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  • Tesla microfilm letters

    I thought I already had a thread on this subject but I can't find it.
    Probably posted it as comment somewhere, but here is for real.

    Here I uploaded a number of the microfilm prints of Tesla's correspondence with George Scherff and J.P. Morgan.
    (there are about 2700 pages and I have only uploaded a few hundred)

    They tell details that can not be found elsewhere in articles, patents or notes.
    Most of it has more historical value than technical but is still very interesting.
    Some letters can barely be read and some can not be read at all. Some because of the poor quality of the microfilm process, some because of poor contrast and some because of the handwriting. It would of course be very nice to have these transcribed.....
    It is an awful lot of work for one person, but there are thousands of us here....
    So if you have a couple of minutes to spare and would like to do something to preserve Tesla's legacy, download a letter, and post a transcription here....

    I have already done a few which I will post below and dR-Green is also working on it, but do not let that discourage you. Instead of spending hours to streamline this, we could also just start.


  • #2
    # 0052

    The Waldorf-Astoria, New York
    Oct. 13, 1903.
    Dear Mr. Morgan,
    Please excuse me for troubling you at this time when,
    much as you may disdain the small doings of your enemies, you must
    be deeply pained to see the progress of your great economic ideas
    retarded. But it is precisely for this reason that I beg you now
    to hear me.
    I have never attempted, Mr. Morgan, to tell you even a
    hundredth of what can be readily accomplished by the use of certain
    principles I have discovered. If you will imagine that I have found
    the stone of the philosophers you will not be far from the truth.
    They will cause a revolution so great that almost all values and
    all human relations will be profoundly modified. These new develop-
    ments do not concern any country in particular, but the whole world
    and they are in line with your efforts. The commercial possi-
    bilities they offer are simply infinite, and you are the only man
    today who possesses the genius and power to compel the universal
    adoption of these ideas and that is why I approached you two years
    ago. If I am only aided to reach the first result – the most in-
    significant of those to which I allude, yet very valuable – to
    girdle the globe with wireless messages, you will become interested
    and convinced. With my present experiences and knowledge of the
    wonderful appliances identified with my name this task is so easy,
    that it is for me no effort at all.
    I have had a long talk with Mr. Th. F. Ryan last night
    and he will see you in regard to providing the money still necessa-
    ry. He is a great admirer and loyal friend of yours and for this
    reason as well as on account of his ability I am very anxious to
    enlist his cooperation. I have told him that one hundred thousand
    dollars will be sufficient to reach the first commercial results,
    which will pave the way to other and much greater successes. Know-
    ing your generous spirit, I have told Mr. Ryan that any terms you
    may decide upon will be satisfactory to me.

    Yours very respectfully,

    N. Tesla.



    • #3
      # 0054

      The Waldorf-Astoria, New York,
      Dec. 11Th, 1903.

      Dear Mr. Morgan:-
      Will you enable me to complete this work and show you,
      that you have not made a mistake in giving me a checkbook to draw
      on your honored house? It is my honest believe that I am a century
      ahead in the fields in which I am working, and that is just the
      trouble which confronts every pioneer. You see how your own ad-
      vanced ideas are hampered.
      My enemies have been so successful in representing me as
      a poet and visionary, that it is absolutely imperative for me to
      put out something commercial without delay. If you will only help
      me to do this, you will preserve a property of immense value.
      As regards the wireless project, I beg to call again to
      your attention that my patents control absolutely all essential
      features and that my work is in such shape, that whenever you
      tell me to go ahead I shall girdle the globe within three months,
      as surely as my name is Tesla. I have promised the St. Louis Expo-
      sition people to open the door of the Exposition with power trans-
      mitted from here. It is a great opportunity, Mr. Morgan. I can
      easily do it, but if you do not aid me soon it will be too late.
      Please think for a moment what this means for me. What I have told
      you long ago has happened. My competitors have collapsed, since
      wholesale appropriations as they have attempted do not go. Now
      is the time to aid me, you know this better than anybody else.
      Yours most faithfully,
      N. Tesla.


