Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tesla's Liberty Street Laboratory

In 1887, Nikola Tesla rented his first laboratory. This is described in Carlson's biography:

Tesla’s first laboratory was located in New York’s financial district. The laboratory was at 89 Liberty Street, just around the corner from the offices of Mutual Union at 120 Broadway. On the ground floor was the Globe Stationery & Printing Company, and Tesla occupied a room upstairs. The lab was furnished with only a workbench, a stove, and a dynamo manufactured by Edward Weston.

From: Carlson, W. Bernard. Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age (p. 81). Princeton University Press.

This was in the middle of the north side of Liberty Street between Broadway and Church. (The street is named Church north of Liberty, and Trinity to the south). Across the street from 89 Liberty, Temple Street ran two blocks south to Trinity Church. With Tesla's obsession with the number three and with his father a priest, perhaps Trinity, Church and Temple were significant to him. The building with his laboratory is highlighted below in orange in an 1891 Atlas map.

From: Plate 2. Atlas of the City of New York, Manhattan Island. G.W. Bromley and Co., Philadelphia, 1891.

His stay here continued through the time when he invented the A/C generator and motor, although much of the refinement of these inventions were done in Pittsburgh. He moved to his Grand Street laboratory in August of 1889.

Globe Stationery continued at this address from 1876 until 1897 when it moved to 25 John Street. (Modern Stationer and Book-Seller, April 25, 1921. page 44, Google Books).

The Singer Building was constructed on this site. When it was completed in 1908, it was briefly the tallest building in the world. It was torn down in 1968, at the time the tallest building ever demolished. It was replaced by 1 Liberty Center. The site of Tesla's laboratory is one-half block east of the southeastern corner of what would become the grounds of the World Trade Center.

From: Plate 2. Atlas of the City of New York, Manhattan Island. G.W. Bromley and Co., Philadelphia, 1911. This map clearly shows 89 Liberty Street as part of the southwest corner of the Singer Building.

The Singer Building. Photo from Wikipedia. Tesla's laboratory at 89 Liberty Street was situated at what became the southwestern corner (leftmost in the above picture).

Tesla's Houston Street Laboratory
Tesla's Grand Street Laboratory
Tesla's South Fifth Avenue Laboratory
Next up:
Part Five: A Clear Photo of the Building that Housed Tesla's East Houston Laboratory.

A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.

Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.

Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


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