Inventor Of The Electrical Age

Book - 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"-
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2013.
ISBN: 9780691057767
Characteristics: xii, 500 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm


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Tesla was a seat-of-the-pants inventor, with little scientific understanding of what he was doing. So, he had a lot of visionary ideas, like death rays and broadcasting power, but no way to tell whether they were feasible or not, and no solid ideas to implement them. These science fiction ideas still circulate among wishful thinkers, who are convinced that Tesla was just on the verge of completing some great success that would revolutionize science and industry. Dream on!

Dec 24, 2014

sometimes this book got a bit boring with a lot of details describing the inventions. I was more interested in the personal life of NT.

Aug 08, 2013

[Update: A connection between President Donald Trump and Nikola Tesla? Absurd you say? After the death of Tesla, the US gov't rushed in and confiscated all his personal papers, which they then handed over to a professor of engineering with MIT, named John G. Trump, uncle of the future president of the USA! Wonder if those still classified papers included his Death Ray??? Remember the Tunguska Event?]
A most excellent bio on Nikola Tesla, with important trivia (but most assuredly not trivial) on Tesla's youth and background. Together, this biography and Jill Jonnes' book, "Empires of Light" are the two best books on Tesla and the origins of the power grid. (Although, Ms. Jonnes' treatment of Tesla was far more to my liking! And she filled out important points in both his overall character, and daily living habits. What I found annoying about this biography was that Carlson, too often and in a subtle fashion, appears to be belittling Tesla, while not including factual history of people's dealings with him, such as Edison, Morgan and others. Ms. Jonnes' treatment was much more respectful and practical with regard to his techical abilities and genius.)

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