). Best known for inventing the Direct Current (DC) electrical system, Edison was also known for inventing the phonograph and motion picture camera helping spawn the film and entertainment industries.
George Westinghouse (1846-1914)
George Westinghouse was an engineer and inventor since a child, first creating the rotary steam engine at the age of 19. Later after witnessing a train wreck, he invented the railway air brake using compressed air. These successes lead Westinghouse to become a business man and later Tesla’s partner. After purchasing his patents around the AC motor, Westinghouse then became Edison’s chief rival sparking the War of the Currents…the battle between AC and DC technology.
JP Morgan (1837-1913)
John Pierpont Morgan was known as one of the richest men in the world and the ultimate capitalist. As an American banker, Morgan played a big role in financing the industrial revolution, including the creation of General Electric and later US Steel which became the $1billion company. In 1893, the Federal Treasury was nearly out of gold so Morgan and the Rothschild’s supplied them with 3.5 million ounces of gold for a 30 year bond, saving the US Treasury. Morgan again saved the banking system in 1907 when on the verge of financial collapse and helped devise the Federal Reserve System.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Mark Twain (aka Samuel Clemons) was an American author and satirist. Best known for his novels “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Twain was heralded as the father of American literature and the first American celebrity. A lifelong friend of Tesla, Twain held science and technology with much admiration and spent a great deal of time at Tesla’s laboratory. Twain patented three inventions and wrote about characters such as time travelers. Twain was born during Halley’s Comet and died the day following the comet’s subsequent return.
Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
William Thomson, (aka Lord Kelvin) was a mathematical physicist and engineer and was knighted by Queen Victoria for his work on the transatlantic telegraph project. Kelvin is also known for his works in thermodynamics and the Kelvin temperature scale after realizing there is a lower limit to temperature or an absolute zero. After watching Tesla’s AC demonstration at the Chicago World’s Fair, he decided to use Tesla’s system for the design of the Niagara Falls power station which eventually lead the AC technology to be the primary system used for transmitting electricity around the world. Lord Kelvin is famously known for praising Tesla and in 1896 saying “Tesla has contributed more to electrical science than any man up to his time.”
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)
An Indian mystic, Vivekananda introduced the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world. He was an inspiring figure for many, including Tesla, who was later influenced by Vedic philosophy and teachings from the Yoga Sutras which led him to his inventions around frequency and resonance.
A New York City debutant, Katherine was married to Robert Johnson, the owner of Century Magazine, a highly regarded periodical of their time. Katherine was deep in New York City’s high society social circles often throwing parties full of inventors, businessmen and other influentials. Katherine loved Tesla and was the only woman that could touch Tesla’s heart. Katherine served as Tesla’s only muse inspiring him to continue to create even when he thought all was lost.
Tesla’s trusted and faithful assistant, Czito is probably the one person that knows more about Tesla than anyone else. Czito stood by Tesla and helped him put together his experiments, laboratories and other ideas, but he could never predict what Tesla would dream up next.
Gugliemo Marconi (1874-1937)
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor who is best known as “the father of radio”, yet he used 17 of Tesla’s patents for his inventions and endeavors in radio. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Marconi’s company was recognized for making the first transatlantic radio broadcast. Marconi radio technology was also used to find and save those from the Titanic disaster. Marconi was later appointed as President of the Royal Academy of Italy by Mussolini, making him a member of the Fascist Grand Council.