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Nikola Tesla's patents for aircraft, ships, railways, autos, and more

Apparatus for Aerial Transportation

When people hear the name Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), they think of Tesla cars, Tesla coils, or electricity (assuming they have heard of him at all). Most of Tesla's inventions and patents (of which there are hundreds) are related to electricity, but several of his creations are not. In this gallery, we look at 30 of Tesla's patents. All patent images are courtesy of Tesla Universe.

This is one of the few non-electric patents by Tesla. Later in his life, he was very interested in aerial flight, especially helicopters. He went so far as to file a patent for an Apparatus for Aerial Transportation, which he termed a "helicopter-plane." In the application, he goes through all of the math on how a helicopter alights itself and attains flight and then dismisses the traditional helicopter as a waste of energy. He then proposes his device, which lifts like a helicopter and then rotates itself so the helicopter blades then become like the propeller of an airplane. During this time, the "wings" of the device (which were vertical when lifting off) become like the wings of an airplane (horizontal). His main proposition for this device was to do away with the need for runways, especially in areas where they are not as feasible.

Image courtesy of Tesla Universe