Nikola Tesla and Croatians in the USA

Darko Žubrinić, Zagreb 2020

Nikola Tesla and Ivan Meštrović

We provide an important testimony of Ivan Meštrović (1883-1962), distinguished Croatian artist (translated from Croatian into English by Darko Žubrinić).


Ivan Meštrović, znameniti hrvatski kipar, o Teslinom je idealizmu zapisao sljedeće:
Njegov ideal i svi njegovi napori bili su usmjereni na to, da koristi napretku čovječanstva. Iza toga je skrenuo u mistiku i pripovjedao mi, kako se još od mladosti prije spavanja, klečeći na golim koljenima, molio Bogu. Kad sam ga upitao, kakve molitve moli, odgovorio mi je:

- One, koje sam u djetinjstvu molio. Ali, da, tako sam se molio sve do svoje pedesete godine. Od toga se doba molim drugačije, nu to je svejedno, suština je ista, i ja se molim Bogu svakoga dana.

Ivan Meštrović: Uspomene na političke ljude i dogadjaje, Buenos Aires, 1961., Knjižnica Hrvatske revije. (str. 191-193); ili Matica hrvatska, Zagreb 1969. (str. 169-170)




Ivan Meštrović, distinguished Croatian sculptor, wrote the following about Tesla's idealism:
His ideal and all of his efforts were directed towards the advancement of Mankind. After that, he turned to mysticism and recounted to me, that he was since his youth praying to God before going to sleep, kneeling on bare knees. When I asked him, which prayers does he pray, he answered to me:

- Those, that I prayed since my childhood. But, yes, I prayed so until my fifties. Since then, I pray differently, but the essence is the same, and I pray to God every day.

Ivan Meštrović: Uspomene na političke ljude i dogadjaje (Reminiscences of Political People and Events), Buenos Aires, 1961., Knjižnica Hrvatske revije. (pp. 191-193); or Matica hrvatska, Zagreb 1969 (pp. 169-170)


Spomenik Nikole Tesle koji je napravio Ivan Meštrović, najveći hrvatski kipar u povijesti.
Postavljen je u Zagrebu. (Izvor fotografije Flickr.)
Sasvim blizu tog spomenika nalazi se ulica Nikole Tesle u Zagrebu.


Ivan Meštrović, istaknuti hrvatski kipar

Ivan Meštrović zamislio je svoje spomenike Nikoli Tesli i Ruđeru Boškoviću u Zagrebu kao spomenički par.
Teslin spomenik je izrađen godine 1956., u povodu stote obljetnice njegova rođenja.

Nikola Tesla and Ivan Benković

Ivan (John) Benković (1886-1918), was born in the village of Rečica near the city of Karlovac, and studied painting at the Academy of Arts in Zagreb. He arrived to the USA in 1912, working as commercial artist in New York, under the pseudonym Bankow. He made a live portrait of Nikola Tesla in 1913 (one of only two Tesla's live portraits). With his recommendation letter, Tesla helped him to get employment in respectable Catholic journal entitled Extension Magazine, as well as in Hrvatski Svijet (Croatian World). He died prematurely out of the Spanish flew. See [Vladimir Novak, Croatians in America, p. 73]. The mentioned Tesla's portrait, drawn by Ivan Benković, is kept in the Museum of N. Tesla in Belgrade, while Tesla's recommendation letter is in the City Museum in Samobor near Zagreb.
Marijan Matijević
Ivan Benković (1886.-1918.), Croatian painter in the USA, who Nikola Tesla helped to find his employment.
Source [Vladimir Novak, Croatians in America, p. 73]. Benković and Tesla attended the secondary school in the same building in the city of Karlovac.
Marijan Matijević
Portrait of Nikola Tesla drawn by Ivan Benković in January 1923 (oil on canvas, laquered).
Our gratitude goes to Mrs. Milica Kesler of the Museum Nikola Tesla in Belgrade, for having sent us the photo.
Dimensions of the portrait are 76 x 63 cm (by the courtesy of Mrs. Jasenka Ferber Bogdan, HAZU).
Recommendation letter by Nikola Tesla for Ivan Benković
Recommendation letter for Ivan Benković written by Nikola Tesla in 1913, kept in the Museum of the City of Samobor.
Many thanks to the Samobor Museum for having sent us the photo.
Here is the content of Tesla's recommendation letter written for Ivan Benković, kept in the Samobor Museum (Benkovićev's wife Marija Anger was born in Samobor):
TESLA LABORATORY
LONG ISLAND, N. Y. 202 Metropolitan Tower
January 16, 1913

