Category Archives: TESLA: Life & Times Podcast

The fascinating real life, inventions, and legacy of Nikola Tesla, told in a twice-monthly podcast.

Show Notes for Episode 18 – The Greatest Show On Earth (1891)

Tesla’s 1891 AIEE Lecture (complete text):

Tesla demonstrates his new lightbulbs

 

The SaskPower Nikola Tesla Quiz:

I got 90%--can YOU do better??

The History of Rome Podcast by Mike Duncan

Vini Vidi Vici

Seriously–just listen already.

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018 – Tesla – The Greatest Show On Earth (1891)

Tesla the Showman knocks ’em dead at the AIEE with a lecture for the ages and a breathtaking demonstration of high frequency AC. It was his ticket to fame and celebrity. 

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Show Notes for Episode 17 – The Biggest Mistake Nikola Tesla Ever Made (1890-1891)

As mentioned in this week’s episode, to get a good visual sense of how Tesla would use the ‘skin effect’ of his oscillating transformer to wow Gilded Age audiences, you need look no further than David Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla from the Christopher Nolan movie, The Prestige (if you haven’t seen it–seriously, do so right away):

And while there are apparently no photographs of these moments, Tesla would also create a glowing halo of energy around himself at his demonstrations, as illustrated here:

Tesla saturated with electricity glowed with a halo

(Source: New York World, 09 Dec 1906)

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017 – Tesla – The Biggest Mistake Nikola Tesla Ever Made (1890-1891)

Fresh from his return from Europe, Tesla goes on an inventing spree and dabbles in high-frequency currents. But when George Westinghouse comes calling and pleads poverty, Tesla makes a fateful and costly mistake…

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016 – Tesla – War of the Currents Part 4: The Executioner’s Current (1889-1890)

The War of the Currents enters its most ghoulish and macabre phase: when the combatants were willing to play with a man’s life. William Kemmler became the first person put to death by deliberate electrocution. Viewer discretion is very much advised.

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015 – Telsa – War of the Currents Part 3: Shock & Awe (1888-1889)

When New York became the first state to execute people using the electric chair, Edison and his DC supporters would do anything to ensure it was alternating current that powered “Old Sparky”…

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014 – Tesla – War of the Currents Part 2: First Casualties (1888)

War is hell, even when it’s the War of the Currents. Harold Brown’s campaign against AC turns deadly, as he conducts gruesome electrical experiments on stray dogs, and helps set the stage for New York’s first electric chair…

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013 – Tesla – War of the Currents Part 1: Opening Salvo (1886-1888)

The War of the Currents begins! Edison uses every dirty trick he can think of in the struggle for DC dominance vs. the AC upstart. There can be only one (format)!

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012 – Tesla – Tesla in Steel City (1889)

Did the Westinghouse engineers want Tesla to fail in Pittsburgh? He went to consult, but all Tesla found was a hornet’s nest of resentment, ego, and competing agendas. And what was Edison up to now that Westinghouse was a threat to his DC business? A current war is in the offing…

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011 – Tesla – Paying the Cost to Be the Boss (1888)

You could call this episode: “Tesla: The Art of the Deal”, as we see Tesla and his business partners Peck and Brown bluff, finagle, and finally negotiate the lucrative sale of the AC motor patents to George Westinghouse. The sale changed Tesla’s life–and ours–forever.

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