Nikola Tesla passed away 75 years ago, on January 7, 1943.
As I noted in Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity:
Tesla died in a lonely two-room suite—Room 3327 on the thirty-third floor, appropriately divisible by three—at the Hotel New Yorker in midtown Manhattan, not far from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. This was just a few months before the Supreme Court upheld his original patent and gave Tesla credit for invention of the radio. Unfortunately for Tesla, this was long after Marconi had received a Nobel Prize in 1909 on technological ideas “borrowed” from Tesla. While he had become a naturalized American citizen over a half-century earlier, Tesla’s cremated remains now rest in a spherical “Tesla ball”–shaped urn at the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade.
I had the privilege of a private meeting with the Tesla museum director in Belgrade as they were reopening after a renovation in 2016. I’ve stayed in the room next to his at the New Yorker Hotel. I’ve watched Tesla come to off-Broadway.To be among the artifacts of the man is inspiring.
Tesla lives on in the 21st Century in the form of electric car companies, movies, computer simulations, videos, books, and television. His last laboratory, Wardenclyffe, is once again rising on Long Island to become a Tesla museum and science center (look for my brick!). More and more people are becoming aware of Tesla’s contributions to science and to modern America.
I’m happy to say that I’ve played a small role in bringing more recognition to the man. My book, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity, has just gone into its 8th printing, meaning the number of books in print approaches 100,000. It has also been translated into at least four foreign languages, with more on the horizon.
Because of my book and others, many who had never heard of Tesla, the man (or confused him with Tesla, the car company), have discovered the unique brilliance and personality of a man once held in the highest esteem but for too long forgotten.
Nikola Tesla died 75 years ago, but he lives on today. Share the knowledge.
David J. Kent is an avid science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, now available. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (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.
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