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

This will introduce Mr. John Benkovich,
a painter of excellent academic training who has already achieved
distinction in his profession. I take pleasure in recommending
him to any employer who is desirous of securing the services of
a skillful designer or draftsman, feeling certain that he will
acquit himself of the most difficult duties in his entire satis-
faction.

Nikola Tesla

Fritzi Zivic
Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower 1904, Long Island, New York. Source: Tesla Collection.
Height 57 m, diameter of the cupola 17 m.
July 4, 1917 - The Fall of Nikola Tesla’s Wardenclyffe Tower

Nikola Tesla and the Punat Electric Plant on the island of Krk, Croatia

Here we provide an article written by Rado Žic Mikulin (PhD in medical sciences), describing how Nikola Tesla helped the citizens of the town of Punat on the island of Krk in Croatia (at that time, Punat was named Aleksandrovo) to build their first electric plant. (Translated into English by D.Ž.)


MUNJARA!

Naši judi va Meriki, ki su vidili prednosti letrike, su se zbrali i odlučili udelat dioničko društvo. Pitali su za savjet Nikolu Teslu, ki je bil poznanik Pera Orlića Vicencova. Tesla je udelal nacrt i jin svitoval, kadi bi bilo ju dobro udelat. Na saki fin tamo, kadi je živa voda. Kupili su na PUNTICI (seda škver) zemju, kadi je bila krušija zi ku se je moglo zimat vodu za hkadit motor. Anton Pavlić je po nacrtu udelal kuću. Strukovnjaci zi Jubjane su montirali motor od 25 konji i generator od 15 KW. Prve žaruje su zasvitile 1929 leta. MUNJARA je delala do 1944 leta, a ontrat aš ni bilo nafte fermala. Predsjednik dioničkoga društva je bil Anton Mrakovčić Pavlić, a dioničari su bili Ivan Črvarić, Pere Orlić Perica, Osip Franolić Katinica, Jive Brusić Jurić, Anton Maračić Moro, Mate Kosić zi Kornića. Godine 1948. je MUNJARA bila nacionalizirana, i prominila je jime va ELEKTRIČNA CENTRALA PUNAT.

Začarkal i ilustriral Rado Žic Mikulin.

ELECTRIC POWER PLANT!

Our people in America, who became aware of the importance of electricity, have gathered and made a decision to found a joint-stock company. They asked Nikola Tesla for advice, who was an acquaintance of Pero Orlić Vicencov. Tesla made a plan, and adviced them where to build it. In any case, where there is pouring water. On the location of PUNTICA (now a shipyard), they bought a land, with a channel with pouring water, that was possible to use for cooling the motor. According to the plan, Anton Pavlić built the house. Specialists from Ljubljana installed the motor of 25 hp, and a generator of 15 kW. The first bulbs were lighted in 1929. The MUNJARA (power plant) was active until 1944, and when there was not oil, it was closed. The president of the joint-stock company was Anton Mrakovčić Pavlić, and the stakeholders were Ivan Črvarić, Pere Orlić Perica, Osip Franolić Katinica, Jive Brusić Jurić, Anton Maračić Moro, Mate Kosić from Kornić. In 1948, the power plant was nationalized, and changed the name to ELEKTRIČNA CENTRALA PUNAT (Electrical Plant Punat).

