Gerald Durrell

British naturalist, zookeeper, conservationist, author and television presenter. Gerald Malcolm Durrell, OBE was born 7 January 1925 in Jamshedpur, India. He was the fourth and final child of Louisa Florence Dixie and Lawrence Samuel Durrell. Durrell’s father was a British engineer and, as was commonplace and befitting the family status, the infant Durrell spent most of his time in the company of an ayah (nursemaid). Durrell reportedly recalled his first visit to a zoo in India and attributed his lifelong love of animals to that encounter. The family moved to Britain shortly before the death of his father in 1928 and settled in the Upper Norwood, Crystal Palace area of South London Durrell was enrolled in Wickwood School, but frequently stayed at home feigning illness.

Mrs. Durrell moved with her three younger children (Leslie, Margaret and Gerald) to the Greek island of Corfu in 1935, joining her eldest son, Lawrence, who was living there with his wife. It was on Corfu that Durrell began to collect and keep the local fauna as pets. The family lived on Corfu until 1939. This interval was later the basis of the book My Family and Other Animals and its successors, Birds, Beasts, and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods, plus a few short stories such as “My Donkey Sally”. Durrell was home-schooled during this time by various family friends and private tutors, mostly friends of his eldest brother Lawrence (who later became a successful novelist).

Theodore Stephanides, a Greek doctor, scientist, poet, philosopher and a friend of one of Durrell’s tutors, became Durrell’s greatest friend and mentor, his ideas leaving a lasting impression on the young naturalist. Together, they examined Corfu’s fauna, which Durrell housed in a variety of items including test tubes and bathtubs. Stephanides’ daughter, Alexia Mercouri (born 1927), accompanied the two on their field trips. Another major influence during these formative years, according to Durrell, was the writing of French naturalist Jean Henri Fabre.

In 1939 Gerald, his mother, his brother Leslie and their Greek maid Maria Kondos moved back to Britain. However It was difficult to find a job during the Second World war and post-war years, especially for a home-schooled youth, but the enterprising Durrell worked as a helper at an aquarium and pet store. His call-up for the war came in 1943, but he was exempted from military duty on medical grounds, and asked to serve the war effort by working on a farm. After the war, Durrell joined Whipsnade Zoo as a junior or student keeper fulfilling a lifelong dream. Durrell left Whipsnade Zoo in May 1946 in order to join wildlife collecting expeditions of the time, but was denied a place in the voyages due to his lack of experience.

Durrell’s wildlife expeditions began with a 1947 trip to the British Cameroons (now part of Cameroon) with ornithologist John Yealland, financed by a £3,000 inheritance from his father on the occasion of his turning 21. The animals he brought back were sold to London Zoo, Chester Zoo, Paignton Zoo, Bristol Zoo and Belle Vue Zoo (Manchester). He continued such excursions for many decades, during which time he became famous for his work for wildlife conservation. He followed this successful expedition with two others, accompanied by fellow Whipsnade zookeeper Ken Smith: a repeat trip to the British Cameroon, and to British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1949 and 1950 respectively and met and befriended the shrewd and colourful Fon of Bafut Achirimbi II, an autocratic West African chieftain, who helped him organise future

Durrell was dedicated to looking after the animals he collected and housed and fed his captives with the best supplies obtainable, never over-collecting specimens, never trapping animals having merely “show value”, or those which would fetch high prices from collectors. Unfortunately Durrell and George Cansdale, superintendent at London Zoo, fell out and Durrell was blackballed by the British zoo community and could not secure a job in most zoos, ultimately securing a job at the aquarium at Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester where he remained for some time. Gerald Durrell married Jacqueline (‘Jacquie’) Sonia Wolfenden in 1951 after eloping due to opposition from her father They moved to Durrell’s sister Margaret’s Bournemouth boarding house. Jacquie accompanied Durrell on most of his following animal expeditions and helped found and manage the Jersey Zoo. With encouragement and assistance from Jacquie, and advice from elder brother Lawrence, Gerald Durrell started writing humorous autobiographical accounts to fund his expeditions and conservation efforts. His first book The Overloaded Ark was such a success, he wrote others including My Family and other Animals, A Zoo in My Luggage, Beasts in my Belfry, The Stationary Ark, Garden of the Gods. He visited South America again in 1954 however this was abandoned due to political unrest in Paraguay.

