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Nikola Tesla: Research in High Frequency Phenomena, 1894

Coming to America

Nikola Tesla arrived in New York on June 6, 1884, set out to look for the friend he would live with, stopped to do an engine repair job he happened to find along the way, and met with Thomas Edison, a meeting he described as "a memorable event in my life."

Working for Edison, Tesla again advanced quickly, his many patentable designs improved efficiency and controls. Tesla again became convinced that Edison had not lived up to a promise of bonuses and he resigned from the company within a year.

By this time, Tesla's engineering reputation was known and he found financial backing to develop his cherished AC generators and motors. The Tesla Light and Manufacturing Company was established and began to produce AC-driven arc lighting. Following completion of the project that illuminated the city of Rahway, New Jersey, Tesla expected to go on to manufacture his generators but his naivety brought failure. In the fall of 1886, the backers disagreed with Tesla, tricked him out of his money and patents, and left him penniless.

In the next step of his eventful life, Tesla spent the winter of 1886 working as a ditch digger and no doubt telling everyone he met of his AC electricity systems. A foreman recognized his promising laborer and introduced him to superiors who also appreciated his possibilities.