      • #4
        # 0056


        Dear Mr. Morgan:-
        When this work is completed you will have something of
        incalculable value. As it now stands, I could be in three months
        in a position to establish communication with the chief cities of
        the world. This in itself would insure the realisation of the fi-
        nancial plan as outlined in Mr. Steele's letter to me of Oct. 21,
        1902. In two months more I would be able to demonstrate that power
        can be transmitted by my wireless system, regardless of distance,
        without appreciable loss. Think only, Mr. Morgan, what this means in
        you hands. You can not permit that such a marvelous opportunity
        is lost, after what you have already done.
        Would you be willing to advance the money if the Nikola
        Tesla Company were to authorize a bond issue for the amount. You
        could attach to this any condition you consider fair. My work is
        thorough, Mr. Morgan, it may seem long to complete, but I assure
        you that the ultimate results will be very gratifying to you.

        (no date)


        • #5
          # 0059

          Jan 1st04

          My dear Sir,
          In reply to your note
          I regret to say that I
          should not be willing
          to advance any further
          amounts of money
          as I have already told
          you. Of course I
          wish you every success
          in your undertaking.
          Yours very truly
          J.P. Morgan

          N. Tesla, Esq,


          • #6
            # 0060

            The Waldorf-Astoria, New York,
            Jan. 14th, 1904.

            Dear Mr. Morgan:-
            That was a nice letter to receive on my New Year! Had
            you at least waited till to-day, bad news travel fast enough. You
            wish me success! It is in your hands, how can you wish it?
            We start on a proposition, everything duly calculated it
            is financially frail. You engage in impossible operations, you
            make me pay double, yes, make me wait ten months for machinery. On
            the top of that you produce a panic. When after putting in all I
            could scrape together I come to show you that I have done the best
            that could be done you fire me out like an office boy and roar so
            that you are heard six blocks away not a cent. It is spread all
            over town, I am discredited, the laughing stock of my enemies.
            It is just fourteen months that the constructive work on
            my plant was stopped. If I would have been helped at that time
            three months more with a good force of men would have completed it
            and now it would be paying ten thousand dollars a day. More than
            this, I would have secured contracts from governments for a number
            of similar plants. I am the discoverer of the principles and the
            inventor of all the essential devices and no one would have had the
            slightest chance in a competition with me. You have favored the
            schemers who have no knowledge or skill, but merely the cursing
            sense of fraud to fool the world and to hurt my work more by
            their incompetent attempts and far more than they ever could by
            Now when I have practically removed all obstacles skill-
            fully put in my way and need only little more to save a great
            property, which would pay you ten million dollars as surely as one
            cent, you refuse me help in a trouble brought on by your own doings!
            Twenty-five thousand dollars would enable me:
            1) to start the manufacture of oscillators, which would
            make my undertaking with you self-supporting and insure the ulti-
            mate success of my plans;
            2) to put my light on the market;
            3) to form a lighting company and realize the cash still necessary to complete my plant;
            4) the completion of this plant will put me in the posi-
            tion of carrying through the plan at Niagara;
            5) my office will naturally facilitate all this and yield
            a permanent income.
            This would be to reach success in a slow and painful way.
            If I had now what I need to complete the plant, that would be
            I am as anxious to success on your account as mine.
            What a dreadful thing it would be to have the
            papers come with your name
            in red letters It would be telegraphed all
            over the globe. You may not care for it, Mr. Morgan, men are
            like flies to you. But I would have to work five years to repair
            the damage, if reparable at all. I have told you all. Please do
            not write to refuse.
            I am pained enough as it is.

            Yours sorrowfully,
            N. Tesla.


            • #7
              # 0062

              The Waldorf-Astoria, New York,
              Jan. 22nd, 1904.

