The Story of Nikola Tesla

Scammed by Thomas Edison, abandoned by JP Morgan

Mario Gabriele
6 min readOct 9, 2020


Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor of his era. He died penniless and alone, swindled by both Thomas Edison and JP Morgan.

Tesla was born in 1856 in a mountainous region of Croatia. His father was a Serbian-Orthodox priest, learned. But Nikola got his gifts from his mother. Though she’d never attended school, Duka Tesla had a knack for building appliances. She also had a remarkable memory.

Nikola’s gifts were apparent from an early age. For one thing, he had a photographic memory, like his mother. He also had a talent for numbers, performing integrated calculus in his head with such ease, teachers thought he was cheating.

His childhood was not always easy. In his teen years, he contracted cholera, a severe case. For 9 months, he was bedridden. Periods of sickness marked his life. They also served as inspiration. In his feeble, altered state, Nikola sometimes saw lights, visions, inventions.

Nikola’s father had wanted him to follow him into the clergy. But as his son lay sick, he made a promise. If Nikola recovered, he could go to engineering school. He was at the Austrian Polytechnic in 2 years.

As an aside, Nikola later ascribed his recovery to reading the works of Mark Twain. The men later became friends, spending time at Tesla’s lab.

“Your son is a star of first rank.”

That was the commendation Nikola’s father received from the dean after his son’s first year of university. Nikola was a relentless student, working 3am — 11pm, 7 days/week. Teachers worried he would, literally, work himself to death.



Mario Gabriele

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