Tesla Backers Raise Cash to Buy Wardenclyffe and Make it Into a Museum

Nikola Tesla WardenclyffeA most amazing thing has happened in the past week or so. Matthew Inman, who is the creator and creative genius behind a web cartoon called “The Oatmeal,” has hooked up with a nonprofit group called the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, to raise funds to buy the Wardenclyffe property and make it into a Nikola Tesla Museum. In just a few short days, and some really funny begging for cash, the combined efforts pulled in pledges exceeding the $850,000 goal.

As the Oatmeal puts in on facebook:

“Someone jumped in at the last minute and donated $33,333. WE JUST HIT OUR GOAL: $873,169! With the matching grant from NY state, this puts us at $1.7 million raised in 6 days!”

[For those who don’t know, Tesla had an obsession with numbers divisible by three, hence the normally odd $33,333 amount]

Who would have expected that so many people would rush to remember a largely forgotten electrical scientist who died in poverty nearly 70 years ago? But they do. In an article published on the CNN website, Inman explains it this way:

“Tesla is an unsung hero, and there are very few monuments to him in the United States. I feel like that’s something we need to fix,” Inman said. “I made a comic about Tesla on my site. It got the most ‘likes’ on Facebook that I’ve ever seen in my career. Combine (the fact) that I’ve got this army of Tesla fans and the experience and success with my other fund-raiser, I felt like I was the ideal person to step in to control.”

The site is what is left of Wardenclyffe, the “World Wireless” facility built by Nikola Tesla over 100 years ago. He had planned on making it the focal point of wireless communication (radio) and electrical power. Besides the 94-foot by 94-foot laboratory building it featured a “187 feet high tower, having a spherical terminal about 68 feet in diameter.” Unfortunately, funding dried up and it fell into disuse. In 1917 the tower was demolished for scrap and Nikola Tesla became more and more reclusive before his eventual death in 1943.

For nearly 50 years the site would house a film processing company, after which it became a Superfund site, but has since changed hands several times and “has now been cleaned up and is no longer harmful.”

While the money has been raised to buy the property there is still some uncertainty as to whether the seller will agree to the sale. And if the Tesla Science Center is successful in acquiring the property it would still need to raise additional money to clean up and restore it for use as a museum. Jane Alcorn, President of the group, “expects it will be a couple of years before the museum opens, while additional funding and exhibits are arranged.”

Those wanting to donate further to the effort can go the Indiegogo site. Inman’s The Oatmeal can be found on Facebook and his website.

More information on The Tesla Science Center can be found here.

More information on Nikola Tesla: Scientific Rock Star can be found here.

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7 thoughts on “Tesla Backers Raise Cash to Buy Wardenclyffe and Make it Into a Museum

  1. This is so cool and truly amazing! Thanks also for providing the URLs… Can’t wait to see the museum one day. 🙂

    • I agree, it is very cool. And they plan to have a picnic on the site for Tesla’s birthday next year – July 10th – right when my book hits the stores.

  2. “FRAGMENTS FROM OLYMPUS-The Vision of Nikola Tesla”

    Joseph Sikorski: co-author/director

    Michael Calomino: co-author

    Victor Elefante: production supervisor

    Kathryn Simos: public relations

    SYNOPSIS: The enigmatic life of electrical Nikola Tesla unravels through a posthumous F.B.I. investigation into his particle beam research, including a new super weapon called the “death ray”.

    During the height of WWII, the F.B.I. races to secure the experiments of an enigmatic recently deceased scientist, who claimed to have perfected a new super weapon refered to as the “death ray”.  Did it exist? Was it a threat to the war effort? Or was the radical inventor mad? It sounds like science fiction, but it’s TRUE.  Based on declassified documents, and the life of Nikola Tesla, Fragments From Olympus is two suspenseful stories intertwined which shed light on one of the world’s most forgotten heroes. 


    WINNER: BEST SCREENPLAY “International Long Island Film Festival”

    Quarter Finalist: “The American Screenwriting Competition”

    Teaser: SEMI-FINALIST: “International Movie Trailer Festival”


    Sean Young (Bladerunner, Wall Street/Ace Ventura)

    Leo Rossi (Analyze This, The Accused, 10th & Wolf)

    Cinematographer Howard J. Smith (Harry Potter/Matrix Films)

    Hello just wanted you to know we are the Independant movie that donated the33,333 dollars.

    • Thanks Vic for the information. And thanks for the wonderful donation (appropriately divisible by 3) to put the Oatmeal/Tesla Science Center effort over the top and continuing on to fund the renovations. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished movie. What is your production schedule? My book is due out in late spring 2013 and given all the excitement about the Wardenclyffe property it could be a very good year for Tesla.

  3. David,
    Thank You for your kind words. As of today we are looking at some point in early 2013. When we donated the money to the Oatmeals historic fund raising campaign we used all our movies seed money. We have a letter of commitment for 4.5 million dollars and with the first million we where going to give that money to Jane Alcorn’s group to save Wardenclyffe. We where working with the legal team getting everything together and our investor had a major medical setback putting all his Projects On hold.We put the lab before the movie because we felt it was most important to secure Wardenclyffe.We are looking for a guardian angel to invest in our movie.We are also waiting for the Oatmeals campagin to end before we do any fund raising on the internet. we do not want to take any money away from Wardenclyffe. now that The Wardenclyffe Group is is well on its way to reaching their goal We feel through Fragments From Olympus we will be able to Bring the Great Tesla to everyone and hopefully excite a young person to get excited in science and math, maybe they will be the one to further Tesla’s work right at Wardenclyffe !

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