              Dear Mr. Morgan:-
              Are you going to leave me in a hole?!!
              I have made a thousand powerful enemies on your account,
              because I have told them that xxxxxxxxxxx I value one of your shoe-
              strings more than all of them.
              Do not grow old and as weak men do. You are
              good for another twenty years, if you hold on to life, to your
              people and young ideas.
              Could I not pledge you in my plant a while
              for twenty-five thousand dollars I need to carry out the plan out-
              lined in my last letter? If it is not worth that much, I am not an
              engineer of world repute, but a chump.
              The better way, however, would be to enable me to com-
              plete the plant at once. This would mean for you many millions of
              dollars, and, what is more important still, a power which you could
              use effectively. I hope that you never for a moment confound my
              art with the incompetent efforts of my imitators. I could do bet-
              ter than any of them, if ninety-nine parts of me were paralyzed.
              In a hundred years from now this country would give much for the
              first honors of transmitting power without wires. It must be done
              by my methods and apparatus and I should be aided to do it first

              Yours most faithfully,
              N. Tesla.
              Last edited by Ernst; 11-07-2015, 09:36 AM. Reason: forgot title


              • #8
                # 0063

                Copy. The Waldorf-Astoria, New York,
                April 1rst, 1904.

                Dear Mr. Morgan:-
                I have solved the greatest industrial problem which has
                confronted humanity since ages. My success is absolutely certain.
                I can deliver power in any desired amounts to any distance without
                wire, in a practical and most economical manner. This will be of
                incalculable consequence on the cost of necessities and commodities.
                The prices of oil and coal in particular will be greatly affected,
                merely by the moral effect of the first public demonstrations.
                I am tired of speaking to pusillanimous people who be-
                come scared, when I ask them to invest five thousand dollars, and
                get the diarrhoea when I call for ten. Will you aid me to complete
                this great work? I have managed to advance it considerably. A
                little more and I shall have practical results which will give you
                the basis for a business of a magnitude such as the world has
                never seen before.

                Yours most faithfully,
                N. Tesla.
                Last edited by Ernst; 11-07-2015, 09:36 AM. Reason: forgot title


                • #9
                  # 0064

                  The Waldorf-Astoria, New York,
                  April 6th, 1904.

                  Dear Mr. Morgan:-
                  Please accept my best wishes for a happy journey.
                  The books I forward are great, but a thousand libraries
                  of such books will not be valued in a few years from now the ar-
                  ticle I enclose.
                  Yours most faithfully,
                  N. Tesla.

                  J.P. Morgan, Esq.

                  Last edited by Ernst; 11-07-2015, 09:37 AM. Reason: forgot title


                  • #10
                    # 0065

                    New York, April 24, 1904.

                    Dear Mr. Morgan:-
                    Have you ever read the book of Job? If you will put
                    my mind in place of his body you will find the sufferings accurately
                    described. I have put all the money I could scrape together in
                    this plant. With fifty thousand dollars more it is completed, and
                    I have an inmortal crown and an immense fortune.
                    Yours most faithfully,
                    N. Tesla.



                    • #11
                      # 0066

                      T E S L A L A B O R A T O R Y ,
                      Wardenclyffe, Long Island, N.Y.

                      July 22nd, 1904.

                      J. P. Morgan, Esq.,
                      New York City.
                      Dear Mr. Morgan:-
                      I hope the unfortunate misunderstanding, the cause of
                      which I have been vainly trying to discover, will be removed and
                      that you will recognize that my work is of the kind that passes
                      into history and worthy of your support. My plant here, when com-
                      pleted, will enable you to talk from your office to any part of
                      the world as clearly and distinctly as across your table, and it
                      will make possible the transmission of telegraphic messages to all
                      points of the globe with a speed and precision surpassing by far
                      those practicable through wires, and its capacity of transmission
                      will be greater than that of the entire cable system of the world
                      combined. What is still needed can now be very closely estimated.
                      Three months would suffice to complete the work, which has now been
                      cruelly delayed for eighteen months. If you will aid me to the end,
                      my country will be grateful to you.
                      Yours most faithfully,


                      • #12
                        # 0067 (difficult to read...)

