To some, Nikola Tesla was the most unappreciated inventor ever. That’s why a group of activists are pushing for a U.S. museum to honor this creator of revolutionary technologies. How about this important work: the alternating current (AC) electricity that powers your home today. There were several Tesla inventions that other people took credit for, such as radio, radar, x-rays, and other breakthroughs he made in the first part of the 20th century. Tesla was inspirational enough to get an ’80s metal band named after him, and more recently, a luxury electric carmaker.
Matthew Inman, creator of the humor site The Oatmeal, has started Operation Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum, which is a campaign to turn Tesla’s final laboratory – the Wardenclyffe, in Shoreham, NY – into a museum. Its tower – originally set up to broadcast free wireless energy – was knocked down in 1917 and its land was sold to a film and paper manufacturer. The land, laboratory, and foundation beneath the tower are still present and are now up for sale. Hence, Operation Let’s Build.
Inman is not fighting this quest alone, and has reached out to the Google corporation and actor Christian Bale, among others. One, most appropriate backer has stepped forward. Inman was able to garner support for the project from Nikolai Tesla fan Elon Musk, best known for being a part of bringing us PayPal, Space X, and, or course, Tesla Motors. Tesla is a personal hero for Musk, and he’s agreed to make a donation to the project. Musk couldn’t commit to Tesla Motors making a contribution, and they are a bit cash strapped right now, but promises have been made. Inman needs to get the money together pretty soon and could be outbid by a rival developer who wants to turn it into a retail center. The state of New York is willing to offer matching funds to build the museum, and that means supporters need to raise $850,000 to get the memorial built. $260,000 has been raised so far.
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By Jon LeSage