Tesla said the idea came to him in blinding flash of light.
t’s the ‘can’t argue with that’ choice, we grant you. But it’s easy to underestimate the sheer simplicity of Tesla’s original prototype motor. In basic terms it is a metal wire would round a steel casing. Inside, a smaller rotor on a shaft is also wound with metal wire. The rotor does not touch the casing. Simultaneously supplying an alternating current to the outer windings and inner rotor creates a magnetic field. The rotor ‘chases’ the current, spinning and producing torque. Like most of his inventions, Tesla said the idea came to him in blinding flash of light. Whilst walking through a park in Budapest reciting Goethe’s Faust, the idea appeared, fully formed and with detailed dimensions.
Filed in 1888, patent number 381,968 detailed a alternating current motor. Not only was it far more rugged and reliable than rival ‘brush’ motors, it’ was cheaper to produce.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…
Tesla began to make increasingly bizarre claims about his inventions, and died almost penniless in his room at the Hotel New Yorker (perhaps related to the fact he was known to spend up to 48-hours playing cards). The induction motor can be found in almost any household appliance, although the largest prototype is now in the Smithsonian.
What do you think of our list of game-changing prototypes? Here is our collection so far - have we missed anything? Stay tuned for more throughout Christmas and New Year.