Nikola Tesla Quotes

Nikola Tesla, 1856 – 1943

Born: 10 July 1856, Smiljan, Lika, Austrian Empire
Died: 7 January 1943, New York City

Tesla’s father was a priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church, his mother never learned to read but memorized poetry and devised and crafted household tools. After completing gymnasium at Karlovac he studied electrical engineering at the Austrian Polytechnic at Graz through 1875, but probably never graduated. He held an engineering assistant’s post in Maribor (now known as Slovenia), suffered a nervous breakdown, and briefly attended school at Prague. He read widely and had the ability to memorize full books, possibly what is known as a photographic memory. He experienced visions, many of which included extremely detailed images of working equipment, including the ability to give exact dimensions for parts so they could be made. In 1880 he moved to Budapest and worked for the national telephone company, becoming chief electrician in 1881. In 1882 he went to work for Continental Edison, improving electrical equipment earlier built in the US by Edison’s labs. Here he conceived the induction motor and his concept of rotating electrical fields. His supervisor there gave him a letter for Thomas Edison saying, “I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man.”.

Edison offered him $50,000 (over $1 million in today’s dollars) to improve Edison’s motor and generators. Tesla left when Edison dismissed his offer as “American humor”. Tesla began refining his concept of the alternating current polyphase system, still in use today, although he had to resort to manual labor to support himself. He founded his own firm, Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing, but soon differed with investors and was discharged. In 1887 he built the first brushless AC induction motor and devised the Tesla coil, the next year he started working with George Westinghouse. The “War of the Currents” between Edison’s DC and Tesla’s AC left both Edison and Westinghouse close to bankruptcy, and Tesla released Westinghouse from future payments on his patents which left him destitute later in life. World War I meant the end of his income from his European patents. In radio, Marconi filed a number of patents on the development of radio and Tesla’s prior claims were ignored until the US Supreme Court ruled Marconi’s work to be based on Tesla’s – later in the year of Tesla’s death. He died alone in his hotel room, from heart failure, vast quantities of notes and lab work were promptly taken over by the FBI and classified. In addition to creating the system of electrical generation and distribution, practical electric motors, and radio transmission, his other work is far too great to record here.

Nikola Tesla quotes:

All that was great in the past was ridiculed, condemned, combated, suppressed — only to emerge all the more powerfully, all the more triumphantly from the struggle.
    Nikola Tesla

Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.
    Nikola Tesla

But the female mind has demonstrated a capacity for all the mental acquirements and achievements of men, and as generations ensue that capacity will be expanded; the average woman will be as well educated as the average man, and then better educated, for the dormant faculties of her brain will be stimulated to an activity that will be all the more intense and powerful because of centuries of repose. Woman will ignore precedent and startle civilization with their progress.
    Nikola Tesla

Einstein’s relativity work is a magnificent mathematical garb which fascinates, dazzles and makes people blind to the underlying errors. The theory is like a beggar clothed in purple whom ignorant people take for a king… its exponents are brilliant men but they are metaphysicists rather than scientists.
    Nikola Tesla – New York Times (11 July 1935)

Hardly is there a nation which has met with a sadder fate than the Serbians. From the height of its splendor, when the empire embraced almost the entire northern part of the Balkan peninsula and a large portion of what is now Austria, the Serbian nation was plunged into abject slavery, after the fateful battle of 1389 at the Kosovo Polje, against the overwhelming Asian hordes. Europe can never repay the great debt it owes to the Serbians for checking, by the sacrifice of its own liberty, that barbarian influx.
    Nikola Tesla

I am credited with being one of the hardest workers and perhaps I am, if thought is the equivalent of labour, for I have devoted to it almost all of my waking hours. But if work is interpreted to be a definite performance in a specified time according to a rigid rule, then I may be the worst of idlers.
    Nikola Tesla – “My Inventions” Electrical Experimenter (1919)

I am equally proud of my Serbian origin and my Croatian fatherland.
    Nikola Tesla – Telegram to Croatian Leader Dr. Vlatko Macek (25 May 1936)

I come from a very wiry and long-lived race. Some of my ancestors have been centenarians, and one of them lived 129 years. I am determined to keep up the record and please myself with prospects of great promise. Then again, nature has given me a vivid imagination.
    Nikola Tesla

I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success…. Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.
    Nikola Tesla

I have had but little time to devote to the fulfillment of a duty which, next to that of turning his best efforts to diligent inquiry in the fields he has chosen, is the most important to a scientific man; namely, that of giving an exact record of the results obtained.
    Nikola Tesla

I have harnessed the cosmic rays and caused them to operate a motive device.
    Nikola Tesla – Brooklyn Eagle (10 July 1931)

I have thrived on my thoughts.
    Nikola Tesla – “My Inventions” Electrical Experimenter (1919)

If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor.
    Nikola Tesla – New York Times (19 October 1931)

It has cost me years of thought to arrive at certain results, by many believed to be unattainable, for which there are now numerous claimants, and the number of these is rapidly increasing, like that of the colonels in the South after the war.
    Nikola Tesla