The publication of My Family and Other Animals in 1956 made Durrell a notable author and brought him public recognition as a naturalist and also helped to fund Durrell’s next expedition. Durrell’s disliked the way zoos were run, and believed that they should primarily act as reserves and regenerators ro conserve of endangered species, this made him contemplate founding his own zoo. So in 1957 he journeyed to Cameroon for the third and last time to collect animals which would form the core collection of his own zoo. This expedition was also filmed, as “To Bafut with Beagles”, this together with his autobiographical radio programme Encounters with Animals, made Durrell a regular with the BBC Natural History unit. On returning from Bafut, Durrell and wife Jacquie stayed with his sister Margaret at her boarding house in Bournemouth. His animals were housed in her gardens and garage on a temporary basis, while Durrell sought prospective sites for a zoo. This experience provided material for his book A Zoo in My Luggage.

In 1959 Durrell founded the Jersey Zoological Park (now Durrell Wildlife Park) to house his growing collection of animals. The site for the zoo, was a 17th-century manor house, Les Augres Manor, which Durrell leased to set up his zoo on the redesigned manor grounds. In the same year, Durrell undertook another, more successful expedition to South America to collect endangered species. The zoo was opened to the public in 1959. Both The zoo and the number of projects undertaken to save threatened wildlife in other parts of the world expanded and Durrell was instrumental in founding the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust (now Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust), on 6 July 1963 to cope with the increasingly difficult challenges of zoo, wildlife and habitat management.

In 1971 The Trust opened an international wing, the Wildlife Preservation Trust International, in the United States, to aid international conservation efforts in a better fashion. That year, the Trust bought out Les Augres Manor from its owner, Major Hugh Fraser, giving the zoo a permanent home. Durrell’s initiative caused the Fauna and Flora Preservation Society to start the World Conference on Breeding Endangered Species in Captivity as an Aid to their Survival in 1972 at Jersey, today one of the most prestigious conferences in the field. In 1972 Princess Anne also became a patron of the Trust. During The 1970s Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust became a leading zoo in the field of captive breeding, championing the cause among species like the lowland gorilla, and various Mauritian fauna. Durrell visited Mauritius several times coordinating large scale conservation efforts in Mauritius with conservationist Carl Jones, involving captive breeding programmes for native birds and reptiles, ecological recovery of Round Island, training local staff, and setting up local conservation facilities and the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation was founded in 1984.

Sadly Jacquie Durrell separated from and then divorced Gerald Durrell in 1979. Durrell married his second wife Lee McGeorge Durrell whom he had met in 1977 when he lectured at Duke University, where she was studying for a PhD in animal communication. They married in 1979. She co-authored a number of books with him, including The Amateur Naturalist, and became the Honorary Director of the Trust after his death. In 1978 Durrell started the training centre for conservationists at the zoo, As of 2005, over a thousand biologists, naturalists, zoo veterinarians and zoo architects from 104 countries have attended the International Training Centre. Durrell was also instrumental in forming the Captive Breeding Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union in 1982. In 1985 Durrell founded Wildlife Preservation Trust Canada, now Wildlife Preservation Canada, and launched The official appeal Saving Animals from Extinction in 1991.

In 1989, Gerald and Lee Durrell, along with David Attenborough and cricketer David Gower helped launch the World Land Trust (then the World Wide Land Conservation Trust). In order to purchase rainforest land in Belize as part of the Programme for Belize. Around this time Gerald Durrell developed a friendship with Charles Rycroft, who donated funds towards building works in Jersey (the Harcroft Lecture Theatre) and worldwide conservation work in East Africa and Madagascar. In 1990 the Trust established a conservation programme in Madagascar similar to the Mauritius programme. Durrell visited Madagascar in 1990 to start captive breeding of a number of endemic species like the aye aye. Durrell chose the dodo, the flightless bird of Mauritius that was hunted to extinction in the 17th century, as the logo for both the Jersey Zoo and the Trust.

