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Cigdem Göle

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"Things don't always go as planned, Mr Angier. That's the beauty of science"

Those who have seen Christopher Nolan's film, The Prestige (2006) will surely remember these lines.

In the film, Nikola Tesla (played by David Bowie) is depicted as a mysterious scientist who helps the magician,

Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) by giving him the secrets of teleportation.

The textbooks do not give Tesla the credit he deserves. Most people are not aware that he is the inventor of the radio

as well as many other devices.Neon and fluorescent lighting and AC electric motor are two examples of his inventions.

He is also the designer of the world's first hydroelectric power station. He invented The Tesla Coil (1891), an induction coil that

he used to create electrical pulses of millions of volts.Through this, he discovered raido's essential elements.

It's sad that one of the biggest and most eccentric inventors of the 20th century is underestimated by those who write the history

of science.

Some Tesla links for anyone who's interested,





Edited by Cigdem Eksi
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Thanks for posting this.

It's not surprising that the Nazis used Tesla physics since his inventions were way ahead of his time.

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  • 8 months later...

In the book Wizard—The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla—Biography of a Genius by Marc J. Seifer, the author states the following:

On January 8, [1943] Abraham N. Spanel, the fort-two-year-old president of the International Latex Corporation of Dover, Delaware (now Playtex), who was residing in New York City, had called FBI agents Fredrich Cornels to discuss Tesla’s death-ray experiments. As the inventor had just died, Spanel feared that Kosanovic would obtain the pertinent papers and pass them to the Soviets.

Spanel had already begun to make a name for himself in media and military circles by having invented floating pontoon stretchers for soldiers wounded in amphibious landings and by turning back the million-dollar profits to the government for the war effort. Born in Odessa in 1901, Spanel would later became [sic] a vociferous anti-Communist who spent upward of $8 million throughout the 1940s and 1950s “buying space in the United States press to reprint articles that would contribute to an understanding of world problems.” Having fled to France in 1905 to escape the anti-Semitic pogroms [sic] of Russia with his family as a child, Spanel, at the age of seven, came to the United States in 1908. A graduate of the University of Rochester, Spanel had invented electrical appliances and pneumatic products in the early 1920s before starting the International Latex Corporation in 1929. Realizing the potential importance of the Tesla invention in the “democratic” fight for world supremacy, Spanel had contacted Dr. D. Lozado, adviser to Vice President Wallace, and Mr. Bopkin of the Department of Justice. Bopkin agreed to contact J. Edgar Hoover regarding the affair, and Lozado conferred with Wallace and perhaps even FDR, calling Spanel back shortly after their conversation to convey that the government was “vitally interested in Tesla’s papers.”

Spanel had also contacted one Boyce Fitzgerald, whom the FBI had pegged as “an electrical engineer who was a protégé of Tesla’s,” who had also called Cornels. Haaving met Fitzgerald at an engineering meeting a few years earlier, Spanel became highly interested in the Tesla weapon, possibly hoping to become involved in a profitable business developing the death-beam device for the U.S. military.

Seifer, Marc J. Wizard. pp. 448-449.

Playtex's website, the successor to International Latex, states, in pertinent part, regarding its history:

The history of Playtex begins in America. Not with bras and girdles as might be expected, but with vacuum sweepers. The company was founded by Abraham Nathaniel Spanel. He used latex in the production of his products and, with this interest toward supplying households and especially women, with innovative goods, a host of products were produced, e.g. bathing caps, aprons, baby pants and girdles.


Prototype of "Living Girdle" was manufactured. A one-piece rubber foundation garment you sprinkled with talc and rolled on - sold in a tube. Good-bye to whalebone and combrinc. The first use of rubber in women's underwear was to prove more liberating to women's lives than bra burning in the 70's.

During the war the company supplied the government with latex for defense equipment such as stretchers, life-rafts, life jackets and parachutes. After the war, the company resumed it's emphasis on women's products and magazines and billboards across America hailed the wonders of the 'Living Girdle'. The one and only girdle, with miracle latex on the outside and kitten-soft fabric on the inside. The new invisible Playtex girdle gave millions of women new, slimmed, trimmed down figures.


Not much appears to be available on Spanel. Why was an entrepreneur in the latex industry so interested in Tesla?

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