Buffalo in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
— Inventor and Scientist —
On November 15, 1896, Buffalo became the first city in the world to receive long-distance alternating current (AC) electricity which led eventually to the electrification of the globe. The Buffalo Enquirer wrote:
“It was the journey of God’s own Lightning to the benefit of all mankind”
The man behind this world-wide transformational achievement was Nikola Tesla, a Serbian born physicist and prolific inventor, who became a naturalized American Citizen.
In addition to Tesla's invention of the AC Rotating Magnetic Field Motor, he received patents for hundreds on inventions including:
AC Polyphase Induction Generators
AC Polyphase Induction Motors
Wireless Telegraphy (Radio)
He also did pioneering research in:
Fluorescent and Neon Lights
Nikola Tesla’s Buffalo Connection
Tesla and George Westinghouse won the Niagara River Power Project contract to transmit AC electricity
Tesla, the Controlling Engineer of the Niagara Power Project, surveyed progress at the Falls in 1896 and prophesied:
“The result of this great development of electric power will be that the Falls and Buffalo will join each other and become one great city. United, they will form the greatest city in the world.”
To celebrate Buffalo's position as the first Electric City on Earth, a gala “Power Banquet” was held on January 12, 1897 at the newly built Ellicott Square Building (across the street) and Tesla, in his keynote address said:
“We shall hope that other cities... will soon follow Buffalo's lead. This fortunate city herself is to be congratulated. With resources now unequaled, with commercial facilities and advantages such as a few cities in the world possess, and with the enthusiasm and progressive spirit of its citizens, it is sure to become one of the greatest industrial centers of the globe.”
Nikola Tesla, The Man
Tesla had many friends, including some quite famous, such as Mark Twain and Stanford White. Yet he valued solitude and observed:
“The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude.
Tesla never married, explaining:
“Marriage is for an Artist, yes; for a Musician, yes; for a Writer, yes; but for an inventor, no. The first three must gain an inspiration from a woman's influence and be led by their love of finer achievement, but an inventor has so intense a nature with so much of it in wild, passionate quality that in giving himself to a woman he might love, he would give everything and so take everything from his chosen field. it is a pity, too, for sometimes we feel so lonely ...”
Tesla was not an avaricious man, explaining:
“The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the service of manking. Money does not represent such a value as men have placed on it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.”
In 1907 George Westinghouse asked Tesla to renegotiate his Royalty Contract. Loyal to his friend, Tesla tore up his contract to help the company survive. He was owed $300 million; he was give $60,000.
Tesla arrived in America with 4 cents in his pocket, along with a few books, and died on January 7, 1943, alone and impoverished. His last 10 years at The New Yorker Hotel were funded by the Westinghouse Corporation.
Erected 2020 by Buffalo Niagara Nikola Tesla Council.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Science & Medicine. A significant historical year for this entry is 1896.
Location. 42° 52.999′ N, 78° 52.496′ W. Marker is in Buffalo, New York, in Erie County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and North Division Street, on the right when traveling north on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Buffalo NY 14203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Ellicott Square (within shouting distance of this marker); First Greek Settlers of Buffalo (within shouting distance of this marker); General Kazimierz Pulaski (within shouting distance of this marker); Ellicott Square Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); St. Paul's Cathedral (about 300 feet away); The City of Buffalo Sent 18893 Men to Serve in the Great War (about 300 feet away); Saint Paul's Episcopal Church (about 300 feet away); Prudential (Guaranty) Building (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Buffalo.
Also see . . . Nikola Tesla (Wikipedia). (Submitted on August 2, 2021, by Michael Herrick of Southbury, Connecticut.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 31, 2021, by Paige Miller of Getzville, New York. This page has been viewed 167 times since then and 118 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 31, 2021, by Paige Miller of Getzville, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.