Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk: Two Icons of Innovation


The names Elon Musk and Nikola Tesla are often intertwined when talking about trends in technology, and people often wonder if Elon Musk is the descendent of Tesla. In this article we are going to look at if they are related, or in what ways they are connected.

Nikola Tesla and Elon Musk are not genetically related, but are connected because Musk’s car company is named Tesla, and they are both icons of technology innovation. Tesla was born in the Austrian Empire, while Elon Musk is from South Africa.  Also, Nikola Tesla practiced celibacy his entire life, and had no children.

Both are credited with important innovations in the advancement of technology, although Tesla took a hands on approach, and was not good at business or public relations, while Musk has a large team working for him, is currently the wealthiest person in the world, and is an active character in the media.

Tesla and Musk are two high profile people in the evolution of technology

Why is Musk’s company called Tesla?

Originally called Tesla Motors, the company was founded in 2003 as an electric car company by Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, who chose the name as a tribute the great inventor Apparently the two founders also considered the name Faraday Motors, before settling on Tesla Motors.

In 2004 Elon Musk became the largest shareholder of the company with a $6.5 million investment. During the negotiations, it was determined that Musk would have the legal right to be referred to as co-Founder.

In 2008 he became the CEO, and since then they have branched out into battery energy storage and solar panels. Today Tesla is one of the most valuable companies in the world, with a market capitalization of more than $900 billion.

It took Elon Musk 10 years and $11 million dollars to become the owner of the domain name tesla.com. During the process, Tesla never entered any evidence to make a family claim on the name, a possible legal option if they were in fact related and there was evidence of the fact.

Elon Musk comes from an affluent South African mining family

Elon Musk was born in South Africa in 1971. His father was a successful engineer and emerald miner, while his mother a model.  As a teenager Musk emigrated to Canada in order to avoid required military service in South Africa. He attended Queen’s University in Canada, one of the country’s most exclusive educational institutions. He then transferred to universities in the United States, before eventually dropping out to become involved in tech startups. Prior to Tesla, SpaceX, and Neuralink, the companies he is now known for, he was involved in a company called Zip2, as well as Paypal.

Nikola Tesla was born and raised in the Austrian Empire

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in the Austrian Empire, in what is now Croatia, before moving to the United States in 1884. His parents were of Serbian descent. He died in 1943, which means if he and Elon Musk were relatives, Tesla would be about 5 generations older than Musk. A big part of the story of Tesla is his mother, a brilliant woman who spent her life as a house wife, but made inventions as a hobby, and passed on and developed her son’s scientific genius. Her and her husband were both born in Croatia in the early 1800s. Tesla had three sisters, and a brother who died as a child. The three sisters did have children, although there is no evidence of any connection to South Africa where Musk is from.

The inventions of Nikola Tesla

Tesla is well known for inventing the Tesla coil, an electrical circuit that was greatly improved upon the previously existing designs. Though not officially credited Tesla was the father of radio technology. He also invented the remote control, and many other things. He was working on an invention that would provide unlimited free energy to the world, until banker JP Morgan cut funding to the project.

Tesla was never romantically involved with a woman, exhibiting eccentric behaviour in regards to their jewelry. He did poorly when it came to fame and fortune, and he spent his final years in poverty. Tesla was an eccentric who lived for his work, spending all of his time in his laboratory.

An artistic interpretation of the incredible energy experiments Tesla conducted in his lab

Major inventions of Elon Musk’s companies

In contrast to Tesla, Elon Musk has a personal brand with massive marketing behind it. He has an active, compelling, and even controversial social media presence, with an enormous following. Musk has seven children, with three different women.

Currently the wealthiest person in the world, Musk is one of the most high profile and important leaders in the next generation of human technology. This includes transitioning to alternative energy forms, exploring space, and connecting computers and humans. He does this through his three companies:

Tesla

As discussed above, Tesla makes electric cars, solar panels, energy storage and related products. It is the most valuable car company in the world, and is the leader in transition from gas fueled cars to electric cars.

SpaceX

The company manufactures and launches space rockets and satellites, and has a goal of sending people to mars, as well as reducing the cost of space travel so more people can experience it. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk.

Neuralink

Founded in 2016 by Musk and Max Hodak, Neuralink makes implantable brain-machine interfaces. By allowing signals to be sent between brains and computers, Neuralink aims to help paralysed people function, as well as many other potential future uses.

The two men are similar in their desire to invent new technology that will change the world. But they are incredibly different as well, with Tesla always impeccably dressed, including gloves, and Musk have a casual informal feel. Musk has had many children, and enjoys massive wealth. He is a brilliant marketer and employs a huge team to create his projects. Tesla on the other hand, while he did enjoy large salaries at times in his life, was poor, and had employees, but was always totally hands on in his work. The two men are not genetically related, but they both have a place in the history of technology.

Space-X launching a rocket into space

Recommended Reading

If you want to continue exploring this subject more deeply, you can see which books I recommend by clicking here.

Everet Dee

Everet Dee is an author and researcher with a passion for metaphysics, philosophy, hidden history, the occult, the esoteric, and religion.

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