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Why Does Nikola Tesla Matter?

Tesla, Serbians and the Inventions He Left Behind

Nikola Tesla was the odd, overlooked genius of the Electric Age. He was a Serbian genius who despised Edison and Marconi, was badly used by Westinghouse and was finally abandoned by his patron J.P. Morgan at the end of his remarkable but tragic life. Tesla solved the seemingly intractable problem of how to generate alternating current. That invention allowed Westinghouse to turn the churning waters of the Niagara River into hydroelectric power. The first Canadian city to use that new source of power was Hamilton, Ontario. And, on July 10, 2016 the city renamed the former Burlington St., Nikola Tesla Boulevard.

Nikola Tesla BoulevardWe caught up with the folks at the 2016 Tesla Electric Festival on the shore of Lake Ontario. The event attracted hundreds of Tesla fans and a cross section of the Serbian community, for whom Tesla is a near god. “He is the most massive intellectual you can talk about anywhere in the world, who happened to be Serbian,” said Versoslav Djurdhevic, the President of the Nikola Tesla Educational Corporation.

Nikola Tesla

Anas Labaki, a research and development engineer at the Ford Motor Company poses as Nikola Tesla at the 2016 Telsa Electric Festival in Hamilton Ontario.

Tesla also features in our upcoming podcast radio drama, “The Strange Wax Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes”. That old time audio yarn is part of The Strange Copper Cylinders of Thaddeus Barnes, a contest coming at the end of August. You can learn more about the contest on this site. You can also join our growing Thaddeus Barnes Facebook group to meet fellow “Barnes Stormers” and hone your puzzle solving skills.

Tesla in Pictures