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Tesla Triumphs in Buffalo–Niagara : A True Current Event!

On This Day: November 15, 1896:
A multi-lingual genius of a fellow from Serbia named Nikola Tesla came to America and worked for Thomas Edison at first, later for George Westinghouse, and later himself…. Edison promised Tesla 50 grand if some of his ideas would come to prosper in fruition. After a few patents and a couple years of tremendous success, Edison saw what a prosperous soul he had working for him in Nikola Tesla.
So Tesla came to him one day and asked about the 50 grand, to which Edison responded “My dear Tesla, you are still new here—what you must still learn about our American sense of humor my friend!” Tesla walked out on the alternative option offered—an extra 10 dollars a week pay raise. And he remained bitter in the aftermath of his incident with Edison.
The day after Edison died the New York Times contained extensive coverage of Edison’s life, with the only negative opinion coming from Tesla, who was quoted as saying,
‘He had no hobby, cared for no sort of amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene… His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 per cent of the labor. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor’s instinct and practical American sense.”
Just before Edison died, he said his biggest mistake he had made was in trying to develop directed current, rather than the superior alternating current (AC) system that Tesla had brought to fruition in Buffalo and had put within his grasp.
On This day November 15th— the City of Buffalo joined the power grid being generated from Niagara Falls. It became the first long distance transmission of electricity for commercial purposes. With this new success, new industry moved into the area.
Tesla—the man who invented the 20th century—is a cherished Buffalo memory.
And That’s the news from On This Day from Buffalo World.
Hmmm, pity to end just here now….Tesla once wrote:
“I have not thought it hazardous to predict, that wars in the future will be waged by electrical means.” —Nikola Tesla, 1915
Makes one wonder. Tesla had offered the US War Department a Peace Beam– lovely euphemism for a death ray beam that would burn everything in its path. When Tesla died in a NY hotel room at age 86, impoverished yet with over 100 patents to his name, the US goverment seized all that lay within his rooms and kept it top secret.
A year after Tesla died, the US Supreme Court agreed it was he who actually invented the radio as we know it…Tesla likely did invent the 20th century. And his most important discoveries about electricity that has changed the world more than we can imagine found their birth in Buffalo. No surprise.

Written by Bill Zimmermann

Bill Zimmermann

Bill runs Seven Seas Sailing school, and is a staunch waterfront activist. He is also heavily involved with preserving, maintaining, and promoting the South Buffalo Lighthouse. When Bill first started writing for Buffalo Rising, he wrote an article a day for 365 days - each article coincided with a significant historic event that happened in Buffalo on that same day.

View All Articles by Bill Zimmermann
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