J P Morgan Sinks Tesla

Tesla's ambitious World System came to an end when its principal financier, J. P. Morgan pulled the plug on funding. Morgan, the financial giant behind the formation of many monopolies in railroads, shipping, steel, banking, etc., was a major conduit of European capital into U. S. industrial development in the Robber Baron era. He looms large in Tesla's life. Morgan money was in the Niagara Falls project. He backed Edison, too. It was Morgan's pressure on Westinghouse, whom he also financed, that caused the cancellation of Tesla's dollar-a-horsepower contract and the loss of millions in royalties to Tesla for his poly phase.

When Tesla's lab burned down (arson was suspected), one of Morgan's men promptly arrived with aid, as well as with the offer of a partnership with Morgan interests. Acceptance would have put Tesla firmly under Morgan's control. Tesla refused. And Tesla succeeded in preserving his autonomy until he became possessed with overwhelming ardor to fulfill the dream of his World system. Tesla was ready to sell his soul to finance Wardenclyffe, and J. P. Morgan was right there to buy it.

In 1901, Tesla signed over to Morgan controlling interest in the patents he still owned, as well as all future ones, in lighting and radio. Morgan then put about $150,000 startup funding into Wardenclyffe. Later he invested more, just enough to bring the project within sight of completion. Morgan then became elusive. Tesla tried desperately to communicate with the investor, but to no avail. When word was out on Wall Street that Morgan had withdrawn support, no one would touch the project. This finished Tesla as a functioning inventor. Work on the Wardenclyffe tower came to a halt. Left to dereliction, the tower remained only as a curiosity to passersby. During World War I, the tower was unceremoniously dynamited to the ground.

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