                        New York, Sept. 9, 1904.

                        Dear Mr. Morgan:-
                        ... you interested you..... it e that I
                        ... Despite of the unfor-
                        tunate delay, I shall fulfil my promise to the letter, if you will
                        aid me to complete the work. Kindly ..... or that your ..... has
                        returns ly of the ...ture
                        from my original proposition. This plant will transmit
                        telegraphs and telephonic messages to any part of the world and
                        its earning power will be enormous, certainly not less than ten
                        thousand dollars a day, as I have already stated before, and be-
                        sides, it will insure the universal adoption of my system. I am
                        also assured of contracts for several .... plants in England and
                        Russia. This is a work with which you will not be displeased to be

                        Yours most faithfully,
                        N. Tesla.

                        We know now that the a.......ments of transatlantic
                        messages were not founded on fact, but on this point I ....
                        to say more.



                        • #13
                          # 0068

                          New York, October 13th, 1904.

                          J.P. Morgan Esq.
                          New York City.

                          Dear Mr. Morgan:-

                          I would beg you, in all earnestness, to peruse the follow-
                          ing statement of facts which I have brought separately to your at-

                          1. Five years ago, (as you may have gathered from from
                          my original announcement in the Century of June 1900, copy of a
                          patent specification filed May 16, 1900, and article in the Elec-
                          trical World and Engineer of March 5, 1904) I succeeded in encircl-
                          ing the Earth with electrical waves. What gave to this result, far-
                          reaching in itself, a tremendous significance, was the observation
                          that in their passage, from Colorado Springs to the diametrically
                          opposite region of the globe and return, the waves suffered no per-
                          ceptible diminution of intensity, thus affording an absolute ex-
                          perimental evidence, that by my system power in unlimited amounts
                          can be transmitted, without wire, to any distance and, virtually,
                          without loss.

                          2. I recorded my discoveries in the Patent Office and
                          secured broad and uncontested rights in Patents, some of which I am
                          still keeping back, for reasons which it is unnecessary to explain.
                          When they appear they will create a profound impression.

                          3. I was, even then, firmly convinced that these advances
                          would prove of greater importance than the steam engine, the tele-
                          graph, the telephone and my multiphase motor combined, for they of-
                          fered an ideal solution of the problem s of fuel, transportation,
                          and intelligence-transmission, in all their ramifications.

                          4. Desiring to obtain a support such as this work was
                          deserving, more for the good of the world than my own, I approached
                          you, naturally enough with the easily realizable project of es-
                          tablishing communication across the Atlantic, which required a
                          smaller investment.

                          5. I was fortunate to enlist your interest, but not
                          quite on the lines of my own suggestion. I contemplated the forma-
                          tion of one or two companies, to which all my inventions in wire-
                          less telegraphy and telephony and in my system of lighting were,
                          respectively, to be assigned, and proposed that you take fifty-one


                          Percent. Of the stock (not fifty, as you yourself said in our first
                          conversation, because then you would not control), the remainder to
                          go to my Parent Company. But when I received your formal letter
                          it specified an interest of fifty-one percent. in patents on these
                          inventions. That was different though my share was the same. It
                          was a simple sale. The terms were entirely immaterial to meand I
                          said nothing, for fear of offending you. Your have repeatedly re-
                          ferred to some stock and it is just possible, that a mistake was made, and that you intended to take exactly what I proposed, and
                          what would have been, for many reasons, greatly to my advantage.

                          6. Your participation called for a careful revision of
                          my plans. I could not develope the business slowly in grocery shop
                          fashion. I could not report yacht races or signal incoming steam-ers. There was no money in this. This was no business for a man
                          of your position and importance. Perhaps you have never fully ap-
                          preciated the sense of this obligation.

