But rather than finish his studies, Tesla became a gambling addict, lost all his tuition money, dropped out of school and suffered a nervous breakdown. It would not be his last. In , Tesla moved to Budapest, after recovering from his breakdown, and he was walking through a park with a friend, reciting poetry, when a vision came to him. There in the park, with a stick, Tesla drew a crude diagram in the dirt—a motor using the principle of rotating magnetic fields created by two or more alternating currents.
While AC electrification had been employed before, there would never be a practical, working motor run on alternating current until he invented his induction motor several years later. The other is this young man! A meeting was arranged, and once Tesla described the engineering work he was doing, Edison, though skeptical, hired him. Edison, Tesla noted, refused to pay up. Tesla promptly quit and took a job digging ditches.
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I made no attempt to improve the design, but merely reproduced the pictures as they appeared to my vision, and the operation was always as I expected. Tesla patented his AC motors and power systems, which were said to be the most valuable inventions since the telephone.
Fearing ruin, Westinghouse begged Tesla for relief from the royalties Westinghouse agreed to. Tesla, grateful to the man who had never tried to swindle him, tore up the royalty contract, walking away from millions in royalties that he was already owed and billions that would have accrued in the future. He would have been one of the wealthiest men in the world—a titan of the Gilded Age.
His work with electricity reflected just one facet of his fertile mind. He quickly filed for American patents in , beating the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi to the punch. Tesla continued to work on his ideas for wireless transmissions when he proposed to J. Morgan his idea of a wireless globe. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.
In the same manner any picture, character, drawing or print can be transferred from one to another place. Millions of such instruments can be operated from but one plant of this kind. White quickly got to work designing Wardenclyffe Tower in , but soon after construction began it became apparent that Tesla was going to run out of money before it was finished. An appeal to Morgan for more money proved fruitless, and in the meantime investors were rushing to throw their money behind Marconi. In December , Marconi successfully sent a signal from England to Newfoundland.
Tesla grumbled that the Italian was using 17 of his patents, but litigation eventually favored Marconi and the commercial damage was done. The U. Thus the Italian inventor was credited as the inventor of radio and became rich. By , Tesla began to withdraw from that doubting world. He was clearly showing signs of obsessive-compulsive disorder, and was potentially a high-functioning autistic.
He became obsessed with cleanliness and fixated on the number three; he began shaking hands with people and washing his hands—all done in sets of three.
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He had to have 18 napkins on his table during meals, and would count his steps whenever he walked anywhere. Near the end of his life, Tesla became fixated on pigeons, especially a specific white female, which he claimed to love almost as one would love a human being.
One night, Tesla claimed the white pigeon visited him through an open window at his hotel, and he believed the bird had come to tell him she was dying. Nikola Tesla would go on to make news from time to time while living on the 33rd floor of the New Yorker Hotel. The Innovative Spirit. Featured: Reality Gets an Upgrade. Travel Taiwan. American South. Travel With Us. At the Smithsonian Visit.
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Mah Jong Quest. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue. Archaeology U. History World History Video Newsletter. Like this article? Next Article Telemedicine Predicted in A trumpet fish swims along in its unusual vertical pose, while a stoplight parrotfish performs its reef-cleaning duties—just some of the dazzling marine life that inhabits Salt Pier. Punch , 2 September , p. The very legibility of the tan, its colour value and its extent of coverage on the body, could equally be read in terms of regeneration — of healing, adaptation and growth — or degeneration — of primitivism, atavism, and base sexuality.
That so many light therapists, who actively encouraged and desired pigmentation as the path to the regeneration of both individual and nation, held eugenic beliefs brings such tensions to the skin's surface. The role of suntan pigmentation was, like that of solar erythema, hotly debated and ambivalently described by light therapists during the early twentieth century. However, much diversity of opinion existed even on these points, some physicians arguing that different wavelengths were responsible for solar erythema and for pigmentation, others adamant that suntanned patients could still be sunburnt thus protective only to a certain extent , and still others that pigmentation was not necessarily a reaction only to ultraviolet light since it could be produced by a variety of sources, including chemicals irritants e.
As discussed in Chapter 2 , in Britain leading researchers Sir Leonard Hill and Albert Eidinow of the MRC's National Institute of Medical Research NIMR considered suntan a hindrance to the therapeutic process because it performed its protective role too well: once pigmentation had been produced, it impeded the penetration of ultraviolet radiation's further beneficial effects into the body, necessitating longer and longer exposures. This method was not only more economical requiring shorter running times of the lamps , it kept the patient's body in a light-sensitive state and, implicitly, white.
