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Thread: Visiting Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Laboratory

  1. #1
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    Visiting Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Laboratory

    Desperate to break the gray monotony of midwinter on Eastern Long Island, last week my brother J. and I decided to take a Saturday trip to somewhere in our area we had never been before. After a quick consultation of Atlas Obscura, I remembered reading as a teenager about Nikola Tesla having a laboratory on Long Island, but having no idea where exactly on our Island it had been relative to my hometown and parents who did not share my interest in Tesla, I had never been able to visit.

    As recent grads in history-related fields and (very reluctant) adults with Google Maps, however, J. and I quickly determined that the site was in present-day Shoreham, only about forty minutes’ drive from our home. We also learned that the remains of the laboratory complex had recently been saved from demolition by crowdfunding and was slowly being restored for eventual opening to the public as the Tesla Science Center.

    While we were not able to go onto the grounds, we did walk around and look through the fence, seeing the remaining laboratory buildings (including the brick building that the famous Wardenclyffe Tower once topped), the recently-erected statue of Tesla, and informational signs that the Tesla Science Center has set up along the perimeter. Amusingly, we also saw that the nearest street has been renamed for him!

    It was exciting to see such a fascinating footnote to our area’s local history, and we hope to be able to visit again in a few years when more of the site is open to the public!

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    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
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  2. #2
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    I can apparently only attach five photos to one post, so here are the statue and me with the sign:

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    J: “Why do you think the statue is behind a fence?”
    Me: “So people don’t spray paint it and take photos for the Internet.”
    J: “Yeah, they’d write ‘Edison was here’!”
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  3. #3
    I would of thought the recent episode of Doctor Who would of inspired it,but good for you. Sometimes you forget about the little jewels of history that are just around the corner.
    From the wilderness into the cosmos.
    You can not be afraid of the wind, Enterprise: Broken Bow.
    https://davidsuniverse.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
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    I was going to mention Doctor Who!
    The crowdfunding effort was led in part by Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal. Among other things he wrote to Elon Musk, asking for a contribution of a million dollars, and got it. I'll have to see if I can find his comics about it.

    ETA: Fundraising page.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  5. #5
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    Woah, no, I had no idea it had been on Doctor Who! Our visit was totally inspired by Atlas Obscura and, indirectly, by my 8th grade science teacher Mr. Messenger who encouraged my interest in Tesla and let me borrow books about him from our classroom library.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  6. #6
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    I’ve always had mixed feelings about Tesla. On one hand, he did very important things. On the other hand there have been persistent pseudoscience conspiracy theories about him that show up around science fiction, electronics, and other technology geek discussions and they get annoying.

    (Especially things like power companies suppressing wireless power transmission and claimed free energy stuff.)

    All that said, I always like seeing history preserved, as long as it sticks to reality.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

    I say there is an invisible elf in my backyard. How do you prove that I am wrong?

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  7. #7
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    I read a speech Tesla gave once, and it was totally bogus, nothing but romantic fantasy disguised as science. I was very disappointed. I will post a link if I find the speech.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger E. Moore View Post
    I read a speech Tesla gave once, and it was totally bogus, nothing but romantic fantasy disguised as science. I was very disappointed. I will post a link if I find the speech.
    Yeah, I was going to say that I think a lot of the conspiracy theories around Tesla are in part because he was himself so eccentric and made grandiose promises he couldn’t follow through on. When people were comparing him to an “archangel” and a “wizard” in his own time, perhaps it’s no surprise he’s come down to us with all sorts of fictions attached.

    However, now that we are about a quarter-century on from Tesla’s 1990s “rediscovery” through that string of biographies and PBS specials, some of the hype has died down and we have had some more clear-eyed articles and books that examine Tesla critically and include his failings and mistakes, and hopefully once the Tesla Science Center opens it will be able to present a similarly nuanced and factual view of Tesla to the public.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

  9. #9
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    I'd love to see the Wardenclyffe Tower put back up.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for sharing that, sounds like a nice visit. Return potential is always good!

    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    [...] After a quick consultation of Atlas Obscura, [...]
    Wow, thanks for mentioning that site. Tried to look up something local and found this Tank Cemetary in Germany. Tried to find out how to get to it, and discovered I'd already been about 500 yards south of it before, in the monument and remains of the village Wahn (which was destroyed to create a gunnery range for Krupp, in the second world war). For the astronomy angle: it also has the LOFAR radio telescope and the Westerbork Radio telescope. Both quite near where I live.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I'd love to see the Wardenclyffe Tower put back up.
    And turned on.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Thanks for sharing that, sounds like a nice visit. Return potential is always good!



    Wow, thanks for mentioning that site. Tried to look up something local and found this Tank Cemetary in Germany. Tried to find out how to get to it, and discovered I'd already been about 500 yards south of it before, in the monument and remains of the village Wahn (which was destroyed to create a gunnery range for Krupp, in the second world war). For the astronomy angle: it also has the LOFAR radio telescope and the Westerbork Radio telescope. Both quite near where I live.
    It’s really great for finding weird things close to where you happen to be!
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

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