Sadly The hard, outdoor lifestyle gave Durrell health problems in the 1980s. He underwent hip-replacement surgery in a bid to counter arthritis, but he also suffered from alcohol-related liver problems. His health deteriorated rapidly after the 1990 Madagascar trip. Durrell had a liver transplant in King’s College Hospital on 28 March 1994, but sadly died of septicaemia on 30 January 1995, shortly after his 70th birthday in Jersey General Hospital. His ashes are buried in Jersey Zoo, under a memorial plaque bearing a quote by William Beebe.

A memorial celebrating Durrell’s life and work was held at the Natural History Museum in London on 28 June 1995. Participants included personal friends such as David Attenborough and Princess Anne. Following his death, the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust was renamed Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust at the 40th anniversary of the zoo on 26 March 1999. The Wildlife Preservation Trust International also changed its name to Wildlife Trust in 2000, and adopted the logo of the black tamarin.

Durrell always intended writing books to help environmental causes and as a means to raise funds for his conservation work. Durrell’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, have a wry, loose autobiographical style that pokes fun at himself as well as those around him and are characterised by a love for nature and animals, dry wit, crisp descriptions, and humorous analogies of human beings with animals. A good example is the Corfu trilogy — My Family and Other Animals, Birds, Beasts and Relatives, and The Garden of the Gods which tells of his idyllic, if oddball, childhood on Corfu. The Corfu trilogy was also Later made into a TV series. Gerald Durrell also wrote short stories, like “Michelin Man”, Picnic and Suchlike Pandemonium, “The Entrance”. His book Marrying Off Mother and Other Stories also has a few short stories. Rosy is My Relative, is a story about a bequeathed elephant which Durrell claimed is based on real life events, and The Mockery Bird, the fable based loosely on the story of Mauritius and the dodo. The Stationary Ark is a collection of technical essays on zoo-keeping and conservation while The Amateur Naturalist is the definitive guide for budding naturalists. The Donkey Rustlers is set on a Greek island, and The Talking Parcel is a tale of children at large in a land of mythological creatures. Durrell also wrote many books for young children including The New Noah which recounts encounters with animals from Durrell’s previous expeditions, Puppy Tales, Island Zoo, Keeper, Toby the Tortoise, The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure and The Fantastic Flying Journey which are all lavishly illustrated. Durrell’s works have been translated into 31 languages and made into TV serials and feature films. He has large followings in Northern and Eastern Europe, Russia, Israel and in various Commonwealth countries, including India. The British Library houses a collection of Durrell’s books, presented by him to Alan G. Thomas, as part of the Lawrence Durrell Collection. Durrell was also a regular contributor to magazines like Harper’s, Atlantic Monthly, and the Sunday Times Supplement and his novels are included in the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books.He was also a regular book reviewer for the New York Times.

During his life Gerald Durrell received many honours in recognition of his huge contribution to wildlife cnservation; In 1981 Durrell was awarded the Order of the Golden Ark by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and also became a founding member of the World Cultural Council. In 1982 Durrell received the OBE. Durrell featured in the United Nations’ Roll of Honour for Environmental Achievement in 1988, becoming part of 500 people (“Global 500”) to be given this honour in the period 1987–92. The University of Kent started the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) in 1989, the first graduate school in the United Kingdom to offer degrees and diplomas in conservation and biodiversity. In 1995 The journal Biodiversity and Conservation brought out a special volume of the journal in tribute to Gerald Durrell, on the theme of “The Role of Zoos”. The Gerald Durrell Memorial Funds, were launched in 1996 by the Wildlife Trust to help conservation projects financially. The statue park in Miskolc Zoo, created a bust of Gerald Durrell in 1998. Whipsnade Zoo also unveiled a new island for housing primates dedicated to Durrell in 1998. From 2001 The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife, has given the Gerald Durrell Award for the best photograph of an endangered species. In 2002 The Durrell School in Corfu, was established offering an academic course and tours in the footsteps of the Durrells in Corfu. Botanist David Bellamy has conducted field trips in Corfu for the school.

