While a large portion of the European family has been surging westward during the last three or four
hundred years, settling the vast continents of America, another, but smaller, portion has been doing
frontier work in the Old World, protecting the rear by beating back the "unspeakable Turk" and
reclaiming gradually the fair lands that endure the curse of Mohammedan rule. For a long time the Slav
people—who, after the battle of Kosovopjolje, in which the Turks defeated the Serbians, retired to the
confines of the present Montenegro, Dalmatia, Herzegovina and Bosnia, and "Borderland" of Austria—
knew what it was to deal, as our Western pioneers did, with foes ceaselessly fretting against their frontier
; and the races of these countries, through their strenuous struggle against the armies of the Crescent, have
developed notable qualities of bravery and sagacity, while maintaining a patriotism and independence
unsurpassed in any other nation.
It was in this interesting border region, and from among these valiant Eastern folk, that Nikola Tesla was
born in the year 1857, and the fact that he, to-day, finds himself in America and one of our foremost
electricians, is striking evidence of the extraordinary attractiveness alike of electrical pursuits and of the
country where electricity enjoys its widest application.
Mr. Tesla's native place was Smiljan, Lika, where his father was an eloquent clergyman of the Greek
Church, in which, by the way, his family is still prominently represented. His mother enjoyed great fame
throughout the countryside for her skill and originality in needlework, and doubtless transmitted her
ingenuity to Nikola; though it naturally took another and more masculine direction.