Nikola Tesla

Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist (1856-1943). Autograph Letter Signed, "N Tesla,". 35 South Fifth Avenue [New York]. 25.11.1894. 4to. 1 p. Printed letterhead „From Nikola Tesla, 35 South Fifth Avenue“. Paper clip stain at upper edge.
$ 38,028 / 35.000 € (86207)

Handwritten letter to "Mrs. Johnson," probably the wife of his close friend, the poet and diplomat Robert Underwood Johnson. In full: "Very sorry for missing the pleasure last night. I was unable to free myself from other obligations. Your letter was unanswered as I expected to call. Please express my thanks to Mrs. Anthony for her kind letter. There is a lady who can make nice compliments." In fine condition, with a rusty circular paperclip impression to the top edge. In August 1892, Tesla moved his lab to 33-35 South Fifth Avenue where he took up the fourth floor; he remained there for two-and-a-half years before the building burnt down.

The New York Times quoted Tesla when reporting on the fire: 'I am in too much grief to talk. What can I say? The work of half my lifetime, very nearly all my mechanical instruments and scientific apparatus, that it has taken years to perfect, swept away in a fire that lasted only an hour or two. How can I estimate the loss in mere dollars and cents? Everything is gone. I must begin over again.'.

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Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist (1856-1943). Autograph Letter Signed, "N Tesla,". 46 East Houston St. [New York]. 4.2.1897. 8vo. 3 pp. Double sheet.
$ 54,325 / 50.000 € (86246)

To "My dear Mrs. Anthony“ suggesting she should ignore an article about him: „Many thanks for your kind note. I confess I ask my friends too much but I hope that you will pardon my neglect. I have been so busy that to tell the truth I have had little time for taking pictures. As soon as possible I promise to forward one. My progress has been most satisfactory since our last meeting as you may judge from a few trials […] to which you refer. It might perhaps interest you to read it through, though I would not advise you to do this." In the early morning hours of 13 March 1895, the South Fifth Avenue building that housed Tesla's lab caught fire.

It started in the basement of the building and was so intense Tesla's 4th-floor lab burned and collapsed into the second floor. The fire not only set back Tesla's ongoing projects, but it also destroyed a collection of early notes and research material, models, and demonstration pieces, including many that had been exhibited at the 1893 Worlds Colombian Exposition. Tesla told The New York Times "I am in too much grief to talk. What can I say?" After the fire Tesla moved to 46 & 48 East Houston Street and rebuilt his lab on the 6th and 7th floors..

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Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist (1856-1943). Autograph Letter Signed, "N Tesla,". 46 East Houston St. [New York]. 28.8.1897. 8vo. 3 pp. Double sheet.
$ 52,152 / 48.000 € (86247)

To "My dear Mrs. Anthony“ suggesting she should ignore an article about him and praising Mrs. [William Randolph?] Hearst. "Many thanks for your very kind letter and expressive photograph which I shall treasure as reminding me of a sincere and devoted friend. I had hoped that articles as the one you have forwarded never received any notice from so earnest a lady as yourself. They are naturally disagreeable but most of them are written in a friendly spirit and with the best intentions. I hope that they will not make me lose too many friends and that the public will ultimately get tired of them.

Mrs. Hearst kindly remembered me from the top of Pike's Peak. I sent a dispatch in reply but […] it failed to reach its destination. I agree with you that no honors are too great and too many for her. It is a pity that so very few of those who are able to help are conscious of the great opportunities they have for rendering themselves and their fellow beings happy." On September 2, 1897, Tesla filed a patent for a "wireless system of transmission of electrical energy," which invention he first demonstrated at the Gerlach (today known as the "Radio Wave Building")..

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Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, and futurist (1856-1943). Autograph Letter Signed, "N Tesla,". 35 South Fifth Avenue [New York]. 8.11.1894. 4to. 1 p. Printed letterhead „From Nikola Tesla, 35 South Fifth Avenue“. Few short closed tears at right edge, folds.
$ 43,460 / 40.000 € (86248)

To "Dear Johnson," praising the expressiveness of a portrait, apologizing for not being able to meet, and anticipating meeting at an upcoming dinner. "The picture is excellent. The expression of the characteristic features has succeeded admirably. It is evident that Mr. Woodville must have been here. I was sorry not to reach you night before last. I tried to get through the crowd but my enthusiasm was not up to the mark or else I was to[o] tired and so I gave up. I hope you have recovered from the effort. I was afraid you are going to topple over. Hope to see you Friday even'g at that dinner."

