The "ingenious scheme" of phosphorescent light photography

Tesla, Nikola, Serbian-American inventor (1856-1943). Autograph letter signed ("N. Tesla").

New York, 26. I. 1894.

8vo. 2 pp. On headed stationery of the Gerlach Hotel.


To his friend Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of The Century Magazine, on the first photographs taken with phosphorescent light: "From the samples your actress showed to me to-day I think that we can obtain excellent photos. This ingenious sheme of combining with the phosphorescent light a flash will no doubt succeed. I have seen some defects in the method we have employed last time and think that the next time we shall do better. I shall arrange for an other trial, but I think that we must perform a few more experiments before we come to a definite result, such as would be a credit to your magazine and to your article. You must therefore give us all the time you can [...]".

Tesla developed the first practical phosphorescent lamp, and would take the first photograph to be illuminated by phosphorescence - an image of Tesla himself holding the bulb in a rather dimly-lit room - in the weeks preceding this letter.


Charles Hamilton Autographs, 3 April 1975, lot 287.


A few light scuff marks on the verso, possibly from prior mounting.