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Nikola Tesla ( Serbian Cyrillic : Никола Тесла ; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian - American [ 2 ] [ 3 ] inventor, electrical engineer , mechanical engineer , physicist , and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. [ 4 ] Tesla started working in the telephony and electrical fields 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 an alternating current system.
Tesla wrote a number of books and articles for magazines and journals. [ 1 ] Among his books are My Inventions: The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla ; The Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla , compiled and edited by David Hatcher Childress; and The Tesla Papers .
Below is a list of Tesla patents . Nikola Tesla was an inventor who obtained around 300 patents [ 2 ] worldwide for his inventions . Some of Tesla's patents are not accounted for, and various sources have discovered some that have laid hidden in patent archives. There are a minimum of 278 patents [ 2 ] issued to Tesla in 26 countries that have been accounted for. Many of Tesla's patents were in the United States , Britain , and Canada , but many other patents were approved in countries around the globe. [ 3 ] Many inventions developed by Tesla were not put into patent protection. Nikola Tesla holding a gas-filled phosphor-coated light bulb which was illuminated without wires by an electromagnetic field from the "Tesla Coil".