TCBA founder, Harry Goldman and the TCBA logo

TCBA - Tesla Coil Builders Association

Devoted to the construction, operation and theoretical analysis of the Tesla coil

TCBA Volume 15 - Issue 1

Page 7 of 18

Tesla Visits Radio Station*

(Notes given to G.H. Clark by E.G. Gage)
December 1, 1942

The first time that Tesla saw a radio station - the interior, that is - was in 1910 when E.G. Gage took him on tour through the wireless station of the Radio Tel. and Tel. Co., “MR”, in the Metropolitan Building, New York City.

Gage was an operator for the Radio Co. at the time and had met Tesla several times previously at the factory of Fritz Lowenstein, who was a close friend of Gage's. Lowenstein had worked several years for Tesla, notably during the latter's experiments at Pike's Peak.

Tesla's office was in the Metropolitan Tower, on the 24th floor, while the Radio Tel. and Tel. Co's office was just above, on the 25th. Nevertheless, Tesla had never seen the station (which was in the main building, not the tower) until the date given above.

Gage, who was by no means immune against the ladies, had been in Tesla's offices after the meeting at Lowenstein's, and at one of these times he asked Tesla's stenographer (who was far from being bad-looking) to visit the station. Tesla overheard the invitation and at once invited himself in. Several weeks later, the visit took place.

Tesla paid no particular attention to anything except the coupling coils. “There are my coils,” he said. Further pointing to the condensers, spark gap, etc., he said “These do not interest me; they are not mine; but those coils were my idea and they interest me greatly.”

When the Radio T. and T. Co. broke up, Tesla sent for Gage, and would have given him a job but Gage told him that a job had already been found with the Marconi Co. Mr. Sammis of that company was going to send him as operator to the new station in the Metropolitan Tower. Gage took that job, but today his main regret is that he did not accept Tesla's offer.

Incidentally, as a sort of poor taper-off, this same year - 1910 - marks the date when Gage first made my acquaintance. I went to MR to measure the antenna constants for the Navy (see rough log, 1910) and met Gage there. I am glad to say that our friendship has continued unbroken down the intervening thirty two years.

* From the G.H. Clark Radioana Collection at the Smithsonian Institution (tip from Leland Anderson)

Men and Women of Interest

Nicola Tesla, the well-known electrician, has attracted the attention of the civilized world by his recent announcement that he had discovered a means by which it was possible to communicate with the inhabitants of Mars. A system of wireless telegraphy, differing, however, from the Marconi system, is the power used in his experimental machine, which, he claims, has one twenty-fifth of the requisite force.

Mr. Tesla is an earnest worker along original lines. He was born forty-three years ago in the little village of Smiljam, Lika, an insignificant part of Servia. He is proud of his Slav blood. He is also proud of his three sisters, the youngest of whom was formerly considered the genius of the family. That was before her brother became the rival of Edison as an electrical wonder.