You could call this episode: “Tesla: The Art of the Deal”, as we see Tesla and his business partners Peck and Brown bluff, finagle, and finally negotiate the lucrative sale of the AC motor patents to George Westinghouse. The sale changed Tesla’s life–and ours–forever.
Tesla was cranking out break-through inventions as fast as his partners could patent them. Plans to promote and sell them culminated in Tesla’s full-on arrival as a cutting edge figure in the electrical field with his groundbreaking address to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.
Not long after Tesla stormed out on Edison opportunity came knocking again…as did further betrayal and disappointment. But with the help of new business partners, Tesla was on his way to becoming a truly world-changing figure.
It is the era in which Tesla made his greatest breakthroughs and inventions, and the era in which he found fame and fortune: the Gilded Age. Today, a whirlwind tour of America in the Gilded Age–its time; its big themes; and how it changed United States (and Tesla!) forever.
The episode you’ve all been waiting for! Tesla arrives in New York City and takes a job with Thomas Edison. See the seeds of a life-long rivalry sown because of a broken million-dollar promise. It’s Tesla vs. Edison: Round 1–let’s get ready to rummmble!
This week we follow Tesla to Paris and a job with the new Edison lighting company there. In Paris, Telsa gains his first real, practical exposure to the nitty-gritty of designing and building dynamos and motors, and gets a taste for just how good the good life can be.
The solution to Tesla’s alternating current motor problem came to him as a ‘eureka’ moment during a walk in the park in 1882: the rotating magnetic field, and the induction motor. The applications of this innovation would literally change the world.
If Tesla’s life were a movie, these would be the “montage years”–five years edited down into a few minutes (probably with melancholy music playing underneath) showing us that things didn’t work out for our hero for a long time until his big break came at the end of Act 1.
Tesla goes on the lamb not once but twice, with a bit of schooling and a bit of gambling and at least one brush with death keeping him busy in between.
This week, we’ll cover Tesla’s schooling from the time he first enrolled in primary school, right up until he heads off for engineering school in the late 1870s. It’s a major turning point in Tesla’s life, and it makes sense to break there until next time.