Tesla astonished the world by demonstrating the wonders of alternating current electricity at the World Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. Alternating current became standard power in the 20th Century. This accomplishment changed the world. He designed the first hydroelectric powerplant in Niagara Falls in 1895, which was the final victory of alternating current. The achievement was covered widely in the world press, and Tesla was praised as a hero world wide. King Nikola of Montenegro conferred upon him the Order of Danilo.
Tesla was a pioneer in many fields. The Tesla coil, which he invented in 1891, is widely used today in radio and television sets and other electronic equipment. That year also marked the date of Tesla’s United States citizenship. His alternating current induction motor is considered one of the ten greatest discoveries of all time. Among his discoveries are the fluorescent light, laser beam, wireless communications, wireless transmission
of electrical energy, remote control, robotics, Tesla’s turbines and vertical take off aircraft. Tesla is the father of the radio and the modern electrical transmissions systems. He registered over 700 patents worldwide. His vision included exploration of solar energy and the power of the sea. He foresaw interplanetary communications and satellites.
The Century Magazine published Tesla’s principles of telegraphy without wires, popularizing scientific lectures given before Franklin Institute in February 1893.
The Electrical Review in 1896 published X-rays of a man, made by Tesla, with X-ray tubes of his own design. They appeared at the same time as when Roentgen announced his discovery of X-rays. Tesla never attempted to proclaim priority. Roentgen congratulated Tesla on his sophisticated X-ray pictures, and Tesla even wrote Roentgen’s name on one of his films. He experimented with shadowgraphs similar to those that later were to be used by Wilhelm Rontgen when he discovered X-rays in 1895. Tesla’s countless experiments included work on a carbon button lamp, on the power of electrical resonance, and on various types of lightning. Tesla invented the special vacuum tube which emitted light to be used in photography.
The breadth of his inventions is demonstrated by his patents for a bladeless steam turbine based on a spiral flow principle. Tesla also patented a pump design to operate at extremely high temperature.
Nikola Tesla patented the basic system of radio in 1896. His published schematic diagrams describing all the basic elements of the radio transmitter which was later used by Marconi.
In 1896 Tesla constructed an instrument to receive radio waves. He experimented with this device and transmitted radio waves from his laboratory on South 5th Avenue. to the Gerlach Hotel at 27th Street in Manhattan.