We all owe Nikola Tesla a debt of gratitude: the Serbian-American inventor was integral in designing the alternating current electrical supply systems that power the modern world. But Elon Musk owes Tesla more than most — the billionaire Musk named the electric car company he co-founded after the inventor. Yesterday, on the day that would've been Tesla's 158th birthday, Musk showed his appreciation for the man by pledging a million dollars to help build a Tesla museum.
The pledge was prompted by Matthew Inman, who created webcomic The Oatmeal, and organized a successful crowdfunding campaign to purchase Tesla's Wardenclyffe lab back in 2012. The Indiegogo campaign, to which Musk donated $2,500 after his car company was called out by name in the accompanying comic, raised more than $1.3 million. But in two comics in which he reviewed Tesla's Model S car, Inman said that while the cash allowed him to buy the dilapidated laboratory, it wasn't enough to build his planned museum.
The creator of 'The Oatmeal' had asked Musk for $8 million
Inman decided once again to call Musk out directly, saying in a comic that although the SpaceX founder owed him nothing, his car company had earned billions while using Tesla's name and technology. In an open letter to Musk, in which he included a note from last surviving member of Tesla's family to meet the inventor alive, Inman requested the full $8 million required to actually build a museum on the site of the inventor's lab.
Musk stopped short of the full figure, pledging only one eighth of the requested contribution to the museum. But he did also promise to build a charging station for his electric cars in the venue's parking lot, so Tesla drivers will eventually be able to drive their Tesla cars to the Tesla museum, before charging them using technology invented by Tesla and Tesla.