Nikola Tesla was one of the great geniuses of the early electrical age. His invention of the alternating current motor set the stage for the power and lighting systems now used every day around the world. Educated in Austria, Nikola Tesla emigrated to New York in 1884, where he found work with the famous inventor Thomas Edison
. Edison worked with direct current, but Tesla favored a system he called alternating current, and soon enough the two inventors clashed and became rivals. Tesla went to work for George Westinghouse
, and alternating current ultimately became the most widely-used system of public power. Nikola Tesla patented over 700 inventions during his lifetime, making major contributions to the fields like radio, remote control, and public lighting. The Tesla Coil, a gadget which projects lightning-like bolts and sparks in spectacular fashion, remains a popular feature in science museums around the world. Tesla's well-known phobias and eccentricities (including an increasing fear of germs) were winked at without scorn, thanks to his successes. Always better at science than finance, Nikola Tesla spent his last years in seclusion at the New Yorker hotel in Manhattan, and is now regarded as an under-appreciated genius. The name of Tesla Motors, the modern-day electric car company, was inspired by Nikola Tesla. However, the inventor did not start the company (which was founded in 2003) and he has no other connection with it.