Written and illustrated by Rado Žic Mikulin.


Marijan Matijević
Interior of the electric plant in Punat, built according to the plans prepared by Nikola Tesla.
Photos by the courtesy of Rado Žic Mikulin.
Marijan Matijević
Munjara (Electric plant) built in 1929 in the town of Punat (then Aleksandrovo).
Munjara (electric plant) is derived from munja - lightning (in Croatian).
S.O.J. - s ograničenim jamstvom (with a limited warranty)
A photocopy of the following article was sent to me by Rado Žic Mikulin. He obtained it from the grandsone of Jivo Crvarić (electrician).
Marijan Matijević
An article published in the parish journal (puntarsko Saće - Honeycomb) of the town of Punat in 1992 or 1993.
The author, Ivan Žic Antičić, was nicknamed "munja" (lightning), due to his efficiency and reliability.
Note that some of the data have been subsequently corrected by another hand.
Photo by the courtesy of Rado Žic Mikulin.


O elektrifikaciji Punta

Nakon što je Omišalj 1925. dobio struju, Punat se odlučio na ovu akciju. Naši emigranti u Americi u dogovoru s Nikolom Teslom skupili su 15000 dolara i to u pet dionica koje su isporučivali za radove. Od toga je napravljena zgrada visine 6 metara za strojarnicu i arhiv. Naziv firme bio je "Munjara aleksandrovo s.o.j." (s ograničenim jamstvom). Dvanaest stručnjaka iz Ljubljane izvodilo je radove na montaži dizel eletrane s motorom od 25 Ks i generatorom izmejnične struje od 15 kW na mjestnoj mreži. Električna mreža izvedena je u devet strujnih krugova na impregniranim stupovima i tregerima [nosačima, D.Ž.] zračne mreže. U veljači 1929. zasvijetlile su prve žarulje, da bi 1945. bilo 240 potrošača sa strujomerom i 150 paušalista sa sijalicama od 15 i 25 wati. U prvom odboru za Munjaru bili su
  • Mrakovčić, Anton Barapavlić kao predsjednik, te
  • Črvarić, Ivan
  • Orlić, Petar Perica
  • Franolić, Josip Katinica
  • Brusić, Ivan Jurić i
  • Mrakovčić, Anton Moro kao dioničar
Knjigovođa je bio Franjo Zec Zečić, do 1946., a kasnije Petar Solar Žic, strojari i instalateri bili su
  • Maračić, Viktor Antončić
  • Maračić, Ivan Antončić
  • Mirković, Franjo iz Vukovara
  • Franolić, Josip Katinica
  • Žic, Frane Klačić
  • Žic, Petar Dobrinčić
  • Orlić, Petar Loretin
  • Milohnić, Ivan i
  • Orlić, Franjo Mikušić
u vremenu od 1929. do 1948. Zanat elektromontera ili pak strojara izučili su
  • Orlić, Franjo Kovačić
  • Jordanov, Ljubo
  • Brusić, Vjenceslav
  • Antončić, Bogumil Antončić
  • Orlić, Franjo
  • Žic, Mario Tolanić sada u Australiji i
  • Orlić, Petar Loretin
  • Milohnić, Ivan i
  • Žic, Ivan Antičić
Elektro-vodovodno poduzeće iz Krka i dobiva naziv Električna centrala Punat.

Centrala je radila s deficitom zbog skupe struje i male potrošnje. Najveći potrošač bio je hotle Frankopan (sadašnji Crveni križ iz Maribora). Centrala jebila u pogodonu od zalaska sunca do 23 sata, a zimi do 22 h. U vrijeme mesopusta žarulje su gorjele čitavu noć. Centrala jebila u pogodnu do 1944., a u vrijeem talijanske okupacije žarulje su bile tuširane plavom bojom, a u vrijeem njemačke okupacije prestala je radom, jer nije bilo goriva. Elektro-vodovodno poduzeće iz Krka i dobiva naziv Električna centrala Punat.

