Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard CarlsonTesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age

byW. Bernard Carlson

Hardcover | May 12, 2013

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Nikola Tesla was a major contributor to the electrical revolution that transformed daily life at the turn of the twentieth century. His inventions, patents, and theoretical work formed the basis of modern AC electricity, and contributed to the development of radio and television. Like his competitor Thomas Edison, Tesla was one of America's first celebrity scientists, enjoying the company of New York high society and dazzling the likes of Mark Twain with his electrical demonstrations. An astute self-promoter and gifted showman, he cultivated a public image of the eccentric genius. Even at the end of his life when he was living in poverty, Tesla still attracted reporters to his annual birthday interview, regaling them with claims that he had invented a particle-beam weapon capable of bringing down enemy aircraft.

Plenty of biographies glamorize Tesla and his eccentricities, but until now none has carefully examined what, how, and why he invented. In this groundbreaking book, W. Bernard Carlson demystifies the legendary inventor, placing him within the cultural and technological context of his time, and focusing on his inventions themselves as well as the creation and maintenance of his celebrity. Drawing on original documents from Tesla's private and public life, Carlson shows how he was an "idealist" inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.

This major biography sheds new light on Tesla's visionary approach to invention and the business strategies behind his most important technological breakthroughs.

Title:Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical AgeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:520 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:May 12, 2013Publisher:Princeton University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0691057761

ISBN - 13:9780691057767


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Remarkable Genius of Nikola Tesla This is not the first Nikola Tesla biography that I’ve read, but, to my delight, it is certainly the most technical. In prose that is clear, relatively accessible, and frequently intense with technical details, the author recounts the life of inventor Nikola Tesla. After covering Tesla’s childhood and education, the author concentrates mainly on his subject’s technical skills, hard work, inventions, associates, business ventures, technical rivals, campaigning for funds, occasional frustrations and many accomplishments. Highlights of Tesla’s personal life are also, albeit briefly, covered, e.g., county of origin, family, friendships, health, etc. Plenty of figures throughout the book serve to illustrate some of Tesla’s inventions and the scientific principles behind them, and the main text provides excellent descriptions of how they work. However, a few of these descriptions differ from those provided in the corresponding figure captions – the latter being usually the correct ones. Finally, the author discusses the mental characteristics of good inventors, including dreams, ideas, insights, foresight and other important psychological features necessary for success. These are discussed in light of Tesla’s mental approach to inventing. This biography should be of great interest to Tesla admirers, particularly those who are more technologically/scientifically inclined.
Date published: 2013-09-23

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

CHAPTER ONE An Ideal Childhood (1856-1878) 12

CHAPTER TWO Dreaming of Motors (1878-1882) 34

CHAPTER THREE Learning by Doing (1882-1886) 60

CHAPTER FOUR Mastering Alternating Current (1886-1888) 76

CHAPTER FIVE Selling the Motor (1888-1889) 100

CHAPTER SIX Searching for a New Ideal (1889-1891) 117

CHAPTER SEVEN A Veritable Magician (1891) 129

CHAPTER EIGHT Taking the Show to Europe (1891-1892) 143

CHAPTER NINE Pushing Alternating Current in America (1892-1893) 158

CHAPTER TEN Wireless Lighting and the Oscillator (1893-1894) 176

CHAPTER ELEVEN Efforts at Promotion (1894-1895) 193

CHAPTER TWELVE Looking for Alternatives (1895-1898) 214

CHAPTER THIRTEEN Stationary Waves (1899-1900) 262

CHAPTER FOURTEEN Wardenclyffe (1900-1901) 302

CHAPTER FIFTEEN The Dark Tower (1901-1905) 331

CHAPTER SIXTEEN Visionary to the End (1905-1943) 368


Note on Sources 415

Abbreviations and Sources 421

Notes 423

Acknowledgments 473

Index 477

Editorial Reviews

"[Carlson?s] extensive notes on his sources are invaluable for Tesla researchers, and his book sheds light on many misconceptions perpetuated in some popular Tesla biographies."--Nexus Magazine