Happy 156th Birthday (and thank you) to Nikola Tesla
I felt the urge to write this article when I saw The Oatmeal posted a ‘comic’ (or a ‘letter’ as he claimed) more than a month ago, which was a damn good read and awesome. Sure the comic was posted for the purpose of entertainment but other than some ‘myths’ The Oatmeal pointed out about Tesla, he didn’t miss the good and valid ones. For me I’ll try not to reminisce the Edison vs Tesla thing all over again but if I was there to witness the ‘war’ itself I’d most likely side with Tesla.
I’m not sure about you but for me Tesla is one of the greatest inventors of all time but often his name/works were under-credit, probably because of his “mad scientist” reputation. To be honest I’ve never heard about him either until I graduated from high school, and that was because I studied some electrical engineering back then. My lecturers didn’t even mention his name when they taught us about AC/DC although I could find his name in every electrical engineering book I read.
If possible I’d not do the analysis of why Tesla was under-credited despite his works and contributions towards humanity, or particularly in electrical engineering. From what I’ve read about him it appears that he was most likely of business/corporate greed as well as refusals to recognize his ‘inventions’ just because they were deemed unprofitable. During the time before the USA took over the world superpower position from the British Empire, America was having what I’d call “economic boom” and Tesla was simply a victim of such era.
People said the history is always written by the winners but in Tesla’s case I don’t see him as the loser but the winners were playing dirty, using their money and influence to eat up competitions. This makes me think about what happened today where a great war is being fought between the so-called ‘inventors’ and ‘innovators’. For your information Tesla fought in the similar war too back then (the “patent wars” I mean).
Unlike today the patent wars back then was not as a big scale as we see today because the impact would take decades to reach other part of the world. Besides the patents granted back then were “real patents” and not just “trade dress” like most of the patents filed by a certain computer giant (and successfully granted). Back then people didn’t simply file a patent just because nobody has patented it, they applied for patents because nobody has invented it.
This makes me think that Tesla was not really ahead of his time because if he was born in this age I think he would face the same fate too. He might become a victim of people who have no knowledge but only the power to hire and hire (and if those people have a real knowledge it would be how to sell stuff and kill competitions). Still it was a sad thing that he died as an ‘insane’ person, broke and alone in a hotel room. I wish his life was better but maybe it’s a good thing too that he kept most of his thought to himself so that nobody would claim patents on his works.
Other than the article about Tesla a Wikipedia I’d suggest you to read these articles and see by yourself why I think Tesla is awesome (try to read them in order if possible):
- Baddass of The Week: Nikola Tesla
- Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived
- Nikola Tesla Wasn’t God And Thomas Edison Wasn’t The Devil (an article at Forbes in response to the above ‘comic’)
- I wrote a response to the Forbes article about my Tesla comic (for me this response shot the Forbes article real good)
By the way you must be wondering why did I use Okarin’s pic with Tesla’s above? Well, the most obvious reason would be both of them are “mad scientists”. Other than that is, I’m not sure about you but when I saw Okarin for the first time back then (when I was watching Steins;Gate) I was immediately reminded about Tesla. Well Tesla died a bachelor (virgin?) and didn’t have a tsundere female assistant by his side while Okarin, as far as I know never fought in patent wars.
Sorry but there will be no anime review today because I dedicate today for writing this article. By the time of writing I already watched Muv-Luv ep. 02, a very gory episode. I’ve watched Sword Art Online and successfully spotted an asshole of this summer anime season (yeah I’m talking about the asshole who developed the game and the NerveGear). Also sorry that I forgot to review Sengoku Collection ep. 14 but I’ll combine with ep. 15 review. I hope you can wait (and I hope I have enough time too).
Now to end this I’ll tell you how is this relevant to the “Independence Day From Patent Wars”. Actually the war is not over yet and many of us are still fighting it but if the patent wars during Tesla’s time were to be considered as “The Great Patent Wars” then let it be the only one in history. I don’t want it to be repeated anymore. The road towards the ‘Independence’ maybe long but it’s not impossible. It maybe not in this year’s July 10th but I’m reserving this date for the future.
More ‘read-worthy’ articles:
- The Secret of Nikola Tesla and the Failure of Thomas Edison (itsabeautifulearth.com)
- New Comic The Inventor Electrifies Nikola Tesla’s Mad Genius (wired.com)
- Mike Ragogna: Happy 156th Birthday Nikola Tesla! A Conversation With Graphic Novelist Ravé Mehta at Comic-Con (huffingtonpost.com)
- H.P. Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla, Paranormal Investigators (neatorama.com)
- The Remarkable Life of Nikola Tesla (wiredcosmos.com)
- Geek Art: HP Lovecraft and Nikola Tesla as Paranormal Investigators (geektyrant.com)
- Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla! (wired.com)