It was the artist, too, who awakened that broad philanthropic spirit which, even in old ages, shone in the teachings of noble reformers and philosophers, that spirit which makes men in all departments and positions work not as much for any material benefit or compensation — though reason may command this also — but chiefly for the sake of success, for the pleasure there is in achieving it and for the good they might be able to do thereby to their fellow-men.
    Nikola Tesla

Let the future tell the truth and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.
    Nikola Tesla

Like a flash of lightning and in an instant the truth was revealed. I drew with a stick on the sand the diagrams of my motor. A thousand secrets of nature which I might have stumbled upon accidentally I would have given for that one which I had wrestled from her against all odds and at the peril of my existence.
    Nikola Tesla

Marconi is a good fellow. Let him continue. He is using seventeen of my patents.
    Nikola Tesla

Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.
    Nikola Tesla

My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get a new idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination, and make improvements and operate the device in my mind. When I have gone so far as to embody everything in my invention, every possible improvement I can think of, and when I see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form the final product of my brain.
    Nikola Tesla

Of all the frictional resistance, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called “the greatest evil in the world.” The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.
    Nikola Tesla

Our senses enable us to perceive only a minute portion of the outside world. Our hearing extends to a small distance. Our sight is impeded by intervening bodies and shadows.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.
    Nikola Tesla

Out of this war, the greatest since the beginning of history, a new world must be born, a world that would justify the sacrifices offered by humanity. This new world must be a world in which there shall be no exploitation of the weak by the strong, of the good by the evil; where there will be no humiliation of the poor by the violence of the rich; where the products of intellect, science and art will serve society for the betterment and beautification of life, and not the individuals for achieving wealth.
    Nikola Tesla

So astounding are the facts in this connection, that it would seem as though the Creator himself had electrically designed this planet.
    Nikola Tesla

So we find that the three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work.
    Nikola Tesla – “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” Century Illustrated (June 1900)

The day when we shall know exactly what electricity is will chronicle an event probably greater, more important than any other recorded in the history of the human race. The time will come when the comfort, the very existence, perhaps, of man will depend upon that wonderful agent.
    Nikola Tesla

The gift of mental power comes from God, Divine Being, and if we concentrate our minds on that truth, we become in tune with this great power. My Mother had taught me to seek all truth in the Bible.
    Nikola Tesla

The individual is ephemeral, races and nations come and pass away, but man remains. Therein lies the profound difference between the individual and the whole.
    Nikola Tesla – “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” Century Illustrated (June 1900)

The last 29 days of the month are the hardest.
    Nikola Tesla

The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.
    Nikola Tesla

The practical success of an idea, irrespective of its inherent merit, is dependent on the attitude of the contemporaries. If timely it is quickly adopted; if not, it is apt to fare like a sprout lured out of the ground by warm sunshine, only to be injured and retarded in its growth by the succeeding frost.
    Nikola Tesla

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention.
    Nikola Tesla – “My Inventions” Electrical Experimenter (1919)

The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter – for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way.
    Nikola Tesla – “Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World” Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.
    Nikola Tesla – “Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World” Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

The spread of civilisation may be likened to a fire; First, a feeble spark, next a flickering flame, then a mighty blaze, ever increasing in speed and power.
    Nikola Tesla

There is something within me that might be illusion as it is often case with young delighted people, but if I would be fortunate to achieve some of my ideals, it would be on the behalf of the whole of humanity. If those hopes would become fulfilled, the most exciting thought would be that it is a deed of a Serb.
    Nikola Tesla – Address at Belgrade (1 June 1892)

Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them.
    Nikola Tesla – “The Problem of Increasing Human Energy” Century Illustrated (June 1900)

To conquer by sheer force is becoming harder and harder every day. Defensive is getting continuously the advantage of offensive, as we progress in the satanic science of destruction.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

To know each other we must reach beyond the sphere of our sense perceptions.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

To stop war by the perfection of engines of destruction alone, might consume centuries and centuries. Other means must be employed to hasten the end.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
    Nikola Tesla – “Radio Power Will Revolutionize the World” Modern Mechanics and Inventions (July 1934)

Universal Peace, assuming it to be in the fullest sense realizable, might not require eons for its accomplishment, however probable this may appear, judging from the imperceptibly slow growth of all great reformatory ideas of the past.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

We begin to think cosmically.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

When natural inclination develops into a passionate desire, one advances towards his goal in seven-league boots.
    Nikola Tesla

When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance.
    Nikola Tesla

With the opening of the first power plant, incredulity will give way to wonderment, and this to ingratitude, as ever before.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

Within a few years a simple and inexpensive device, readily carried about, will enable one to receive on land or sea the principal news, to hear a speech, a lecture, a song or play of a musical instrument, conveyed from any other region of the globe.
    Nikola Tesla – Electrical World and Engineer (7 January 1905)

You may live to see man-made horrors beyond your comprehension.
    Nikola Tesla

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