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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  • 18 Comments
      Brinto
      • 2 Years Ago
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      Ashton
      • 2 Years Ago
      good, and it's about time. Looks like they are only 100k from hitting their goal of 850k. Unfortunately it stated this money is to buy the land and building & make it an historic spot, but unfortunately they will need a lot more money to do all the renovations they want to do to the place. Hopefully they get well over their goal, and can start the reno's sooner rather then later.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think the Oatmeal fundraiser is up to about $700k raised, no? Somebody's been chipping in...
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      "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." Radio, radar, and x-rays are not singular inventions that ANY ONE person can take credit for. Tesla may have dabbled in each. But Hertz, Faraday, Maxwell, Helmholtz, Röntgen, and yes, Marconi. Most of all Tesla's work could not be done without prior understanding from physicists who described the EM spectrum and its workings. Tesla did a lot of great work... but he stood on plenty of shoulders too.
      Aaron
      • 2 Years Ago
      I made my donation! They're well over $1 million now... the more the better!
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hey, nice of ABG to pick this story up after all the lower premiums have already run out. Give anyway, it's a great cause.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Help crowd-fund a Nikola Tesla vs Super Man - Super Bowl XLVII Commercial - http://www.indiegogo.com/nikolateslasuperbowl
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's fun to see Tesla overblown into a legend of epic proportions. Achilles and Chuck Norris move over. Tesla was under-credited in our history and science textbooks for sure... but the last decade seems to represent an overcompensation. Instead of giving Tesla due credit for 'contributions'... people are claiming him as the sole inventor. I think people have this classic romantic ideal about two characters of good and evil. The Inventor and the Businessman (Tesla vs. Edison). That ALL the good ideas came from the inventor, and the businessman lurks behind curtains to steal them. Nothing was "Stolen" from Tesla. He contributed by standing on the shoulders of geniuses who came before, and other inventors stood on his shoulders. That is how real innovation and invention gets done. But the romantic ideal is that a single person, slips in the bathroom and hit his head on the porcelain, and has a brilliant idea for Time Travel. --------- For a contemporary and relevant example..... many people here on ABG have had a similar romantic ideal of Martin Eberhard as the "inventor" of the Tesla Electric Vehicle.. .and Elon Musk as the douchebag CEO who stole it and kicked Eberhard to the curb. In reality, however, Eberhard didn't invent anything, it was AC Propulsion's design, and they didn't even invent the modern EV itself... it was/is a culmination of many contributions from individuals, companies and government labs. And also, Musk did more to "invent" the modern EV than many others, yet he's not an "inventor".
        JakeY
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        "For a contemporary and relevant example..... many people here on ABG have had a similar romantic ideal of Martin Eberhard as the "inventor" of the Tesla Electric Vehicle.. .and Elon Musk as the douchebag CEO who stole it and kicked Eberhard to the curb." I think very few people still hold that view (even if they did during the lawsuit). It's pretty clear Elon deserves a bulk of the credit for getting Tesla to where it is today.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @JakeY
          Only after Tesla Motors continued to have success without Martin. Edison got, and deserved, lots of credit for his contributions to electricity. And became very wealthy too. Only recently, now that history has become fogged, has Edison been cast as a villain who stole every idea from his employees. Read Edison hatred at the Oatmeal. Tesla and Edison had a rivalry similar to PC vs. Mac, Betamax vs. VHS, etc. Tesla can be elevated to proper recognition without trying to knock down Edison.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Yep, i am aware of how some consider him a man-god. Out in Colorado Springs, CO, USA where his lab was located, there are some Tesla fetishists out that way that get into it pretty intensely.
        Marco Polo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        @ Joeviocoe, Congratulations on a very brave post ! Hero worship in any form will inevitably lead to fanaticism or disillusion. Telsa, was undoubtedly a genius, but he had many unpleasant aspects to his personality, and subscribed to some very dubious beliefs . Tesla suffered from what today we term as obsessive-compulsive disorder. He was also probably Bi-Polar. He also firmly believed in the puedo-science of Eugenics. Tesla called for the state to ensure that only those who can prove they are superior should be permitted to breed, and human rights should only be extended to an elite. He also supported the compulsory sterilization of those he considered inferior. One one occasion he fired a female employee for being "repulsively" fat. He was also an avowed racist. Toward the end of his life he appears to have lost his reasoning faculties, proposing fantastic schemes and displaying the signs of senility. Nor was Tesla shy about taking credit for the work of others. His supporters often cite his vague futuristic schemes, as the basis for many modern inventions.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          @ Joeviocoe An excellent post ! Museums shouldn't become shrines. Thomas Edison was a far more likable person, with a lovely wife and successful children. He was also far more successful in commercializing his patents.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Marco Polo
          Yes, I can afford to be bold since I am already flamed on ABG often enough not to notice. ;P Sometimes deservingly. Many people count the hits and ignore the misses. A common fallacy. Tesla made some great contributions.. but too many people believe every crackpot idea he may have had, or even is claimed to be his. He still deserves a Museum... but as long as it is an objective museum and not a tribute to pseudo-science and unproven allegations of stolen inventions. I have a bad feeling that the person building the museum might have a whole section dedicated to bashing Edison and calling him a douchebag. Just like the Oatmeal website. I am all for a Tesla Museum that promotes heroes of science and technology... but I don't want to see an overblown, exaggerated building of false claims. Calling it a museum won't guarantee scientific or historical accuracy (i.e. the Creation Museum).
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        "In reality, however, Eberhard didn't invent anything, it was AC Propulsion's design..." Elon Musk: " As it turned out, the AC Propulsion technology didn't work, so we had to redo all that." "The guy that I hired as CEO [co-founder Martin Eberhard] turned out to be unable to execute on anything, unfortunately. And the thing I have trouble forgiving him for is that he hid it from me for a long time." "It was such a nightmare. Anyway. In addition to those premises being wrong, the execution was crap. It ended up costing something like $150 million to get the Roadster into series production."
      paulwesterberg
      • 2 Years Ago
      The indiegogo site didn't work for me when I tried to donate so I gave $100 directly to the Wardenclyffe Tesla foundation: http://www.teslasciencecenter.org/
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Throw a few bucks their way, donate a car, get your name up their (sort of like at Disnay how the rides have sponsors) and presto, cheap advertising and a tax write off, plus the whole, 'see how much I care?' nonsense.... No brainer....
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Not sure the shareholders would appreciate a donation from the company. Musk on the other hand can certainly donate as much as he would like.
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