Nikola Tesla Net Worth At Death – How Did He Get Rich?

Nikola Tesla Net Worth At Death

Nikola Tesla had an estimated net worth of $100 at death. He was a scientist whose inventions include the Tesla coil, alternating-current (AC) electricity, and the discovery of the rotating magnetic field. The majority of his income came from his career as a Physicist, Inventor, Engineer and Scientist.

Nikola Tesla was an engineer and scientist best known for developing the alternating-current (AC) electric system, which is still the most common electrical system in use today. In addition, he invented the “Tesla coil,” which is still used in radio technology today.

Tesla, who was born in modern-day Croatia, immigrated to the United States in 1884 and briefly collaborated with Thomas Edison before the two parted ways. He sold several patent rights to George Westinghouse, including those to his AC machinery.

To calculate the net worth of Nikola Tesla, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as loans and personal debt, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Nikola Tesla
Net Worth: $100
Monthly Salary: $100 Thousand+
Annual Income: $1 Million+
Source of Wealth: Physicist, Inventor, Electrical engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Scientist

Early Life

On July 10, 1856, Tesla was born in Smiljan, Croatia.

Tesla was one of five siblings, the others being Dane, Angelina, Milka, and Marica. Tesla’s interest in electrical invention was sparked by his mother, Djuka Mandic, who invented small household appliances in her spare time while raising her son.

Milutin Tesla, Tesla’s father, was a Serbian orthodox priest and writer who encouraged his son to enter the priesthood. But Nikola’s interests were firmly rooted in the sciences.


During the 1870s, Tesla moved to Budapest and worked at the Central Telephone Exchange after studying at the Realschule Karlstadt (later renamed the Johann-Rudolph-Glauber Realschule Karlstadt) in Germany, the Polytechnic Institute in Graz, Austria, and the University of Prague.

The idea for the induction motor first occurred to Tesla in Budapest, but after several years of attempting to gain interest in his invention, Tesla decided to leave Europe for America at the age of 28.

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Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison

Tesla arrived in the United States in 1884 with only the clothes on his back and a letter of introduction to famed inventor and business mogul Thomas Edison, whose DC-based electrical works were quickly becoming the country’s standard.

Edison hired Tesla, and the two men soon found themselves working tirelessly alongside each other, improving Edison’s inventions.

Several months later, the two split up due to a strained business-scientific relationship, which historians attribute to their polar opposite personalities: While Edison was a powerful figure focused on marketing and financial success, Tesla was commercially out of touch and vulnerable.

First Solo Venture

Tesla received funding for the Tesla Electric Light Company in 1885, and his investors tasked him with developing improved arc lighting. However, after succeeding, Tesla was forced out of the venture and had to work as a manual laborer for a time in order to survive.

Two years later, his fortunes would change when he received funding for his new Tesla Electric Company.


Throughout his career, Tesla discovered, designed, and developed ideas for a number of significant inventions, the majority of which were officially patented by others, including dynamos (electrical generators similar to batteries) and the induction motor.

He was also a pioneer in the development of radar, X-ray, remote control, and the rotating magnetic field, which is the foundation of most AC machinery. Tesla is best known for his contributions to alternating current electricity and the Tesla coil.

AC Electrical System

Tesla created the alternating-current (AC) electrical system, which quickly rose to prominence as the preeminent power system of the twentieth century and has remained the global standard ever since. Tesla raised funds for his new Tesla Electric Company in 1887, and by the end of the year, he had filed several patents for AC-based inventions.

Tesla’s alternating current system quickly drew the attention of American engineer and businessman George Westinghouse, who was looking for a way to supply the country with long-distance power. Tesla, convinced that his inventions would aid him in this endeavor, purchased his patents in 1888 for $60,000 in cash and stock in the Westinghouse Corporation.

As interest in an AC system grew, Tesla and Westinghouse were pitted against Thomas Edison, who was determined to sell the nation his direct-current (DC) system. Edison quickly launched a negative press campaign in an attempt to undermine interest in AC power.

Unfortunately for Edison, the Westinghouse Corporation was chosen to supply the lighting at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where Tesla demonstrated his alternating current system.

Hydroelectric Power Plant

Tesla designed one of the first AC hydroelectric power plants in the United States, at Niagara Falls, in 1895.

