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Lot #135
Nikola Tesla Typed Letter Signed on Inventions

Remarkable letter by Nikola Tesla: "All of my inventions are turning out to be a splendid success"

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Estimate: $50000+
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Remarkable letter by Nikola Tesla: "All of my inventions are turning out to be a splendid success"

TLS signed “N. Tesla,” one page, 8 x 10, illustrated "Tesla Laboratory" letterhead portraying Wardenclyffe Tower, February 27, 1909. Letter to Anita Drysdale Hawkins (1874-1957), a friend and employee at his Wardenclyffe plant, discussing the departure of a troublesome guest and commenting on his innovative work. In part: "I was very much astonished to learn from your letter just received that the leaving of our friend was attended to with such difficulties. However, if he intended to avoid them he has received just what he deserved and I am glad that he is gone. His stay there has called for considerable sacrifices on my part which I should not have made. 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 need not pay any attention to the bills which might be presented to him, and for which he is in no way responsible. 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." In fine condition, with a small stain under the signature. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope and an unsigned letter drafted to Tesla on May 1, 1911, most probably by A. D. Hawkins.

Tesla sent this letter from his offices at 165 Broadway in New York City, although typed on Tesla Laboratory letterhead with a fine illustration of the iconic Wardenclyffe Tower at the top. An early experimental wireless transmission station, Tesla designed and built the tower on Long Island in 1901-1902, with famed financier J. P. Morgan as his key backer. From Wardenclyffe, Tesla intended to transmit messages, telephony, facsimile images, and even wireless electrical power across the globe. When Guglielmo Marconi's wireless telegraphy system advanced beyond Tesla's, he lost Morgan as an investor and was left to his own devices—hence the pecuniary concern demonstrated in the present letter. By this time in 1909, Tesla had been hounded by creditors for years and had turned to other projects—such as the bladeless turbine—in an effort to fundraise for the Wardenclyffe plant. In spite of these difficulties, Tesla remained energetic and optimistic, enthusiastically proclaiming that he found success with his inventions and that money will soon be a problem of the past.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Classical Music
  • Dates: #661 - Ended April 12, 2023

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