                          7. When I discovered, rather accidentally,, that others,
                          who openly cast ridicule on what I had undertaken and discredited
                          my apparatus, were secretly employing it, evidently bent on the
                          same task, I found myself confronted with wholly unforseen condi-
                          tions. How to meet them was the question. Of course I could not
                          enjoin the infringers. In Canada, almost midway,,I had no rights.
                          My patents on the art of individualization, insuring non-interfer-
                          ence and non-interferability, were not as yet granted in England
                          and the United States. Suppose I was anticipated in this inven-
                          tion? Then I would have to rely on ordinary tuning. This was in
                          a measure, satisfactory so long as I was alone, but shrewd competi-
                          tors, with the advantage they had, could make me fall short, as the
                          capital I had at disposal was only sufficient for two small plants.
                          Once I failed with you in the first attempt, you would not listen
                          to any other proposition. Once I lost your support I could not be-
                          cause of your personality and character of our agreement, interest
                          anybody else, at least not for several years, until,the business
                          would be developed and the commercial value of my patents recogniz-
                          ed. But there was one way, the only way, of meeting every possi-
                          ble emergency, and making the ultimate success perfectly certain.

                          8. Here I must add a purely explanatory paragraph. Sup-
                          pose a plants is constructed capable of sending signals within a
                          given radius, and consider an extension to twice this distance.
                          The area being then four times as large the returns will be, rough-ly, fourfold on account of this alone. The messages, however, will
                          become more valuable. Approximately computed, the average price
                          will be tripled. This means that a plant with a radius of activity
                          twice as large will earn twelve times as much. But it will cost

                          J. P. M.,-3.

                          Scarcely twice as much. Hence in investing a certain sum destined
                          for two small plants into a single one, the earnings will be six-
                          fold increased. The greater the distance the greater the gain un-
                          til, when the plant can transmit signals to the uttermost confines
                          of the Earth, its earning power becomes, so to speak, unlimited.

                          9. The way to do was to construct such a plant. It
                          would yield the greatest returns, not only for the reasons just
                          mentioned, but also because every other plant erected anywhere in
                          the world, by anyone, was sure to be turned into a source of income
                          It would give the greatest force to my Patents and insure a mono-
                          poly. It would make certain the acceptance of my system by all
                          governments. It discounted in advance all possible drawbacks, as
                          anticipation of the results by thee trespassers of my rights and
                          delay. It offered possibilities for a business on a large, digni-
                          fied scale, commensurate with your position in life and mine as a
                          pioneer in this art, who has originated all its essential princi-ples.

                          10. The practicability of such an undertaking I had al-
                          ready demonstrated in Colorado, but to make those feeble effects,
                          barely detectable by delicate instruments, commercially available
                          all over the Earth, required a very large sum of money. You had
                          told me from the outset that I should not ask for more, but the
                          work was of such transcending importance and it was of such enor-
                          mous value in your hands, that I undertook to explain to you the
                          state of things on your first return from abroad. You seemed to
                          misunderstand me. That was most unfortunate. Had I obtained your
                          hearing, your enemies would not had succeeded in inflicting you
                          injuries, for the first motor or lamp operated across the Pacific,
                          would have delivered them in your power. To achieve a great re-
                          sult is one thing, to achieve it at the right moment is another.
                          That favorable moment is gone forever. Your popularity has suffer-
                          ed, the moral force of my work has been weakened by delay, the
                          audacious schemers who have dared to fool the crowned heads of
                          Europe, the President of the United States, and even His Holiness
                          the Pope, have discredited the art by incompetent attempts and
                          spoiled the public by false promises which it cannot distinguish
                          from those sure of fulfillment, based on knowledge and skill and
                          legitimate right. That is what pains me the most.

