One of the great events in my life was my first meeting with Edison. This wonderful man, who had received no scientific training, yet had accomplished so much, filled me with amazement. I felt that the time I had spent studying languages, literature and art was wasted; though later, of course, I learned this was not so.
The destruction of Nikola Tesla's workshop, with its wonderful contents, is something more than a private calamity. It is a misfortune to the whole world. ...The men living at this time who are more important to the human race than this young gentleman can be counted on the fingers of one hand; perhaps on the thumb of one hand.
There were many days when [I] did not know where my next meal was coming from. But I was never afraid to work, I went where some men were digging a ditch ... [and] said I wanted to work. The boss looked at my good clothes and white hands and laughed to the others ... but he said, “All right. Spit on your hands. Get in the ditch.” And I worked harder than anybody. At the end of the day I had $2.
...With these developments we have every reason to anticipate that in a time not very distant most telegraphic messages across the oceans will be transmitted without cables. For short distances we need a 'wireless' telephone, which requires no expert operators...
I would not give my rotating field discovery for a thousand inventions, however valuable... A thousand years hence, the telephone and the motion picture camera may be obsolete, but the principle of the rotating magnetic field will remain a vital, living thing for all time to come.
That is the trouble with many inventors; they lack patience. They lack the willingness to work a thing out slowly and clearly and sharply in their mind, so that they can actually 'feel it work.' They want to try their first idea right off; and the result is they use up lots of money and lots of good material, only to find eventually that they are working in the wrong direction. We all make mistakes, and it is better to make them before we begin.
There is something within me that might be illusion as it is often case with young delighted people, but if I would be fortunate to achieve some of my ideals, it would be on the behalf of the whole of humanity. If those hopes would become fulfilled, the most exiting thought would be that it is a deed of a Serb.
I have observed in the House of Morgan a largeness, nobility and firmness of character the like of which is very scarce indeed. I can only smile when I read the attempts to find something discreditable in the transactions of J.P. Morgan & Co. Not a hundred of such investigations will ever uncover anything which an unprejudiced judge would not consider honorable, fair, decent and in every way conforming to the high ideals and ethical standards of business. I would be willing to stake my life on it.