If you have read me for a while, then you know I am a big fan of Thomas Edison. I think there should be a national holiday devoted to him, if simply for THIS:
But, like Steve Jobs, Edison was not only a great inventor, he was a shrewd businessman, and could sometimes be ruthless.
As many inventors find out, your ideas can be stolen with ease. And the big guys do it without remorse. It takes more than just genius to get an invention out into the world.
Sometimes, it takes a bit more.
For instance: What did Thomas Edison do to the great Nikolas Tesla? Read and find out:
From The 48 Laws of Power:
When Tesla met Edison in New York, the famous inventor hired him on the spot. Tesla worked eighteen hour days, finding ways to improve the primitive Edison dynamos. Finally, he offered to redesign them completely. To Edison this seemed a monumental task that could last year’s without paying off, but he told Tesla, “There’s fifty thousand dollars in it for you—if you can do it.” Tesla labored day and night on the project and after only a year he produced a greatly improved version of the dynamo, complete with automatic controls. He went to Edison to break the good news and receive his $50,000. Edison was pleased with the improvement, for which he and his company would take credit, but when it came to the issue of the money he told the young Serb, “Tesla, you don’t understand our American humor.” And offered a small raise instead.
Tesla’s obsession was to create an alternation current system (AC) of electricity. Edison believed in the direct current system (DC), and not only refused to support Tesla’s research but later did all he could to sabotage him. Tesla turned to the great Pittsburgh magnate George Westinghouse, who had started his own electricity company. Westinghouse completely funded Tesla’s research and offered him a generous royalty agreement on future profits. The AC system Tesla developed is still the standard today but after patents were filed in his name, other scientists came forward to take credit of the invention, claiming that they had laid the groundwork for him. His name was lost in the shuffle, and the public came to associate the invention with Westinghouse himself.
A year later, Westinghouse was caught in a takeover bid from J. P. Morgan, who made him rescind the generous royalty contract he has signed with Tesla. Westinghouse explained to the scientist that his company would not survive if it had to pay him his full royalties: He persuaded Tesla to accept a buyout of his patents of $216,000 a large sum, no doubt, but far less that then $12 million they were worth at that time. The financiers had divested Tesla of the riches, the patents, and essentially the credit for the greatest invention of his career.
The name of Marconi is forever linked with the invention of radio. But few know that in producing his invention, he broadcast a signal across the English Channel in 1899–Marconi made use of a patent Tesla had filed in 1897, and that his work depended on Tesla’s research. Once again Tesla received no money and no credit. Tesla invented an induction motor as well as the AC power system, and he is the real “father of radio.” Yet none of these discoveries bear his name. As an old man, he lived in poverty.
So, yes. Tesla remained a Nobody. Unwise to the ‘businesses’ of stealing ideas.
And I often wonder who was the REAL Tesla behind Bill Gates?
The world owes just as much to Nicolas Tesla as they do to Thomas Edison. But sometimes genius, just can’t get away from the lab…their minds won’t let them.
Nevertheless….there is one man who knows Tesla’s and won’t let anybody forget his name.
Thanks to Elton Musk, we now remember the name of Tesla. And we know that Elton Musk, follows the path of them both.