Gerald Durrell has also been recognised in many other ways. In 2006 The town hall of Corfu announced that it would rename Corfu Bosketto (a park in the city of Corfu) Bosketto Durrell, after Gerald and Lawrence Durrell as a mark of respect. Wildlife Preservation Canada also established the Gerald Durrell Society in 2006 as recognition for individuals who have made legacy gifts. The Gerald Durrell Endemic Wildlife Sanctuary in the Black River Valley in Mauritius, is the home of the Mauritius Wildlife Appeal Fund’s immensely successful captive breeding programme for the Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon and echo parakeet.The Durrell Wildlife Park has a bronze statue of Gerald Durrell by John Doubleday, cast along with a ruffed lemur at his knee and a Round Island gecko at his feet. Jersey brought out stamps honouring the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust and Mauritius brought out a stamp based on a race of a rare gecko named after Durrell. The de-rodentification of Rat Island in St. Lucia by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust to create a sanctuary for the Saint Lucia whiptail lizard on the lines of Praslin Island has caused an official change in name for Rat Island. It is in the process of being renamed Durrell Island. The Visitors’ Centre at the Belize Zoo is named the Gerald Durrell Visitors’ Centre in honour of Durrell.

Many rare animals born in captivity have been named “Gerry” or “Gerald” as homage to Durrell, among them the first Aldabra giant tortoise born in captivity. Cornwall college Newquay’s centre for applied zoology has two buildings, one the Durrell Building, opened by his wife Lee Durrell in 2007. Many Species of rare and endangered animal have also been named in honour of Gerald Durrell such as:
Salanoia durrelli: a relative of the brown-tailed mongoose, from Lake Alaotra, Madagascar. Centrolene durrellorum: A glassfrog of the family Centrolenidae from the eastern Andean foothills of Ecuador, Clarkeia durrelli: A fossil brachiopod of the order Atrypida, from the Upper Silurian age, Nactus serpensinsula durrellorum: The Round Island race of the Serpent Island gecko is a distinct subspecies and was named after both Gerald and Lee Durrel, Ceylonthelphusa durrelli: Durrell’s freshwater crab: A critically rare new species of Sri Lankan freshwater crab, Benthophilus durrelli: Durrell’s tadpole goby, Kotchevnik durrelli Yakovlev: A new species of moth of the superfamily Cossoidea from Russia and Mahea durrelli Kment: A new species of shield bug of the family Acanthosomatidae from Madagascar.

Charles Addams (Addams Family)

The American cartoonist Charles “Chas” Samuel Addams was born 7 January 1912 in Westfield, New Jersey. His father encouraged him to draw from an early age, and Addams did cartoons for the Westfield High School student literary magazine, Weathervane. He attended Colgate University in 1929 and 1930, and the University of Pennsylvania, where a fine-arts building on campus is named after him, in 1930 and 1931. In front of the building there is also a sculpture of the silhouettes of Addams Family characters. He then studied at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City in 1931 and 1932.

In 1933 he joined the layout department of True Detective magazine, where he had to retouch photos of corpses that appeared in the magazine’s stories to remove the blood from them. Addams complained that “A lot of those corpses were more interesting the way they were.” His first drawing in The New Yorker ran on February 6, 1932 (a sketch of a window washer), and his cartoons ran regularly in the magazine from 1938, when he drew the first instance of what came to be called the Addams Family. He remained a freelancer throughout that time

The Addams Family, were known for their particularly black humour and macabre antics and The Addams Family television series began after David Levy, a television producer, approached Addams with an offer to create it with a little help from the humorist. All Addams had to do was give his characters names and more characteristics for the actors to use in portrayals. The series ran on ABC for two seasons, from 1964 to 1966. and also became the basis for two two animated TV series, three motion pictures, and a Broadway musical. Addams was “sociable and debonair,” and was described by a biographer as “A well-dressed, courtly man with silvery back-combed hair and a gentle manner, he bore no resemblance to a fiend.” Addams was a bit of a lady’s man and was also friends with Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Addams sadly Passed Away on September 29, 1988 at St. Clare’s Hospital and Health Center in New York City, having suffered a heart attack while still in his car after parking it. An ambulance took him from his apartment to the hospital, where he died in the emergency room. As he had requested, a wake was held rather than a funeral; he had wished to be remembered as a “good cartoonist”. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in the pet cemetery of his estate “The Swamp”.

