The original cover art for Margaret Cheney's Tesla - Man out of Time

1890« Previous year|Next year »

November, 1890: Discovers Wireless Power

With high frequencies, Tesla developed some of the first neon and fluorescent illumination. He also took the first x-ray photographs. But these discoveries paled in comparison to his illuminating a vacuum tube wirelessly - having transmitted energy through the air. This was the beginning of Tesla's lifelong obsession - the wireless transmission of energy.

August 6th, 1890: Murderer "Westinghoused"

As part of an Edison-sponsored smear campaign against Westinghouse, H.P. Brown, an Edison ally and manufacturer of electric chairs, began electrocuting animals with A.C. The process was termed "Westinghoused" and was used to demonstrate the dangers of the new technology. That same year, the state of New York convicted William Kemmler of killing his mistress with an axe and sentenced him to die in the electric chair. Edison provided his staff to assist Brown in an effort to further damage Westinghouse's public image. The execution was a total disaster and Westinghouse suffered a great blow.

1890: Tesla Forfeits A.C. Royalties

After failing to adapt to the higher frequency Westinghouse engineers required, work on the Tesla induction is abandoned. Tesla and Westinghouse renegotiate and Tesla agrees to remove the royalties clause from their contract. This was a fateful decision and a sacrifice that would haunt Tesla for the rest of his life.

1890: Tesla Opens 5th Ave. Lab

There are no documented reasons for Tesla's relocation of his laboratory from Grand St. to 33-35 South 5th Ave. (now called West Broadway). Perhaps it was a more convenient location or provided more space, as the new laboratory took up the entire fourth floor of the six-story building. What is clear is that some of Tesla's greatest accomplishments occurred in this lab before it was destroyed by fire in 1895.

The electrocution of convicted killer, William Kemmler.
The electrocution of convicted killer, William Kemmler.
The electrocution of convicted killer, William Kemmler. The earliest known photo of a Tesla coil in Tesla's 5th Ave. New York lab. An experimental tuning table used to receive wireless power in Tesla's 5th Ave. New York lab.