In 2012, popular internet comic Matthew Inman, better known as The Oatmeal, published his most-viral comic to date – an ode to Nikola Tesla, who he called “the greatest geek who ever lived.” In it, he argued that the only thing Edison ever pioneered was douchebaggery, and that Tesla was the real hero who should be championed.
Shortly after, Inman announced that he was spearheading an effort to buy back Tesla’s old laboratory and repurpose it as a museum. The lab, located in Shoreham, New York, is known as Wardenclyffe Tower and had recently gone up for sale. Inman felt that it was his duty to preserve this final workplace of the unsung hero who “drop-kicked humanity into a second industrial revolution.”
He started an Indiegogo campaign, seeking $850,000 to outbid the current buyer and help a non-profit organization erect the Nikola Tesla Science Center.
The campaign garnered over $1.3 million.
Here’s the thing – that money raised via crowdfunding is amazing, but it’s only enough to save the location. To build the museum and fully realize the Tesla Science Center, it’s going to take millions.
Naturally, Inman thought to ask the decidedly not poor founder of Tesla Motors, Elon Musk, for help.
@Oatmeal I would be happy to help
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 14, 2014
And today, on Nikola Tesla’s 158th birthday, Musk delivered.
Earlier this week I got to speak to the man directly, and he promised two things. 1. He’s going to build a Tesla Supercharger station in the parking lot of the museum. 2. He’s donating $1 million dollars to the museum itself. Elon Musk: from the deepest wells of my geeky little heart: thank you. This is amazing news. And it’s Nikola Tesla’s 158th birthday.
That’s awesome. What else can we say?
$1 million from Elon Musk! And a supercharging station! Thank you, Mr. Musk!!!
— Tesla Science Center (@teslascience) July 10, 2014