Lewis Hamilton MBE

Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton MBE was born 7th January 1985 in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. He started his Motorsport career when at at the age of ten, he approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at the Autosport Awards ceremony and told him, “I want to race for you one day … I want to race for McLaren.” Less than three years later McLaren and Mercedes-Benz signed him to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he drove for McLaren in 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis.

Lewis Hamilton’s became the youngest ever driver to secure a contract with McLaren which later resulted in an F1 drive. In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records, while finishing second in the 2007 Formula One Championship, just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen. He won the 2008 World Championship, ahead of Felipe Massa by a single point. Clinching the crown thanks to passing Timo Glock in the wet on the final lap, taking fifth place, Autosport subsequently dubbed him as Last Lap Lewis. He has stated he wants to stay with the McLaren team for the rest of his F1 career. Following his 2008 title Hamilton struggled with less competitive McLarens, and in spite of taking quite a few Grand Prix wins he was not able to challenge for the 2009 championship, and finished a close fourth in 2010, being in mathematical contention until the final round.

At the start of the 2011 season Hamilton dismissed Red Bull Racing as “just a drinks company”.Hamilton began the season finishing second in theAustralian Grand Prix, despite having to deal with a damaged floor on his McLaren.In the Malaysian Grand Prix, he finished seventh, receiving a 20-second time penalty post-race for weaving whilst defending and unsuitable driving, dropping him to eighth place. Hamilton took his first win of the season in China. He then finished fourth inTurkey and second in Spain. Hamilton crashed out of the Canadian Grand Prix after colliding with team-mate Button. In Monaco, he qualified tenth after the third qualifying session was red-flagged and received a drive through penalty after he bumped into Massa at the Hotel hairpin. Later, Alguersuari crashed into Hamilton, breaking his rear wing and Petrov also crashed so the race was red-flagged and restarted unfortunately Hamilton collided with Maldonado at Sainte Devote, for which he was given a 20 second time penalty . Hamilton took his third victory of the season at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

At the Canadian Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Webber at the first corner before rejoining behind his team mate. A few laps later Hamilton tried to pass teammate Button but retired with a broken driveshaft. At Valencia and Silverstone Hamilton finished fourth and took his second victory of 2011 at Hockenheim. In Hungary Hamilton finished fourth after five pitstops and receiving a drive-through penalty after colliding with Paul di Resta. He finished fourth at Monza after a race long battle with Michael Schumacher. In Singapore Grand Prix, Hamilton collided with Felipe Massa which left Hamilton needing a new front wing and a drive through penalty. Hamilton tangled with Massa once again at the Japanese Grand Prix before finishing fifth. At the Korea Grand Prix Hamilton qualified pole position, ending a run of 16 consecutive pole positions for Red Bull., but was overtaken by World Champion Sebastian Vettel who Eventually won the race with Hamilton finishing second. At the Indian Grand Prix, Hamilton was penalised three places on the starting grid, after a yellow flag infraction in Friday practice, finishing seventh after yet another incident with Massa. Hamilton won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix while at at Brazil retired from the race and finished fifth overall in the championship.

Hamilton remained at McLaren alongside Button for the 2012 season.Hamilton finished third at the Australian Grand Prix, after being passed by Button and Vettel. He was overtaken by Fernando Alonso and Sergio Pérez, at the Malaysian Grand Prix, eventually finishing third. He also finished third in China, with Nico Rosberg and Button ahead. Hamilton finished eighth in Bahrain and was also involved in a controversial racing incident with Rosberg, with Rosberg appearing to push Hamilton off track while he attempted to overtake. At the Spanish Grand Prix, stewards demoted Hamilton to the back of the grid; but despite this, Hamilton finished eighth, ahead of Button, who had started in tenth. Hamilton won the Canadian Grand Prix for the third time, after overtaking Fernando Alonso and also won the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton and championship leader Fernado Alonso both retired from the Belgian Grand Prix after a pile up caused by Romain Grosjean . Hamilton then won the 2012 Italian Grand Prix . Hamilton suffered gearbox failure at the Singapore Grand Prix. He also retired from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, before winning the United States Grand Prix in Austin.Hamilton’s season ended with another pole position and retirement in the Brazilian GP, after colliding with Nico Hülkenberg

In 2013 Hamilton ,joined the Mercedes-Benz works team partnering Nico Rosberg, finishing in Fifth place at the Australian Grand Prix and third in Malaysia taking his first podium for the team. At Monaco Hamilton struggled with the car under braking and Prior to the race, both Red Bull and Ferrari had lodged formal complaints against Mercedes regarding testing. Hamilton won the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix, Becoming the first British driver to win a Formula One race in a Mercedes works car since Stirling Moss did so at the 1955 British Grand Prix, at Silverstone ,with Kimi Räikkönen in second. Although he did not score any podiums for the rest of the season, a string of point finishes helped him end the season in fourth place.