                          11. Still, in spite of all this, Mr. Morgan, I can
                          realize what I have held out to you when you yourself said to me
                          that “you had no doubt”. I know you must be sceptical about get-
                          ting hundredfold returns, but if you will help me to the end you
                          will soon see that my judgement is true. Once my first plant is
                          completed I can place a dozen of such at once. I do not need to
                          wait for returns from subscribers. There are one thousand million
                          J. P. M.,-4.

                          Dollars invested in submarine cables alone. This immense property
                          is threatened with destruction because just as soon as people find
                          that messages for, say, five cents a word can be transmitted to any
                          distance, nothing will stop the demand for the cheaper and quicker
                          means of communication. The investment in cables is too large to
                          pay on this low basis and the only chance the Companies have is to
                          take hold of the new advances. My patents control every essential
                          element of the art. They are impregnable. In your hands, and
                          backed by these great results, they should be of enormous value.

                          12. My work is now so far advanced and could be finished
                          quickly. I have expened about $250,000 in all and a much smaller
                          sum separates me from a great triumph. If you have lost faith in
                          me have you not someone in whose knowledge and ability you have
                          greater confidence than in mine, and to whom I could explain?
                          Seventy-five thousand dollars would certainly complete the plant
                          and then I would have no difficulty whatever in getting all the
                          capital necessary for the further commercial expansion.

                          13. Since a year, Mr. Morgan, there has been hardly a
                          night when my pillow was not bathed in tears, but you must not
                          think me a weak man for that. I am perfectly sure to finish my
                          task, come what may. I am only sorry that after mastering all the
                          difficulties which seemed insuperable, and acquiring a special
                          knowledge and ability which I now alone possess, and which, if ap-
                          plied effectively, would advance the world a century, I must see my
                          work delayed.

                          In the hope of hearing from you favorably, I remain,

                          Yours most faithfully,


                          • #14
                            # 0072

                            23 WALL STREET

                            New York, Oct.15th,1904.

                            Mr. Nicola Tesla,
                            New York City.

                            Dear Sir:-

                            Referring to your letter of

                            13th October, Mr. J. P. Morgan wishes

                            me to inform you that it will be impos-

                            sible for him to do anything more in

                            the matter.

                            Yours truly,

                            Private Secretary.


                            • #15
                              # 0073

                              New York, Oct. 17th, 1904.

                              Dear Mr. Morgan:-

                              You are a man like Bismarck, great but uncontrollable.
                              I wrote pruposely last week, hoping that your recent association
                              might have rendered you more susceptible to a softer influence.
                              But you are no Christian at all, you are a fanatic .us..lman. Once
                              you say no, come what may, it is no. May the gravitation repel
                              instead of attract, may right become wrong, every consideration, no
                              matter what it be, must founder on the rock of your brutal resolve.

                              It is incredible. A year and a half ago I could have
                              delivered a lecture ...., which would have been listened to by all
                              the academics of the world, in the tone of my voice! That would
                              have been the time to thank you.
                              You let me struggle on, weakened by shrewd enemies, dis-
                              heartened, by .......y friends financially .yka.ated, trying to
                              overcome obstacles which you yourself have piled up before me.
                              I know, Rankine told me what a time they had in placing
                              the Niagara bonds. And what a time must I have?! “If this is a
                              good thing, why does not Morgan see you through?!” “Morgan is the
                              very last man to let a good thing go!” .. it has been going on for
                              two years. I advance, but how? Like a man swimming against a
                              stream that carries him down.
                              Will you not listen to anything at all? Are you to let
                              me perhaps succomb, loose an immortal crown, will you let a pro-
                              perty of immense value be depreciated, let it be said that your own
                              judgement was defective, simply because you had once said no. Can

                              not I make you a new proposition to overcome the difficulty? I

                              tell you I shall return your money a hundredfold.

                              Yours faithfully,

                              N. Tesla.