Last picture of Nikola Tesla, 1943


By the end of his illustrious and tortuous life, renowned physicist, engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla was penniless and living in a small hotel room in New York City.

He had become a vegetarian at that time in his life and lived only on milk, bread, honey and vegetable juices. Tesla spent days in a park surrounded by the creatures that mattered most to him – pigeons – and had sleepless nights working on mathematical equations and scientific problems in his head.

On January 7, 1943, at the age of 86, Tesla died alone in Room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. Her body was later found by maid Alice Monaghan after she entered Tesla's room, ignoring the "do not disturb" sign Tesla had placed on her doorstep two days earlier.

Assistant Medical Examiner H.W. Wembley examined the body and ruled that the cause of death was coronary thrombosis. Tesla's remains were found on Madison Avenue by the Frank E. Moved to Campbell Funeral Home. and 81st St. Hugo Gernbach, a longtime friend and supporter of Tesla, commissioned a sculptor to create the Death Mask, which is now on display at the Nikola Tesla Museum.

Two days later, the FBI ordered the Alien Property Custodian to confiscate Tesla's belongings, even though Tesla was a US citizen. Tesla's entire assets from the Hotel New Yorker and other New York City hotels were moved under the Office of Alien Property (OAP) seal to the Manhattan Storage and Warehouse Company.

John G. Trump, MIT And a renowned electrical engineer serving as a technical aide to the National Defense Research Committee was called in to analyze Tesla objects in OAP custody.

After a three-day investigation, Trump's report concluded that there was nothing that would put a threat in unfriendly hands, stating: "[Tesla's] thought and effort during at least the past 15 years was primarily were of a speculative, philosophical and somewhat propaganda character, often related to the production of electricity and wireless transmission; but did not include new, concrete, practical principles or methods for realizing such results".

On January 10, 1943, New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia read a eulogy on WNYC radio by Slovene-American author Louis Admic while the violin pieces "Ave Maria" and "Tamo Delco" were played in the background. On January 12, two thousand people attended the state funeral of Tesla in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Following the funeral, Tesla's body was taken to Ferncliff Cemetery in Ardsley, New York, where he was later cremated. The next day, a second service was held by leading priests at Trinity Chapel in New York City.

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