In opposition, other equally well-respected practitioners, such as Britain's leading heliotherapist Sir Henry Gauvain of the Treloar Hospital for Crippled Children in Hampshire, considered pigmentation vital to the cure. They avoided producing solar erythema in favour of pigmentation through careful, graduated acclimation. For Rollier and his fellow countryman, the surgeon and heliotherapist Oskar Bernhard, as well as many French heliotherapists, pigmentation was celebrated early on as a gauge : a key, visual indicator of the therapy's efficacy and thus a sign of prognosis.
Pigmentation is the gauge of the sun cure, and those parts of the body which are well pigmented must be counted as richer in vital energy and in resistance to disease than other parts. Where an invalid does not take to the sun easily it means that progress is slow.
In the previous chapter I explained there was much interest as to the depth of ultraviolet radiation's penetration into the body's interior. As more and more practitioners accepted ultraviolet radiation's relatively minimal depth of penetration, confined to the skin's upper layers, they tried to understand why and how these beneficial wavelengths instigated changes deep within the body, and they looked to pigmentation for an answer.
Others compared chlorophyll with the blood as another sensitised substance with the power to transform light wavelengths. Pigmentation hinders the action; longer exposure is needed … [and] negro babies in New York are found to be more susceptible than white babies to rickets. This fact is against the view put forward by Rollier, that pigmentation is favourable for heliotherapy, and that the pigment acts as a transformer in the tissues of light rays into some other form of radiation, which has a beneficial effect.
Further ambivalence existed when it came to different kinds of pigmentation, dependent upon the light source: mercury vapour lamps, carbon arc lamps, and natural sunlight could apparently produce different colour values, densities, and durations of pigmentation. On colour variations, Eidinow stated,. The sun gives rise to a dark brown-black pigmentation. The Finsen [carbon] arc also gives rise to a dark-coloured pigment.
The long white flame [carbon] arcs and tungsten arcs give a reddish-brown pigmentation, the mercury vapour lamp a pale yellowish-brown pigmentation. Patients who have been exposed to the sun and are black-skinned gradually lose their pigment, and become a lighter brown on exposure to the mercury vapour lamp or open long flame [carbon] arc.
Above all, as a form of natural protection — a bodily adaptation — pigmentation was understood in relation to, and explanatory of, racial difference. The colour of peoples and different races is thus easily explained: the nearer we approach the equator the darker the coloration of the skin becomes, and the more remote we go the lighter it is. The red and yellow colours of the Indians and Mongolians present characters of practical value in that they absorb all the chemical rays, but the black skin absorbs the luminous rays still more […] But, speaking generally a European who lives in tropical countries notices that his skin takes on a darker coloration, while the black colour of negroes who come to Europe is diminished in a sensible degree.
For now, it is worth noting one further, debated therapeutic function of pigment. The theory belonged to Dr Albert Jesionek, a German light therapist practising in Giessen and namesake of the Jesionek lamp. Attempting to understand how ultraviolet radiation penetrated deeply into the body, he reasoned that unknown substances in pigment itself might be passed into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body. As mentioned above, the analogy of chlorophyll was confusingly applied to explain the functions both of pigment and blood. If ultraviolet light only minimally penetrated the skin, its internalisation consumption was theoretically explained using the laws of physics: Draper's Law stated that light can only act where it is absorbed, a law that was influential not only to light therapists but to photographers like Hermann Wilhelm Vogel see Chapter 3 , searching for methods to capture light's full spectral range onto sensitised plates — in other words, to the beginnings of colour photography.
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Finsen sought to drain blood away from lupus vulgaris lesions by means of compressors, hoping for deeper penetration of the actinic rays to reach the source of tuberculous infection Fig. But his perception of blood as an inhibitor to the internalisation of actinic light gave way to widespread views that blood enabled its bodily consumption. Light absorption of the blood preoccupied British researchers. In popular books for the public, such as Dane's, the language chosen to explain the light's stimulation of the blood and its production of highly desirable pigmentation is significant; it is the textual equivalent of Hanovia's visualisation of saturated, glowing orange suntans Plates 2 — 5.
Both textually and visually these publicly disseminated representations might seem at first to verge on pure hyperbole. Was this hyperbolic? Importantly, it was not. As with electro-therapy and other forms of radiation therapy, the underlying concept here was one of energy transfer. Once saturated with irradiative energy, the skin and blood were described internationally by practitioners as having the capability to produce their own light.
But so too were levels of phosphorus phosphates raised in the blood, bringing to mind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles —2 , in which the demonic beast glows by means of phosphorus. Punch cartoons played on these associations by conflating child users with the modern and shiny metallic surfaces of home-use technological apparatus, and even with the light itself Figs. Punch , 26 September , p.