(born July 9/10, 1856, Smiljan, Lika, Austria-Hungary [now in Croatia]—died Jan. 7, 1943, New York, N.Y., U.S.) Serbian U.S. inventor and researcher. He studied in Austria and Bohemia and worked in Paris before coming to the U.S. in 1884. He worked for Thomas Alva Edison
and George Westinghouse
but preferred independent research. His inventions made possible the production and distribution of alternating-current electric power. He invented an induction coil that is still widely used in radio technology, the Tesla coil (1891); his system was used by Westinghouse to light the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Tesla established an electric power station at Niagara Falls that delivered power to Buffalo, N.Y., by 1896. His research also included work on a carbon button lamp and on the power of electrical resonance. He discovered terrestrial stationary waves (1899–1900), proving that the Earth is a conductor. Due to lack of funds, many of his ideas remained only in his notebooks, which are still examined by enthusiasts for inventive clues.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.