Light and other High Frequency Phenomena.
A lecture delivered before the National Electric Light Association at its Sixteenth Convention held at St. Louis, MO, February 28th, March 1st and 2d, 1893.


Printed by James Kempster Printing Company (New York) for the National Electric Light Association, 1893

Price: US$38,500 (i.e. €31,582 about)

Large 8vo (240 x 160 mm), pp. 114, with text illustrations throughout. Original printed wrappers, spine with some wear, front wrapper starting to seperate, preserved in a clamshell box.
Item #4832

Shipping: Shipping costs are in addition and depend on your country.


First edition, extremely rare offprint, inscribed by Tesla to the great American astronomer George Ellery Hale, of this famous lecture. “At St. Louis [Tesla] made the first public demonstration ever of radio communication, although Marconi is generally credited with having achieved this feat in 1895” (Cheney, p. 68). “What Tesla described in this lecture should be taken to be the foundation of radio engineering” (Sarkar, p. 271). By virtue of this 1893 lecture, Tesla was recognized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers as discovering radio: “In a lecture-demonstration given in St. Louis in the same year – two years before Marconi’s first experiments – Tesla also predicted wireless communication; the apparatus that he employed contained all the elements of spark and continuous wave that were incorporated into radio” (Pratt, p. 1107). Tesla also anticipated in this lecture the 1902 discovery of the ionosphere by Heaviside and its use for radio propagation (Seifer, p. 105). “He was an inventor, an engineer, a scientist and an oddball … more than any one man, Nikola Tesla is responsible for the twentieth century” (Hunt, introduction to Nikola Tesla: My Inventions and Other Writings (2011)). In his speech presenting Tesla with the Edison medal in 1917, B. A. Behrend, Vice President of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, stated: “Were we to seize and eliminate from our industrial world the result of Mr. Tesla’s work, the wheels of industry would cease to turn, our electric cars and trains would stop, our towns would be dark and our mills would be idle and dead. His name marks an epoch in the advance of electrical science.” The offered work is a separately-paginated offprint from the Proceedings of the National Electric Light Association, 1893 (journal pagination 191-302). It was reprinted (in parts) in May-June of the same year in Electrical Engineer (New York), Electrical Engineer (London), Electrical Review, The Electrician, and Electricity, in July-December in the Journal of the Franklin Institute, and in the following year as Chapter 28 in The Inventions, Writings and Researches of Nikola Tesla, as well as in numerous later publications (in several languages). We know of no other inscribed book or pamphlet of Tesla’s having appeared in commerce, nor of any other copy of this offprint. OCLC lists copies at the American Philosophical Society, Huntington, Library of Congress, Linda Hall, New York Public Library, and New York University (no listings outside US).

Provenance: Inscribed on front wrapper ‘Compliments of the Author’ in Tesla’s hand to George Ellery Hale (Hale’s signature and ink stamp of the Kenwood Astrophysical Observatory in Chicago, of which Hale was director, also on front wrapper). Tesla and Hale met on at least one occasion. In a letter to Hale of June 4, 1908, Tesla wrote: “I have greatly regretted that since our meeting at Chicago years ago, we have never been able to get again together. Your work interests me very much, and I am heartily in sympathy with you”. It is surely probable that this meeting was on the occasion of the World’s Fair, held May-October 1893 in Chicago – Tesla also gave a demonstration of his wireless experiments at the Fair and Hale had recently been appointed director of the Kenwood Observatory and professor of astrophysics at the newly founded University of Chicago – and the date of the Exposition suggests that Tesla could have presented this offprint to Hale at that meeting.

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