Hamilton stayed with Mercedes Benz for the 2014 season where A new rule allowed the drivers to pick a unique car number that they will use for their entire career. Hamilton picked #44, the same number he used during his karting days. Hamilton retired from the Australian Grand Prix with Rosberg winning. However Hamilton won the Malaysian Grand Prix with Rosberg finishing second in a Mercedes one-two, the first since 1955. Hamilton eventually won again In Bahrain, Turkey, Canada, China, Spain with Nico Rosberg finishing second. Hamilton finished second at the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix behind Rosberg and Despite starting 20th in the German Grand Prix Hamilton managed to finish third. He started from the Pit-lane for the Hungarian Grand Prix eventually finishing third ahead of Rosberg. Hamilton and Rosberg both retired from the Belgian Grand Prix after colliding. He then won the Italian, Singapore Russian, United States and Japanese Grands Prix to achieve five consecutive victories for the first time in his career. His tenth victory of the season was also his 32nd career victory, the most of any British driver. Hamilton became the World Champion after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and also won 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

Nikola Tesla

Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist Nikola Tesla passed away on 7 January 1943 in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. He was born 10 July 1856 in the village Smiljan, Lika county, Serbia and raised in the Austrian Empire. Tesla received an advanced education in engineering and physics in the 1870s and gained practical experience in the early 1880s working in telephony and at Continental Edison in the new electric power industry. In 1881, Tesla moved to Budapest, Hungary, to work under Tivadar Puskás at a telegraph company, the Budapest Telephone Exchange. Upon arrival, Tesla realized that the company, then under construction, was not functional, so he worked as a draftsman in the Central Telegraph Office instead. Within a few months, the Budapest Telephone Exchange became functional, and Tesla was allocated the chief electrician and made many improvements to the Central Station equipment including the improvement of a telephone repeater or amplifier, which was never patented nor publicly described.

In 1882, Tivadar Puskás got Tesla another job in Paris with the Continental Edison Company.Tesla began working in what was then a brand new industry, installing indoor incandescent lighting citywide in the form of an electric power utility. The company had several subdivisions and Tesla worked at the Société Electrique Edison, the division in the Ivry-sur-Seine suburb of Paris in charge of installing the lighting system. There he gained a great deal of practical experience in electrical engineering. Management took notice of his advanced knowledge in engineering and physics and soon had him designing and building improved versions of generating dynamos and motors.They also sent him on to troubleshoot engineering problems at other Edison utilities being built around France and in Germany.

He emigrated to the United States in 1884, And got a job at the Edison Machine Works in New York City however he left in 1885 and began working on patenting an arc lighting system, In March 1885, he met with patent attorney Lemuel W. Serrell, the same attorney used by Edison, to obtain help with submitting the patents. Serrell introduced Tesla to two businessmen, Robert Lane and Benjamin Vail, who agreed to finance an arc lighting manufacturing and utility company in Tesla’s name, the Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing. Tesla obtained patents for an improved DC generator, which was installed in Rahway, New Jersey. Tesla new system gained notice in the technical press, which commented on its advanced features. However the Investors decided against Tesla’s idea and formed a new utility company, abandoning Tesla’s company and leaving the inventor penniless Tesla even lost control of the patents he had generated.

