The Inventions Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla. With Special Reference to His Work in Polyphase Currents and High Potential Lighting.

The Inventions, Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla; inscribed by Nikola Tesla to Civil War Major and Assistant U.S. Treasurer General Daniel Butterfield

The Inventions Researches and Writings of Nikola Tesla. With Special Reference to His Work in Polyphase Currents and High Potential Lighting.

MARTIN, Thomas Commerford. [Nikola Tesla].


Item Number: 119204

New York: The Electrical Engineer, 1894.

Scarce edition of Thomas Commerford Martin’s landmark work in the field of electrical engineering, detailing the research and inventions of brilliant inventor, Nikola Tesla. Octavo, original cloth, patterned endpapers, tissue-guarded frontispiece portrait of Tesla, illustrated with numerous diagrams throughout. Presentation copy, inscribed by Nikola Tesla in Serbian Cyrillic on the second free endpaper, “Prijatelju D. Butterfield, Nikola Tesla” which translates as “My friend D. Butterfield, Nikola Tesla.” The recipient, Daniel Butterfield, was a Civil War Major General and was the head of one of Cold Spring, New York’s first families. Injured on the third day of Gettysburg, he received the Medal of Honor for his actions at Gaines Mill, Virginia, and is credited with adapting the current bugle call into Taps, the most famous bugle call in history. He later became Assistant U.S. Treasurer during the Grant administration and played a major role in the scheme (in which Grant himself participated) that caused the major collapse in the price of gold, on September 24, 1869, known as Black Friday. First published in 1894, Commerford’s landmark text was reprinted twice that year (this being the third printing which is identical to the previous printings and equally as scarce). In near fine condition. Housed in a custom full morocco clamshell box. From the library of August John Pacini, the head of the Department of Biophysical Research at the Victor X-Ray Corporation, Chicago, with a small presentation slip from his wife laid in. Exceptionally rare, not only does the present title scarcely come to market, but no other copy inscribed by Tesla has ever appeared in auction records.

Inventor, electrical engineer, and physicist, Nikola Tesla is perhaps best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A brilliant inventor, Tesla conducted a range of experiments involving mechanical generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early x-ray imaging, in an attempt to develop inventions he could patent and market. He became well-known as an inventor and demonstrated his achievements to celebrities and wealthy patrons at his lab, and was noted for his showmanship at public lectures. Throughout the 1890s, Tesla pursued his ideas for wireless lighting and worldwide wireless electric power distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. Tesla's inventions had varying degrees of success and, later in life, he earned the reputation of the archetypal 'mad scientist' for his claims that he was in communication with entities on Mars and in the process of developing a variety of implausible inventions.

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