10 Things You Didn't Know About Nikola Tesla

Pictured here at age 34. Wikimedia Commons.
Elise Andrew 10 Jul 2015, 21:00

6. The U.S. Government has classified Tesla’s stuff

When Tesla died, the Office of Alien Property seized all of his possessions. It eventually released most of his possessions to his family, and a few items were donated to the Tesla Museum in Belgrade. Curiously, Tesla died in 1943, yet some of his personal documents still remain classified to this day by the U.S. Government.

7. Tesla may have had obsessive compulsive behavior and insomnia

Tesla claimed that he needed only two hours of sleep a night. But it’s unclear whether this was because he wanted to or because he actually couldn’t sleep any more than that.

Tesla was also obsessed with the number 3, and used 18 napkins (a number divisible by 3) to clean his dining room before eating his evening meals. He detested round objects, jewelry, and touching hair.

8. Edison and Tesla were not arch-nemeses

It would be delightful to imagine Edison and Tesla as bitter enemies, constantly one-upping each other with their latest inventions. However, in actual fact, they collaborated in designing direct current generators before Tesla quit to pursue his dream of the alternate current induction motor. Perhaps, a more accurate description of their relationship is as 'business rivals.'

9. Tesla helped relieve renowned author Mark Twain of some… issues…

On his quest to create more efficient electricity, Tesla believed he had created an earthquake machine, which shook his building and his neighborhood in Manhattan whenever he conducted his experiments. He later found out that he had actually created a high frequency oscillator, where a piston beneath a platform built into his lab fluctuated quickly with movement.

Friends with the digestive-challenged Twain through their gentlemen’s club, Tesla invited him to stand on the platform while the oscillator was switched on. After 90 seconds, Twain quickly dashed off to void his bowels.

10. You can get free Wi-Fi from Tesla

An Indiegogo campaign was launched by web comic creator Matthew Inman to raise funds for The Tesla Science Center. Raising $1.37 million, which was matched by a grant from New York State, the Tesla Science Center was purchased in May 2013.

Possibly building on the astonishing results of this campaign, a separate crowdsourcing campaign was launched to create a seven-foot-tall statue of Tesla in Palo Alto, California, in May 2013. Raising $127,000 from 722 backers, the statue was erected in December 2013 with a time capsule and a Wi-Fi hotspot free for anyone to use.

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