Tesla to Edison to Lincoln (say it in the cadence of “Tinkers to Evers to Chance“).
Yes, Nikola Tesla disliked Thomas Edison, but Edison greatly admired Abraham Lincoln. I’ve always been an devotee of Abraham Lincoln. And now I’m writing a book on Nikola Tesla [UPDATE: I now have three Tesla books and one about Edison]. Despite conflicts with himself, Tesla had won the “War of the Electric Currents” by developing the motor needed to use Alternating Current (AC) versus the Direct Current (DC) on which Edison had staked his claim. [You can read about it in Chapter 5 of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity].
So it was a nice surprise to find the photo below on my Facebook page.
Posted by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on its own Facebook page, it turns out Edison was so enamored of Lincoln “that he placed Lincoln’s profile on his own letterhead, and wrote out this testimonial in 1880:
” … the life and character of Abraham Lincoln and his great services to this country during the war of the rebellion will stand as a monument long after the granite monuments erected to his memory have crumbled in the dust.”
Who says the unschooled Edison didn’t have a way with words, eh?
The photo was on display through Labor Day 2012 at the ALPLM in Springfield, IL. It was purchased by them from the Louise and Barry Taper Collection in 2007. I expect to be making a trek (or two) to the ALPLM myself in the not too distant future as I research my Lincoln book.
Funny how my life travels from Tesla to Edison to Lincoln with only one degree of separation.
David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.