Tesla at age 64
Quotes from Dr. Nikola Tesla...

On Invention: It is the most important product of man's creative brain. The ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of human nature to human needs.

Of all the frictional resistance, the one that most retards human movement is ignorance, what Buddha called "the greatest evil in the world." The friction which results from ignorance can be reduced only by the spread of knowledge and the unification of the heterogeneous elements of humanity. No effort could be better spent.

Universal peace as a result of cumulative effort through centuries past might come into existence quickly -- not unlike a crystal that suddenly forms in a solution which has been slowly prepared.

George Westinghouse was a man with tremendous potential energy of which only part had taken kinetic form. Like a lion in the forest, he breathed deep and with delight the smoky air of his Pittsburgh factories. Always affable and polite, he stood in marked contrast to the small-minded financiers I had been trying to negotiate with before I met him. Yet, no fiercer adversary could have been found when aroused. Westinghouse welcomed the struggle and never lost confidence. When others would give up in despair, he triumphed.

The last 29 days of the month [are] the hardest.

No matter what we attempt to do, no matter to what fields we turn our efforts, we are dependent on power. We have to evolve means of obtaining energy from stores which are forever inexhaustible, to perfect methods which do not imply consumption and waste of any material whatever. If we use fuel to get our power, we are living on our capital and exhausting it rapidly. This method is barbarous and wantonly wasteful and will have to be stopped in the interest of coming generations.

The scientific man does not aim at an immediate result. He does not expect that his advanced ideas will be readily taken up. His work is like that of a planter -- for the future. His duty is to lay foundation of those who are to come and point the way.

Even matter called inorganic, believed to be dead, responds to irritants and gives unmistakable evidence of a living principle within. Everything that exists, organic or inorganic, animated or inert, is susceptible to stimulus from the outside.

Science is but a perversion of itself unless it has as its ultimate goal the betterment of humanity.

We are confronted with portentous problems which can not be solved just by providing for our material existence, however abundantly. On the contrary, progress in this direction is fraught with hazards and perils not less menacing than those born from want and suffering. If we were to release the energy of the atoms or discover some other way of developing cheap and unlimited power at any point of the globe this accomplishment, instead of being a blessing, might bring disaster to mankind... The greatest good will come from the technical improvements tending to unification and harmony, and my wireless transmitter is preeminently such. By its means the human voice and likeness will be reproduced everywhere and factories driven thousands of miles from waterfalls furnishing the power; aerial machines will be propelled around the earth without a stop and the sun's energy controlled to create lakes and rivers for motive purposes and transformation of arid deserts into fertile land... (Nikola Tesla, "My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla", Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)

War cannot be avoided until the physical cause for its recurrence is removed and this, in the last analysis, is the vast extent of the planet on which we live. Only through annihilation of distance in every respect, as the conveyance of intelligence, transport of passengers and supplies and transmission of energy will conditions be brought about some day, insuring permanency of friendly relations. What we now want is closer contact and better understanding between individuals and communities all over the earth, and the elimination of egoism and pride which is always prone to plunge the world into primeval barbarism and strife... Peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment... (Nikola Tesla, "My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla", Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)

In our dynamo machines, it is well known, we generate alternate currents which we direct by means of a commutator, a complicated device and, it may be justly said, the source of most of the troubles experienced in the operation of the machines. Now, the currents, so directed cannot be utilized in the motor, but must - again by means of a similar unreliable device - be reconverted into their original state of alternate currents. The function of the commutator is entirely external, and in no way does it affect the internal workings of the machines. In reality, therefore, all machines are alternate current machines, the currents appearing as continuous only in the external circuit during the transfer from generator to motor. In view simply of this fact, alternate currents would commend themselves as a more direct application of electrical energy, and the employment of continuous currents would only be justified if we had dynamos which would primarily generate, and motors which would be directly actuated by, such currents. (Adopted from T.C. Martin, "The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla," New Work: Electrical Engineer, 1894, pp. 9-11.)

On George Westinghouse: George Westinghouse was, in my opinion, the only man on this globe who could take my alternating-current system under the circumstances then existing and win the battle against prejudice and money power. He was a pioneer of imposing stature, one of the world's true nobleman of whom America may well be proud and to whom humanity owes an immense debt of gratitude. (Speech, Institute of Immigrant Welfare, Hotel Baltimore, New York, May 12, 1938, read in absentia.)

On Edison: If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search. ...

I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor. (New York Times, October 19, 1931.)

On Voltaire: I had a veritable mania for finishing whatever I began, which often got me into difficulties. On one occasion I started to read the works of Voltaire when I learned, to my dismay, that there were close on one hundred large volumes in small print which that monster had written while drinking seventy-two cups of black coffee per diem. It had to be done, but when I laid aside the last book I was very glad, and said, "Never more! (Nikola Tesla, "My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla", Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)

On Mark Twain: I had hardly completed my course at the Real Gymnasium when I was prostrated with a dangerous illness or rather, a score of them, and my condition became so desperate that I was given up by physicians. During this period I was permitted to read constantly, obtaining books from the Public Library which had been neglected and entrusted to me for classification of the works and preparation of the catalogues. One day I was handed a few volumes of new literature unlike anything I had ever read before and so captivating as to make me utterly forget my hopeless state. They were the earlier works of Mark Twain and to them might have been due the miraculous recovery which followed. Twenty-five years later, when I met Mr. Clemens and we formed a friendship between us, I told him of the experience and was amazed to see that great man of laughter burst into tears. (Nikola Tesla, "My Inventions: the autobiography of Nikola Tesla", Hart Bros., 1982. Originally appeared in the Electrical experimenter magazine in 1919.)

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