A new exhibition reflecting Nikola Tesla’s life and works has opened at the Vstavit Prague Exhibition Grounds. Models of Tesla’s inventions are on display, as with data about his relationship to Prague, where he studied at Charles University in 1880.
The show comes to Prague in collaboration with the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade, providing locals with a unique opportunity to see functional versions of the Tesla coil and other inventions from the museum’s permanent collection.
The Nikola Tesla Museum, which was founded in 1952 and opened to the public in 1955 in Tesla’s native nation, contains almost 200,000 artefacts connected to the inventor’s professional and personal lives. It also contains his death mask as well as an urn containing his ashes.
In Prague, Nikola Tesla has a long history. In 1880, the inventor attended Charles University in Prague, where he studied under physicist Ernst Mach and lived on Ve Smekách street, just off Wenceslas Square. He would have likely stayed at Prague longer, but he departed after one semester due to his father’s death.
Later in life, Tesla received the Order of the White Lion, First Class, from Czechoslovakia’s then-President Edvard Edvard Bene, as well as an honorary doctorate from Czech Technical University. After receiving the honor, he would express his gratitude to the people of Prague:
“I would like to convey my sincere thanks to the municipality of Prague for their kind and valuable message,” Tesla wrote to Czech Technical University in a letter published by the newspaper Národní politika in 1937.
“I have fond memories of your beautiful city, and the inspiration I received there is helping me in my work right now. I hold the great honors shown to me there in my highest esteem, and I hope I shall prove myself worthy of them. My admiration for the great people of Czechoslovakia, bearers of the torch of education, cannot be expressed in words.”
Following Tesla’s death in 1943, the Czechoslovak company Elektra was renamed Tesla in his honor, and it went on to hold a state-sponsored monopoly on electronics production in the country until 1989.
Tesla, Inc. After the fall of communism, it was privatized and continues to create electrical products today, despite multiple changes in ownership. In the 2000s, the corporation sued Elon Musk’s Tesla, Inc. for trademark infringement, but the two companies negotiated a coexistence agreement in 2010.
A street in Prague 6 is named after Tesla, and there is also a memorial to him: a bronze figure portraying an electrical discharge created by Czech artists Ji Trojan and Stefan Milkov.
From November 21 to December 11, the Nikola Tesla exhibit at Prague’s Vstavit Exhibition Grounds was open everyday and included information in both Czech and English. Adult admission is 180 crowns, while children’s admission is 90 crowns.
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