I alternated from nation to nation like the currents I created
Eventually, I became a Serbian in New York
An infantry of patents would be my brainchildren
Of course, its a shame that Thomas would steal my originator title
He smeared my name when he shocked the elephant
The nerve of his bullying
Electricity still became my forte and I wouldn’t coil under pressure
I wish things would’ve been better than feeding pigeons and being alone
My body would be sent to Belgrade (Beograd) where I would be a hero
Thomas, you may have won the popularity contest, but you’d be nothing without me
Wouldn’t it be funny if someone drove something with my name on it?
Here’s the first example of someone who was ripped off by someone famous. It is none other than the Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. Some of his works include the Tesla Coil, early X-rays, and he was an innovator in electricity, namely the concept of alternating currents (AC). One Thomas Edison mangled his idea and made direct currents. Tesla was an employee at the time and had his patents stolen and not to mention he was shortchanged in pay by the (not)inventor of the lightbulb. It’s interesting that Tesla has been getting more mainstream attention in history since he was the underdog in that story. I also hope people get the joke in the last line in the poem.
Here’s some interesting facts:
Smiljan is actually in modern-day Croatia.
Also, I didn’t learn about Nikola Tesla in school. The first time I heard about him was by a certain musician named Ronnie Martin, but some of you may know him by his experimental synth pop one man band Joy Electric. When I found out more about Tesla afterwords, I thought “Wow, this song makes so much more sense now!” (side note: Hello Mannequin is my favorite JE album and was one of my favorite albums during my high school years).
The photo of Nikola Tesla is from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
“Nikola Tesla” is by Joy Electric and is property of Tooth & Nail Records.