top of page

Nikola Tesla Timeline

Nikola Tesla Spirit, Work, Vision.

Courtesy of the Nikola Tesla Museum

  • July 10, 1856, Smiljan, Austrian Empire, Nikola Tesla was born ‘at the stroke of midnight’ during a summer storm and lightning. The midwife commented, ‘He'll be a child of the storm’, to which Djuka replied, ‘No, a child of light’.

  • In 1862, Tesla enrolled in first of Elementary School grade in Smiljan.

  • In 1862, the Tesla family moved to Gospić, where Tesla's father worked as parish priest. Nikola completed Elementary School and Technical School in Gospic.

  • In 1870, Tesla moved to Karlovac to attend high school at the 'Higher Real Gymnasium'. The Karlovac School was condensed into three years and the language of instruction was German.

  • In 1874 Tesla returned to Gospic. Shortly after arriving he contracts Cholera. Tesla's father promised to send him to the best engineering school if he recovered from the illness. 

  • 1875-1877 Tesla studied engineering at the Graz Polytechnic School Joanneum, for two full years and the fall term of the third.

  • In 1878 in Maribor (Slovenia) Nikola Tesla found temporary employment as a draftsman with a tool and die machine shop.

  • In 1880 Tesla studied natural philosophy to complete his education at Charles' University in Prague.

  • In 1881 in Budapest Tesla obtained employment as a ‘chief electrician’ in the Central Telephone Office. Tesla's first invention was a device for voice amplification on the telephone. 

  • February, 1882 Budapest City Park: Nikola Tesla discovered the principle of creating a rotating magnetic field with alternating current!

  • In 1882 Employed by Continental Edison in Paris. 

  • In 1883 in Strasbourg built the first World's induction motor.  

  • In 1884 Tesla accepted an offer from Charles Bachelor to work for the Edison factory in New York, USA. 

  • 1885 Tesla's First Company: The Electric Light and Manufacturing Co. 

  • 1887 Tesla founded ‘The Tesla Electric Co.’ and built his first polyphase induction motors and generators. 

  • 1888: United State Office approves Tesla's basic patents for the polyphase system: ‘Electro magnetic motor’, ‘Electrical Transmission of Power’, and ‘System of Electrical Distribution’.

  • In 1889 Tesla traveled to Europe, Exposition Universelle in

       Paris and Gospic. 

  • In 1891 Tesla invented the Resonant Transformer, Tesla Coil, and became a naturalized citizen of the United State of America. 

  • In 1892 Tesla delivered a series of lectures in London, Europe. Receiving news of his mother's illness, Tesla cancels all lectures planned and visits Gospic for the last time. Tesla visits Belgrade and Zagreb. 

  • In 1893 Great success at the Chicago World's Fair! Alternating Current Power Plant at World's Fair, Chicago. Tesla demonstrates the safety of AC electricity by passing high frequency AC through his body. 

  • 1895: Tesla's Fifth Avenue Laboratory caught fire!

  • 1896: World's First Hydroelectric Plant based on Tesla's patents began operation. The first kilowatts were transmitted from Niagara to the

       city of Buffalo. 

  • 1897: Tesla submitted two patent applications for radio. 

  • 1898: Tesla demonstrated operation of the ‘Teleautomation’ boat.

  • 1899: Experiments in Colorado Springs. 

  • 1901-1902: Tesla built a Laboratory with a Transmission Tower on

       Long Island. 

  • 1903-1906: the great business magnate and financier of this project, John Pierpont Morgan, withdrew from further investment. 

  • 1917: Wardenclyffe Tower destroyed.

  • 1919: Tesla published ‘My Inventions’ in the magazine ‘Electrical Experimenter’ that was edited by the inventor Hugo Gernsback. 

  • 1922: Tesla's beloved pigeon dies. 

  • 1924: Tesla friend Katharine Johnson died.

  • 1928: final patent ‘Apparatus for Aerial Transportation.’

  • 1936: Tesla was hit by a car and he was severely injured. 

  • 1942: Tesla meets his Royal Highness, King Petar Karadjordjevic II, in the New Yorker Hotel. 

  • January 7th, 1943: Nikola Tesla died in room #3327 on the 33rd floor of the Hotel New Yorker in New York city.

  • La Guardia Tribute to Nikola Tesla.

Check out these over 120 photos and documents from the Nikola Tesla Museum archives

bottom of page