10 Things You Didn’t Know About Nikola Tesla

Published June 1, 2014
Updated April 9, 2021

He had a photographic memory.

Possessing the ability to read books and periodicals while simultaneously committing them to memory served Tesla well; he used all the information he acquired as an internal library, available at his beck and call. As a result, Tesla rarely made drawings of his inventions, but worked from a picture or a memory in his head.

He spoke 8 languages.

Nikola Tesla Ink Art

Source: HQ Screen

No doubt hastened by his eidetic—commonly known as photographic—memory, Tesla was fluent in 8 different languages: Serbo-Croatian, English, Czech, German, French, Hungarian, Italian and Latin. Linguists refer to such a person as a “hyper polyglot”, or someone who can speak more than six languages with great proficiency.

He invented the first hydroelectric power plant.

In 1895, along with George Westinghouse, Tesla built the first power plant to tap the hydroelectric potential trapped within Niagara Falls. The Niagara Falls Power Company marked the final victory of Tesla’s Poly-phase Alternating Current (AC) electricity, which powers the world today.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.