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Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor (1856-1943). Typed letter signed ("N. Tesla"). New York City. 4to. 1 page and accompanying envelope. On Tesla Laboratory stationery. Includes one later typed letter unsigned, drafted to Tesla (Terryville, Long Island, 1 May 1911, 1 page), probably by A. D. Hawkins.
$ 70,623 / 65.000 € (91406/BN60475)

A rare glimpse into the mind of Nikola Tesla in early 1909, hard at work on his inventions and his investors alike. Communicating with Anita Drysdale Hawkins (1874-1957), a friend and employee at his Wardenclyffe plant, he discusses the recent departure of a troublesome guest, chastising himself: "I am glad that he is gone [...] Time and time again in my life I have made such mistakes and I always propose myself not to try to help others when in so doing I imperil myself, but it seems I am incorrigible.

I have taken upon myself all of Mr. Warren's obligations and your brother [Ernest Clymer Hawkins, also employed at Wardenclyffe] need not pay any attention to the bills which might be presented to him, and for which he is in no way responsible [...]". - Tesla sends this letter from his offices in the City Investing Building at 165 Broadway, although on Tesla Laboratory letterhead with the iconic Wardenclyffe Tower at the top. Much of the letter addresses financial matters, which were a constant concern for Tesla and his employees. Nine years previously Tesla had met with J. P. Morgan to convince the financier that he would be able to use his resonant transformer technology (later dubbed the Tesla Coil) to be the first to broadcast messages across the Atlantic. Morgan eventually agreed to put up $150,000 in return for 51% of Tesla's patent rights. Tesla got to work as soon as the funds were dispersed, and construction began in September of 1901. However, the Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) was also working on long-distance wireless communication, and would be successful before Tesla. When Tesla petitioned Morgan for additional funds to continue his project after Marconi's success, Morgan refused. Tesla spent the ensuing years continuing to revise his plans while he searched for additional investors and continued to pursue Morgan. By the time the present letter was written, Tesla had been hounded by creditors for several years and had begun to work on other projects such as his bladeless turbine in an attempt to generate funds to complete his Wardenclyffe plant. - Despite his difficulties, it is apparent that Tesla remained energetic and optimistic. His effusive final paragraph reads, "You will be glad to know that all of my inventions are turning out to be a splendid success and I am positively expecting not only to resume the work on my plant very shortly, but also to bring it to completion, all from my own resources. You may now expect from me favorable news at any moment". - Gently creased, otherwise in good condition..

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Tesla, Nikola

Serbian-American inventor (1856-1943). Autograph letter signed ("N. Tesla"), together with photographic portrait. New York. 8vo. 2 pp. on bifolium. On Waldorf-Astoria stationery, with accompanying envelope addressed in Tesla's hand, and postcard featuring a photograph of Tesla (silver gelatin print photographic postcard).
$ 38,028 / 35.000 € (91407/BN60476)

To Anita Drysdale Hawkins (1874-1957), an employee at his Wardenclyffe Tower plant in Shoreham, New York. Generous to the last, Tesla sends funds for his workers' salaries and to pay for their Thanksgiving turkeys. At this point, Tesla was deeply in debt and had turned to working on mechanical engineering projects so as to try and keep Wardenclyffe operational, in an effort to finally complete it. He still sought to reach his vision of transmitting wireless power around the globe. - Tesla also mentions: "Your letter has alarmed me and I would wish you to look for some reliable man to watch the place.

If you find one communicate with me at once so that I may arrange for employing him." Apparently this was the result of hearing Miss Hawkins's report of vandalism that had occurred at the sparsely staffed plant. He signs off with, "P.S. Oblige by writing". - Hints of wear, otherwise in good condition..

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