LEGACY: The Life of Nikola Tesla (Chapter 5, page 1 of 5)


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Chapter 5

Dr. Cunningham is in charge of the Continental Edison Company in Paris. Tesla is in his office discussing alternating current to solve some of the electrical problems.

Tesla says, "The company needs to work on alternating current. It is the wave of the future."

Dr. Cunningham responded, "I can't speak or override Edison's patents; all I can suggest is that you form your own company."

"I'm not interested in building my own business. There's much we can do here."

Dr. Cunningham shrugs, "I'm limited; my hands are tied. However, there are some installations in France and Germany that need your expertise. The powerhouses are having trouble carrying the load. Can you handle the problem?"

"Sure, and I speak French and German fluently."

He travels to the various factories and investigates the various problems and makes notations. He talks with the foremen and checks the transmission lines. He returns to Dr. Cunningham's office. "I suggest you improve the dynamos. They're hindering your capacity. I also suggest we design some automatic regulators. That should solve the problem at all the facilities."

"Tesla, would you like to work in the machine shop in Strassbourg to help fix a problem?" asked Dr. Cunningham. "We'll give you extra pay."

Weeks later Nikola had a machinist apron over his suit, polishing a piece of equipment to an exact dimension. Then he starts assembling a dynamo to generate the two-phase alternating current. He starts up the power generator, and thinks quietly to himself, "If I close the switch and if the motor turns, my theory is correct."

He shuffles parts around, rechecks his dynamo, closes the switch, closes his eyes for a minute, looks up to the ceiling and instantly the armature turns, builds up to full speed in a flash and continues to operate in complete silence. He closes the reversing switch and the armature quickly stops and quickly starts turning in the opposite direction. Very excited, Tesla says to himself, "I've done it. I've done it! My theory is right."

Weeks later he returns to Paris. He enters Dr. Cunningham's office in an attempt to collect his promised increased compensation. "I'm over Production; I have no authority over your compensation. Check with the Accounting Department."

After being sent from one office to another, he returns to Dr. Cunningham's office. Tesla is angry. "I resign. I'm not renewing my offer to stay. I must move on."

Dr. Cunningham realizes how valuable Nikola is and asks, "Do you want to go to America to meet Mr. Edison to see if you can work together?"

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