Recent Events and Accomplishments

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First, let me talk about some of the events and accomplishments that have happened recently. They all tend to promote the name of Tesla. What we are trying to do is gain the recognition for Tesla that he deserves and these all work to build toward that aim.

Pennsylvania and New York have issued proclamations naming July 10 as Nikola Tesla Day. At least six U. S. Representatives and Senator Carl Levin of Michigan have made speeches in Congress commemorating Tesla's July 10 Birthday. When we get copies of the Congressional Record, we will certainly make them available to the International Tesla Society. There may be other recognition of this day and we will just have to wait on them. Sometimes we only hear about the proclamations of various States after the fact.

Another item that has been a long time in the works and has come to fruition is a plaque of Tesla at the United Engineering Center Headquarters [345 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10017] near the United Nations in Manhattan (Figure 1). That is also the International Headquarters of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. They occupy three or four floors of that building. This is a large plaque, more than one person can lift. It has been put in one of the most desirable locations in the building. It's in a hall of other awards and plaques that connects the lobby and the first floor, the most desirable and prestigious location there. It was originally a gift of the Yugoslav Government and meant to be placed on the New Yorker Hotel, where Tesla died. The New Yorker Hotel, of course, now is a dormitory for Dr. Moon's Unification Church, and there has always been some difficulty in getting cooperation on that account. So I think a better solution was to have it installed at the Headquarters of the IEEE and, with their assistance, this was done. Another plaque was just installed in Belgrade, about 100 years after the fact, to commemorate Tesla's visit to that city in 1892.

The IEEE Power Engineering Society has as their principal annual award, the Tesla Award and Medal (see A-4), which has been issued each year since 1976. In 1989 the recipient was Dietrich R. Lambrecht, an engineer working on turbines for Siemens in Germany. In 1990, just recently, the winner of the reward was Gordon R. Slemon [A-4].

In June 1990, the IEEE and the New York Power Authority dedicated the Adams HydroElectric Generating Station in Niagara Falls. They designated it as an "Engineering Milestone," as this is the original plant built to create Alternating Current from Niagara Falls in 1895. The power was first generated in 1896. This is a further indication of the support that we are getting from the IEEE. It certainly is welcome, because having the scientific community support the name of Tesla is always very important.



Figure 1. A plaque honoring the achievements of Nikola Tesla. Now located in the United Engineering Headquarters in Manhattan, it was originally to be placed at the Hotel New Yorker, where Tesla had been a long time resident. - William Terbo

John Wagner has been one of our most active members and is now taking charge of the Youth Division of the Society. He's done a number of things that are worth remarking. First, he's had a bust of Tesla created (Figure 2). It is a very good likeness of Tesla in his prime, in his late thirties. The bust has been purchased by donation and is available to be given to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. It presently is in the Engineering Library at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. It is a fairly costly item and money has been raised by a number of parties including the rock group that goes by the name "Tesla." It's a wonderful spectrum of support that we get. Here is a group that looked upon Tesla as being an outsider who had difficulty in making his way and I think heavy metal rock groups might be considered outsiders having a difficult time making their way. So, they've taken the name, it's not an ethnic connection and so this is really quite generous on their part. They're quite successful, incidentally.

Trying to get the Smithsonian Institution to recognise Tesla has been difficult because their tendency is toward Edison, that is, whenever there is a controversy between Edison and Tesla, the Smithsonian tends to side with Edison. In conjunction with this, John has been instrumental in starting a campaign of signatures of people to make a petition. His aim is to gather 100,000 signatures. Although it sounds like a formidable number, he's got 37,000 already. These signatures are gathered not only by professional institutions, colleges and universities, but by people who are attending the rock concerts by the "Tesla" group. They've actually been responsible for 70 to 75 percent of those signatures. The way they're going, they WILL collect the 100,000.

Figure 2. John Wagner's bust of Tesla in his late thirties. - John Wagner

Another element John has developed for promoting the name of Tesla and for trying to get the attention of the Smithsonian are top quality sweat shirts and T shirts he has had made that say on them "Bust the Smithsonian." He has done this because the Smithsonian has not yet agreed to accept the Tesla bust. Incidentally, over 250 of these items have already been sold, with all proceeds over actual costs going into a fund for the purchase of additional busts.

Further, John has been carrying on an effort to enlist the support of university level educational institutions to properly recognize the scientific contributions of Nikola Tesla. He has encouraged his students in a letter writing campaign that has produced suggestions to University Physics and Electrical Engineering Department Heads as well as the CEO's of 51 power generating Utilities.

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