Nikola Tesla Family Tree: Exploring the Life and Legacy of the Great Inventor
Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) is one of the most influential inventors in all of human history, with his major breakthroughs in electrophysics redefining the world in the 20th century.
Unsurprisingly, he was also said to possess extraordinary intellectual abilities such as eidetic memory and polyglotism. But could it be that he inherited some of his talents from his parents? Did he pass on any of it to his children? Did he have any children in the first place?
In this article, we’re looking to answer all of these questions and more – this is the Nikola Tesla family tree.
Nikola Tesla’s Early Life
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in the Austrian Empire’s military frontier settlement of Smiljan (modern-day Croatia). He took an interest in how electricity works at a very young age.
He was also a very gifted student; for instance, he would easily perform integral calculus in his mind, which would often make professors suspect that he was cheating.
In 1875, Nikola enrolled in the Imperial-Royal Technical College in Graz on a Military Frontier scholarship. Whilst in Graz, Tesla only reinforced his passion for electrophysics – he claimed that Professor Jakob Pöschl‘s in-depth lectures on electricity captured his attention.
At some point, Tesla even offered suggestions to improve the design of an electric motor the professor was displaying. However, in 1878, during his third year, he lost interest in most academic subjects and soon dropped out of college.
Some historians hypothesized that Tesla was expelled mainly not for academic indiscipline, but more so for gambling.
Nikola’s father was insisting that his son should continue his studies in Prague, but didn’t live to see it – he died at the age of 60 of an alleged stroke.
Tesla’s uncles would eventually pool enough resources to enable him to study in Prague, and he obliged. He arrived in Prague in 1880 to pursue a degree at Charles-Ferdinand University, however, that attempt at attaining education was also unsuccessful.
Nikola Tesla’s Family Members
The Nikola Tesla family was full of interesting characters that helped Nikola become what he eventually became.
For example, Nikola’s mother, Đuka Mandić (1822–1892) was reported to have excellent memory, reciting vast amounts of Serbian poetry at will, as well as a talent for crafting – she would often make household equipment and primitive mechanical devices for at-home use.
And what makes these feats especially impressive is the fact that Đuka never received any formal education.
Nikola’s father, Milutin Tesla (1819–1879) was a prominent Eastern Orthodox Church priest, having even received the highest award from the Austrian emperor in 1973. He was also reportedly good at math and spoke as many as twelve languages to various degrees.
After Milutin’s death, Nikola’s two uncles, Nikolaj and Paja, also started playing a major role in Nikola’s formative years.
As for siblings, Nikola was the fourth of five kids in the Tesla family. He had a brother named Dane who died in a horse riding accident when Tesla was five years old, along with three sisters named Milka, Angelina, and Marica.
Nikola Tesla’s Adult Life
Having left Prague in 1881, Nikola started working for a famous Hungarian inventor Tivadar Puskás at his telegraph company in Budapest.
There, he displayed impressive technical skills, which prompted Puskás to get Tesla a job under one of the most renowned inventors of that generation, Thomas Edison, in Paris just a year later, in 1882.
The Continental Edison Company’s management also took notice of Nikola’s profound knowledge of physics and he was soon delegated very important tasks such as designing and building improved versions of generating dynamos and troubleshooting problems at other Edison premises,
In 1884, Tesla moved to the United States to continue his work under Edison, but he would only work there for one more year before focusing on his independent research. In 1887, he invented and patented his first, and arguably, most important creation – an alternating current induction motor.
It was meant to be an improvement over direct utilities of that time, as it had its advantages over the predecessor in long-distance, high-voltage transmission.
The patent would bring fame and wealth to Nikola – and he would use both to kickstart his work on other projects, which had varying degrees of success.
Whilst his electrical resonant transformer circuit, coined as Tesla coil (1891), was groundbreaking, his experiment with wireless transmission called Wardenclyffe Tower (1901–1917) was a financial and scientific flop.
Since the turn of the 20th century, Nikola would spend the rest of his life moving from hotel to hotel, accommodating unpaid bills and debt. His later years are often described as years of obscurity for Tesla as he failed to reach the same heights of innovation he did in the 1880-90s.
On 7 January 1943, at the age of 86, Nikola died alone in Room 3327 of the Hotel New Yorker – the cause of death was stated as coronary thrombosis.
Nikola Tesla’s Descendants
There are no Nikola Tesla descendants. He never married or had children. Throughout his life, Tesla maintained that any relationship would distract him from his work; he would also often claim that he was not worthy of women – a statement he would later retract, though. It is also widely believed that Tesla died as a virgin.
On the contrary, Nikola’s sisters would each have children of their own. Angelina gave birth to four: Petar, Nikola, Marica, and Mica; so did Marica – her offspring were Ljubisa, Milun, Dragisa, and Sava. Lastly, Milka had only one child, a daughter named Gina.
Nikola Tesla had a fascinating life with massive ups and downs. Coming from a simple family, he achieved greatness in the field of physics that is eclipsed by, arguably, only a few people. However, his later years proved to be quite challenging and uneventful, as Nikola struggled to build on his success.
The Nikola Tesla family members are also said to have been fascinating people, with Nikola’s mom and dad both being rather talented, albeit not very educated. And although Nikola never had any children or a wife, he still left a legacy that will be relevant forever.
Did Nikola Tesla have siblings?
Yes, Nikola had siblings. He was the fourth of five kids – a brother named Dane who died in a horse riding accident when Tesla was five years old, and three sisters named Milka, Angelina, and Marica.
Did Nikola Tesla have children?
No, Nikola never had children, having chosen to focus on his work.
Did Nikola Tesla have a wife?
No, Nikola never had any wife or even a romantic partner, having chosen to focus on his work.
Where was Nikola Tesla born?
Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856, in the Austrian Empire’s military frontier settlement of Smiljan (modern-day Croatia).
Did Nikola Tesla go to college?
Yes, he attended the Imperial-Royal Technical College in Graz but dropped out in his third year.