July 10 - Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla

   Posted on July 10, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on July 10, 2011:

Just a few days before I wrote this post - more than a decade ago - I was visiting the Niagara Falls in New York. I was marveling at the power of the Niagara Falls, I was busy feeling the spray and mist, hearing the thunder of millions of gallons of water falling 60 to 180 feet and pulverizing the rocks below, and seeing the green-blue water froth white with speed and impact. If you ever get a chance to see Niagara Falls, go for it!

As I walked away from the falls, I saw a large statue of a man perched on a stool, reading or studying a plan or something. I ran to see who the statue depicted—and I was startled to see it was scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla!

What is a statue of this man, who was an ethnic Serb, born on this day in 1856 in the Austrian Empire, which became Yugoslavia and is now Croatia—what is a statue of Nikola Tesla doing here in Niagara Falls, New York, USA?

Apparently Tesla came to the U.S. in 1884. He built the first hydro-electric plant in Niagara Falls, and (according to the Tesla Memorial Society of NY), this was the “final victory of Tesla's Alternating Current over [Thomas] Edison's Direct Current.” At one time, the Niagara Falls power plant was the largest in the world.

By the way, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls has a statue of Tesla, too. Rather than looking academic, this statue depicts Tesla in quite a dashing pose, holding onto his top hat and flourishing his cane. There are plaques and other memorials in the area devoted to Tesla, as well!

I do love to see a memorial created to a scientist rather than a warrior!

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