A Plea on the Internet Saves Tesla’s Laboratory

When the Wardenclyffe facility in Shoreham went back on the market, Matthew Inman snapped into action.
You see, Inman is a big fan of the scientist who built Wardenclyffe. While Thomas Edison made his electrical discoveries in Menlo Park, New Jersey, a former Serbian-American employee of Edison’s named Nikola Tesla made his name in the same field working at Wardenclyffe. Popularizing Alternating Current and his famous Tesla Coil, Tesla and his contemporaries—including American novelist Mark Twain—believed in the restorative powers of electricity and strange, almost occult, properties held therein. Wardenclyffe still stands in its original location, though in  much worse condition. The architect behind Wardenclyffe is none other than Stanford White, known also for his many contributions to the landscape of New York that still stand today. White was present at the construction of Wardenclyffe’s main building, and was probably excited by the futuristic and imposing wireless communications tower that was erected
behind it.
Inman—blogger, Internet cartoonist and founder of The Oatmeal, a popular humor blog—has given us proof of nerd power. He got nerds behind the banner of “Operation Let’s Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum.” And boy did they flock. Using a popular technique, sometimes called “crowdfunding,” on web service indiegogo.com, Inman created a donation-based campaign to resuscitate Nikola Tesla’s stardom. The fundraiser will support the erection of a museum on the Shoreham property. Another potential buyer is not focused upon Tesla’s achievement, but according to Inman wants to “potentially tear it down or turn it into a retail establishment.” Well, Inman has little to worry about now—the non-profit that will build Tesla’s museum at Wardenclyffe will do so comfortably.
While Edison’s 1,000 plus patents and inventions—some of them still in use today—certainly do outnumber Tesla’s 300 patents, Tesla’s respective contributions to science are inestimable. Though Edison has much named in his honor, Tesla’s accolades are few. One thing is for sure; plenty of people think that Tesla deserves a museum. And can thousands of donors really be wrong?
As he made contributions to electric and wireless technology, Tesla gained due fame in his own time. But he was all but forgotten after his death, eclipsed by the “greatest American inventor,” Thomas Edison. Inman wants to bring the public to the aid of Tesla’s memory through his campaign and put Tesla in all the history books.
Rewards—known as “perks” on Indiegogo—based on contributions involving Tesla’s favorite number, three, have a humorous side, including a comic book by Inman for $333, a custom portrait of the contributor for $3,333 and a $33,333 feature on The Oatmeal, which is visited by over 7 million people every day.  Inman has made an effort to reach out to various organizations and people who support or admire Tesla, though none have made their support expressly known. They include JP Morgan, General Electric and Christian Bale. Bale is allegedly the star of an upcoming Tesla movie. Two groups have already contributed the $33,333 donation, one of whom—Joseph Sikorski—wrote the screenplay of the award winning Fragments from Olympus, a movie about the super weapon or “death ray” that Nikola Tesla claimed to have perfected.
The fundraiser, which will run until the end of September, had raised over $1.1 million as of Monday. That’s a quarter of a million over Inman’s goal. The goal of $850,000 will be matched by a New York State funding grant. It looks like Tesla will have one hell of a museum.

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