The Invention of R/C

by FliteTest | October 20, 2016 | (12) Posted in News

If I were to tell you to list off some great 19th century great thinkers and inventors, who would you say? Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Karl Marx, and Albert Einstein? There is one inventor who seems to never get the credit he deserves for helping shape the landscape of present day inventions, obtaining between 150–300 patents in his lifetime. His name was Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor who lived from 1856–1943. 

Tesla's major invention highlights include alternating current, light, x-rays, radio, remote control, robotics, lasers, wireless communications and limitless free energy.  

"Electric power is everywhere present in unlimited quantities and can drive the world's machinery without the need of coal, gas, or any other of the common fuels." 

Here at Flite Test, we make a living making reviews, creating, having fun with not only flight, but with R/C in particular. Thus why I thought it was important to talk about who invented remote control devices.  

At the Electrical Exhibition of 1898 in Madison Square Garden, Tesla demonstrated his 1898 patent No. 613,809. The patent took the form of a radio-controlled boat that was nothing like we have seen today. The boat was a tubelike craft that was heavy, low-lying, made from steel and about four feet long. The craft powered itself using several large batteries and radio signals that controlled switches, which moved the boat’s propeller, rudder and lights. The control box consisted of various levers. The deck of the ship was studded with antennae for receiving signals, with the tallest located in the center. 

The boat was driven by a screw propeller with a rudder situated in standard positions. This was an object that was way beyond what anyone had ever seen before.  

Tesla's essential purpose of remote control transportation was for the government to use it for military operations. During that time, the public was deathly afraid of this technology, and rightfully so.

Someone probably would have invented remote control if Tesla never existed, but we can never know for sure, so we should thank Tesla for creating an invention that we all take for granted. 


Mitchell Gray - FliteTest


ttprigg on October 20, 2016
Wonderful information. I don't know what it is but I have been seeing more and more about Tesla recently. It seems he was truly a remarkable person. I came across YouTube videos of his turbine engine the other day and I'm reading a historical novel called "The Last Days of Night" by Graham Moore. It covers the struggle between Westinghouse, Edison, and Tesla told through the eyes of a young attorney. (It's available on Audible Josh). Thanks for sharing this history.
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h0tr0djeep on October 24, 2016
Really great info. I do have a problem with using Karl Marx as a great thinker or inventor, however. Yeesh
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ryansolida on April 20, 2017
As my electrical engineer father in law says, we all stand on the shoulders of Tesla and Westinghouse.
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The Invention of R/C