The following year, it was used to power Buffalo, New York, a feat that was widely publicized around the world and aided AC electricity’s path to becoming the world’s power system.

Tesla Coil

Tesla patented the Tesla coil in the late nineteenth century, which laid the groundwork for wireless technologies and is still used in radio technology today. The Tesla coil is an inductor that was used in many early radio transmission antennas. It is the heart of an electrical circuit.

The coil and capacitor work together to resonate current and voltage from a power source across the circuit. Tesla used his coil to investigate fluorescence, x-rays, radio, wireless power, and electromagnetism in the earth’s atmosphere.

Free Energy

After becoming obsessed with the wireless transmission of energy, Tesla began work on his most daring project yet around 1900: creating a global, wireless communication system — to be transmitted through a large electrical tower — for sharing information and providing free energy all over the world.

With funding from a group of investors that included financial titan J. P. Morgan, Tesla began work on the free energy project in earnest in 1901, designing and building a lab with a power plant and a massive transmission tower on a site known as Wardenclyffe on Long Island, New York.

However, his investors began to have reservations about Tesla’s system’s viability. As his rival, Guglielmo Marconi, continued to make great advances with his own radio technologies with the financial support of Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison, Tesla was forced to abandon the project.

The Wardenclyffe staff was laid off in 1906, and the site was in foreclosure by 1915. Tesla declared bankruptcy two years later, and the tower was dismantled and sold for scrap to help pay off his debts.

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Death Ray

Tesla eventually returned to work, primarily as a consultant, after suffering a nervous breakdown following the closure of his free energy project.

But, as time passed, his ideas became increasingly bizarre and unrealistic. He became increasingly eccentric, devoting much of his time to the care of wild pigeons in New York City parks.

Tesla even drew the attention of the FBI with his talk of developing a powerful “death ray,” which had piqued the Soviet Union’s interest during World War II.

How Did Nikola Tesla Die?

Tesla died on January 7, 1943, at the age of 86, of coronary thrombosis in New York City, where he had lived for nearly 60 years.

The legacy of Tesla’s work, on the other hand, lives on to this day. In 1994, at the intersection of 40th Street and 6th Avenue, a street sign identifying “Nikola Tesla Corner” was installed near the site of his former New York City laboratory.

Movies on Tesla

Several films have been made about Tesla’s life and famous works, most notably:

  • The Secret of Nikola Tesla, a biographical film starring Orson Welles as J. P. Morgan, was released in 1980.
  • Nikola Tesla, The Genius Who Lit the World, a 1994 documentary produced in Belgrade, Serbia by the Tesla Memorial Society and the Nikola Tesla Museum.
  • The Prestige, a 2006 fictional film directed by Christopher Nolan about two magicians, starred rock star David Bowie as Tesla.

Tesla Motors & the Electric Car

In 2003, a group of engineers established Tesla Motors, a car company named after Tesla dedicated to developing the world’s first fully electric vehicle. Elon Musk, an entrepreneur and engineer, contributed over $30 million to Tesla in 2004 and currently serves as the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Tesla unveiled its first electric vehicle, the Roadster, in 2008. The Roadster, a high-performance sports car, helped change people’s perceptions of what electric cars could be. Tesla introduced the Model S in 2014, a lower-priced model that set the Motor Trend world record for 0-60 mph acceleration at 2.28 seconds in 2017.

Tesla’s designs demonstrated that an electric car could outperform gasoline-powered sports car brands such as Porsche and Lamborghini.

Tesla Science Center and Wardenclyffe

Ownership of the Wardenclyffe property has changed hands several times since Tesla’s original forfeiture of his free energy project. Several attempts have been made to preserve it, but efforts to have it designated a national historic site failed in 1967, 1976, and 1994.

The Tesla Science Center (TSC) was formed in 2008 with the intention of purchasing the property and converting it into a museum dedicated to the inventor’s work.

The Wardenclyffe site went on the market in 2009 for nearly $1.6 million, and the TSC worked tirelessly for several years to raise funds for its purchase. Public interest in the project peaked in 2012, when Matthew Inman of collaborated with the TSC in an Internet fundraising effort, eventually raising enough funds to purchase the site in May 2013.

According to the Tesla Science Center, work on its restoration is still ongoing, and the site is closed to the public “for the foreseeable future” for reasons of safety and preservation.

Further Reading

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How To Become Rich Like Nikola Tesla?

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