The demolition of Tesla’s tower in 1917 was the cause of great speculation and rumor. There were reports that it was demolitioned by the US government to prevent its use by enemy forces to spy and conduct technological warfare. Others speculated that it was destroyed to protect secret inventions. In fact, the tower was dismantled to pay off Tesla’s creditors. Tesla was in debt to the heirs of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel; he had been living there on credit extended to him by his friend and benefactor, John Jacob Astor. But when Astor perished during the sinking of the Titanic, Astor’s heirs required payment of the debt. Tesla did not have the funds, so the courts ordered that the tower be demolished and sold as scrap metal to repay the debt.
Pivotal Moments in Nikola Tesla’s Life
Explore the inventor's most influential moments and discoveries using our interactive Tesla Timeline.
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