In 1886, Tesla met Alfred S. Brown, a Western Union superintendent, and New York attorney Charles F. Peck andbased on Tesla’s new idea’s for electrical equipment, including a thermo-magnetic motor idea,they agreed to back the inventor financially and handle his patents. Together they formed the Tesla Electric Company in1887, And set up a laboratory for Tesla at 89 Liberty Street in Manhattan. In 1887, Tesla developed an induction motor that ran on alternating current, a power system format that was rapidly expanding in Europe and the United States because of its advantages in long-distance, high-voltage transmission. The motor used polyphase current, which generated a rotating magnetic field to turn the motor. This innovative electric motor, patented in May 1888, was a simple self-starting design that did not need a commutator, thus avoiding sparking and the need for constantly servicing and replacing mechanical brushes. Physicist William Arnold Anthony tested the motor and Electrical World magazine editor Thomas Commerford Martin arranged for Tesla to demonstrate his alternating current motor on 16 May 1888 at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. George Westinghouse was also working on a device similar device To Tesla’s polyphase induction motor and transformer and Westinghouse also hired Tesla for one year to be a consultant at the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company’s Pittsburgh labs. His alternating current (AC) induction motor and related polyphase AC patents, licensed by Westinghouse Electric in 1888, earned him a considerable amount of money and became the cornerstone of the polyphase system which that company would eventually market.

In 1889, Tesla traveled to the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris and learned of Heinrich Hertz’ 1886–88 experiments that proved the existence of electromagnetic radiation, including radio waves. Tesla decided to explore it by repeating and then expanding on these experiments, Tesla tried powering a Ruhmkorff coil with a high speed alternator he had been developing as part of an improved arc lighting system but found that the high frequency current overheated the iron core and melted the insulation between the primary and secondary windings in the coil. To fix this problem Tesla came up with his Tesla coil with an air gap instead of insulating material between the primary and secondary windings and an iron core that could be moved to different positions in or out of the coil.

After 1890, Tesla experimented with transmitting power by inductive and capacitive coupling using high AC voltages generated with his Tesla coil. He attempted to develop a wireless lighting system based on near-field inductive and capacitive coupling and conducted a series of public demonstrations where he lit Geissler tubes and even incandescent light bulbs from across a stage. In 1893 at St. Louis, Missouri, the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the National Electric Light Association, Tesla told onlookers that he was sure a system like his could eventually conduct “intelligible signals or perhaps even power to any distance without the use of wires” by conducting it through the Earth. Tesla served as a vice-president of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers from 1892 to 1894, the forerunner of the modern-day IEEE (along with the Institute of Radio Engineers).

Tesla also conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless-controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Tesla became well known as an inventor And Throughout the 1890s, Tesla experimented with wireless lighting and worldwide wireless electric power distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. In 1893, he Worked on a device enabling wireless communication and tried to put these ideas to practical use in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project, an intercontinental wireless communication and power transmitter.

After Wardenclyffe, Tesla went on to try and develop a series of inventions in the 1910s and 1920s with varying degrees of success. He is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. Tesla gained experience in telephony and electrical engineering before emigrating to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison. He soon struck out on his own with financial backers, setting up laboratories/companies to develop a range of electrical devices. His patented AC induction motor and transformer were licensed by George Westinghouse, who also hired Tesla as a consultant to help develop apower system using alternating current. Tesla is also known for his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs which included patented devices and theoretical work used in the invention of radio communication, for his X-ray experiments, and for his ill-fated attempt at intercontinental wireless transmission in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Towerproject.

Tesla’s achievements and his abilities as a showman demonstrating his seemingly miraculous inventions made him world-famous.Although he made a great deal of money from his patents, he spent a lot on numerous experiments. He lived for most of his life in a series of New York hotels although the end of his patent income and eventual bankruptcy led him to live in diminished circumstances. Despite this Tesla still continued to invite the press to parties he held on his birthday to announce new inventions he was working and make (sometimes unusual) statements. Because of his pronouncements and the nature of his work over the years, Tesla gained a reputation in popular culture as the archetypal “mad scientist”.

Sadly after his death Tesla’s work fell into relative obscurity, but since the 1990s, his reputation has experienced a comeback in popular culture. His work and reputed inventions are also at the center of many conspiracy theories and have also been used to support various pseudosciences, UFO theories and New Age occultism. In 1960, in honor of Tesla, the General Conference on Weights and Measures for the International System of Units dedicated the term “tesla” to the SI unit measure for magnetic field strength. There is also a range of Electric Cars named after him.