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Nikola Tesla's technology revolutionized the electrical age of the 20th century. Although eclipsed in fame by Edison and Marconi, it was Tesla's vision that paved the way for today's wireless world. His fertile but undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius but also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator.
Regarded by many as an eccentric genius, Nikola Tesla's system of alternating current is the basis of the electrical grid that makes daily life possible in the 21st century. One hundred years ago, he paved the way toward robots, radio, radar, remote control, and the wireless transmission of messages and pictures. He dreamed of harnessing the wind and the sun to make free energy available for all.
During the last part of the 19th century, George Westinghouse had made his fortune through his invention, the railroad air brake. Now a wealthy man, Westinghouse set his sights on the future, and the future was electricity.
In Nikola Tesla's original contract with George Westinghouse, the inventor was promised a bonus of $2.50 for every horsepower of alternating current sold. But making Tesla's AC motor was expensive, and Westinghouse soon told Tesla he wouldn't be able to pay him what was originally promised.
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