5. Traveling TO AMERICA with an Oceanliner
Thrilled by Europe, Tesla boarded a boat in Liverpool and immigrated to New York.
On the ship he already encountered the horrors of emigrant destinies of that age.
“The utter failure of my attempts to raise capital for development was another disappointment and when Mr. Batchellor prest me to go to America with a view of redesigning the Edison machines, I determined to try my fortunes in the Land of Golden Promise. But the chance was nearly missed. I liquefied my modest assets, secured accommodations and found myself at the railroad station as the train was pulling out. at that moment I discovered that my money and tickets were gone. What to do was the question. Hercules had plenty of time to deliberate but I had to decide while running alongside the train with opposite feelings surging in my brain like condenser oscillations. resolve, helped by dexterity, won out in the nick of time and upon passing thru the usual experiences, as trivial as unpleasant, I managed to embark for New York with the remnants of my belongings, some poems, and articles I had written, and a package of calculations relating to solutions of an unsolvable integral and my flying machine. During the voyage, I sat most of the time at the stern of the ship watching for an opportunity to save somebody from a watery grave, without the slightest thought of danger. later when I had absorbed some of the practical American sense I shivered at the recollection and marveled at my former folly. “
“My Inventions”, Nikola Tesla, 1919
1. CHILDHOOD in Lika
In 1856, in the small village of Smiljan, as a story said, at the stormy summer night, under the strong lightning fire, Nikola Tesla was born.
Same year, the father of modern illusionism and the creator of the first human-like automatons - Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin - had saved the French government from the Algerian rebellion, by performing an electromagnet trick on the stage of the Bab Azoun Theater.
In this “room”, under the treetops of a linden tree, a symbol of Slavs and a shield against thunder, visitors enter Lika, where Tesla is observing them from Samograd cave in Velebit mountain, ready to embark on a journey of a lifetime.
Visitors can take a seat at the meadow in front of Tesla's birth house, and let the story to unfold, feeling the strength and beauty of surrounding landscape, which influenced Tesla curiosity to research forces of nature, and already as a small boy at age of 5, to created his 1st May Bug turbine.
Here visitor will also learn about Tesla’s family roots, his intimate relation to his beloved black cat Mačak, and the mystery of the cave Samograd, where Tesla use to spend time at his teenage years.
Looking at this little coincidence, we can’t deny that it is for the accomplishments and style of the J. E. R. Houdin, who even before Tesla’s birth, had his entire home fully equipped with electricity and who made illusionism to become a most respectful theatrical entertainment of that time, that Tesla, inspired by J. E. R. Houdin, later on in his business relations, took an illusionist style to present his inventions, and that helped him tremendously to prosper in his achievements.
2. SCHOOL AGE in Rakovac
Continuing through the town of Karlovac, visitor get to know the starting point of Tesla's education in physics, science and engineering, through recreation of his school class with original furniture and instruments and original school books, that are for the 1st time exhibited outside of the Rakovac Gymnasium, where Tesla for the first time was able to see the scientific instruments and test his early ideas on them.
Motivated and encouraged by professor Sekulić, Tesla decides that his life path is precisely in discovering the secrets of nature, which he decided to harness for human needs.
Having also seen in the lab the lithograph of the Niagara Falls, enthralled by the beauty and force of nature, Tesla decides that someday he will go to those falls and tame them for the good of man, which he eventually does. The dream of a 15-year old shall in less than 15 years become a path to the achievement of man’s greatest technological stride that has changed the world forever – Tesla’s power plant on the Niagara.
Completely certain of his decision not to be a priest, as his father had envisaged, having finished high school in Rakovac, Tesla spends nine months on Velebit, communing with nature and Mark Twain’s books. Later on when he came to New York, Mark Twain became his best friend.
At that time Tesla also read a recently published bestseller „The Power of the Coming Race“, written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, which is consider to be the 1st SF Novel, featuring the automatons and mastering of the electromagnetic energy of the earth’s core, in order to create a civilization in which the most important paradigm is the beauty of creating and learning. Later on, in his mature age, Tesla admitted that this novel was his main motivation and inspiration to leave his homeland and search for more appropriate places, where he will be able to learn and work on his futuristic ideas.
3. Leaving for EUROPE
Departing for Europe to continue his education, Tesla discovered the wonderful world of art and culture, and a newly born, nature-inspired style – Art Nouveau and rise of various „Scientific Amuesmet“ performances and gadgets of the 19th century.
Tesla was inspired by this wonderful world of Europe, the scientific achievements in optics, light, electricity and movement, the birth of the new art of photography, film and animated film through a series of different optical toys that were all the rage in the world of “entertainment” of the time.
People must have experimented with optical phenomena since prehistoric times and played with objects that influenced the experience of light, color, and shadow. Optical toys very especially popular, forming a group of scientific optical devices with some entertainment value.
Many of these were also known as “Philosophical Toys” when they were developed in the 19th century.
This is depicted for visitors with the original exhibits of various „glasses“ and originals together with interactive replicas of optical toys - a simplified version of zoopraxiscope, that was the first film projector invented by Muybridge, who later on, collaborated closely with Edison in development of cinema.
4. AC discovery in BUDAPEST
Tesla arrived to Budapest at 1881.
At this time, Tesla got his first job in Bell’s office in Budapest as a draughtsman, which exhausted him greatly because he didn’t know how to draw.
He worked on perfecting the telephone and created a telephone amplifier, which resulted in the creation of teatrophone – an entertainment device that enabled for the 1st time long-distance transmission of entertaining “program”. In particular, that was used for listening to opera rehearsals, plays and similar events in the waiting rooms of the post offices or factories for the lower middle class and poor citizens.
All to all, inspired by impressive art and culture of new Europe, trilled with the new possibilities, motivated by his teacher in Prague, where he already started to construct his AC motor, Tesla an evening, while walking in the city park in Budapest at 1882 had a bliss while reading Faust.
Watching the sunset, with his brain already tickled with all the sensations and his endless researches, inspired by Goethe's poetry and philosophy hidden within the FAUST, he discovered the principle of the rotating magnetic field, after which nothing would be the same.