Famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, scanned image from postcard c. 1890.Enlarge Photo
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors, has quite a lot on his mind these days.
Among his tasks: making sure production of the 2012 Tesla Model S electric sport sedan ramps up quickly enough, while maintaining superb quality, to let Tesla build 5,000 units before the end of the year.
But Musk still took time recently to support the effort by a nonprofit to purchase the laboratory building in which famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla experimented and establish a Nikola Tesla Museum in Shoreham, New York.
It all started with a post on the popular Oatmeal site that supported the fundraising effort to buy the property, then known as Wardenclyffe.
Shoreham is located east of New York City on Long Island, perhaps better known locally as the site of a never-finished nuclear plant that ultimately bankrupted the local electric utility.
The cost of the Tesla property is $1.6 million, and New York State has offered a grant that will match independently raised funds, dollar for dollar, up to $850,000.
The fundraising effort on IndieGogo has thus far raised almost $500,000 of the necessary $850,000. But, inevitably, there's a villain in the story.
Another potential purchaser has an offer on the table and plans to turn the property into a retail location--potentially demolishing Tesla's laboratory building to do so.
Since Tesla Motors [NYSE:NSDQ] is named after Nikola Tesla, it seemed a natural fit to Jalopnik's Matt Hardigree.
He connected Oatmeal's Matthew Inman to Musk via e-mail, and Musk agreed to donate to the effort personally.
Musk did note that a donation wouldn't be an appropriate use of Tesla Motors funds at this point, since all its cash needs to be "reserved for operation of the business."
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk with Tesla RoadsterEnlarge Photo
You can see the entire correspondence, which is pretty amusing, on Jalopnik.
So, well done, Hardigree. Well done, Mr. Musk.
Now it's up to you. The closing lines of the Oatmeal post: "Internet, this is where you come in. Let's build a goddamn museum!"
We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
You can donate here: IndieGogo Tesla Museum.
FYI, according to the IndieGogo site, the campaign is linked directly to the bank account of Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization registered with the State of New York.
UPDATE: Tesla boardmember and Model S driver Steve Jurvetson points out that a new graphic novel about Tesla, titled The Inventor - Nikola Tesla, will be published by Halloween. Chapter One is available online for a limited time.