Poslije rata centrala je radila po danu za potrebe brodogradilišta. Centrala je nacionalizirana i preuzima je Elektro-vodovodno poduzeće iz Krka i dobiva naziv Električna centrala Punat.

Ivan Žic Antičić



Rukom je netko dodao još
  • ime dioničara Mate Kosića, mežnjara iz Kornića
  • preuzeli od Pirivaika, Država 1. V. 1942.
  • direktor Elektrane Krk - Mrakovčić Fran, limar r. 1915.



Prema dodatnim podatcima koje mi je poslao dr. Rado Žic Mikulin, dioničko društva za izgradnju Munjare je osnovano u New Yorku, a osnovali su ga ljudi iz Punta i susjednog sela Kornića. U Munjari su bili i nacrti, koje je napravio Nikola Tesla (1929. on ima 73 godine). Nakon nacionalizacije 1945. g., ti su Teslini nacrti tijekom komunističkog perioda odneseni i nije poznato gdje se nalaze. Pere Orlić Vicencov (dalji rođak g. Rado Žic Mikulina) je Nikolu Teslu zvao Mikula Tesla. Tesla i Orlić Vicencov su međusobno govorili na hrvatskom. Dizl-motori su prema Teslinom savjetu nabavljeni u Beču, vjerojatno i agregati (u to vrijeme u značenju električnog generatora).


According to additional information, sent by dr. Rado Žic Mikulin, the joint-stock company for building the Electric Power Plant was founded in New York, by people from the town of Punat and the nearby village of Kornić. The Munjara possessed plans, made bz Nikola Tesla (in 1929 he was at the age of 73). After nationalization in 1945., these plans were taken away during the communist period, and it is not known where they are. Pere Orlić Vicencov (a distant relative of Mr. Rado Žic Mikulin) called Nikola Tesla as Mikula Tesla. Tesla and Orlić Vicencov were talking in Croatian. Düssel-Motors were, according to Tesla's advice, purchased in Vienna, and probably the aggregates (at that time in the sense of electrical generators) as well.

U knjizi Mihovila Bolonića i Ivana Žica - Rokova, Otok Krk kroz vjekove (Kršćanska sadašnjost, Zagreb 2002.), nalazi se podatak da je prva munjara na otoku Krku počela raditi u Omišlju 24. prosinca 1925. g., a druga je munjara na otoku počela s radom 24. prosinca 1928. (ing. W. Gatti) u gradu Krku. Prema tome, munjara u Puntu je treća po redu na otoku Krku. Zanimljivo je da u toj knjizi nije spomenuta Munjara u Puntu. Ovi su podatci dobiveni 2020. g. ljubaznošću g. Jurja Mužine iz Zagreba.


Nikola Tesla and Fritzie Zivic

Fritzie Zivic (1913.-1984.), American boxer of Croatian roots, welterweight world champion in 1940 and 1941. His father Živčić was born in the Croatian town of Bosiljevo.
Fritzi Zivic
Fritzie Zivic, world champion in welter category, 1940 and 1941, on the title page of The Ring.
Nikola Tesla s Fritzie Zivicem
Nikola Tesla in 1941, with American boxer Fritzie Zivic (The Croat Comet) and with his brothers: Joe Zivic, Fritzie Zivic, Nikola Tesla, Jack Zivic, Pete Zivic, and Eddie Zivic. Source: photo archive of Pittsuburgh Post-Gazette.
There are at least two more persons at the table, noticeable in the mirror behind Tesla.
Tesla i Charles F. Scott
The last person could be Charles F. Scott (1864-1944), Tesla's assistent already since 1890s.
Scott wrote a very nice article, published in Zagreb in 1929, describing Tesla's work on the development of his polyphase system.
Tesla i Fritzie Zivich
This is one of the rare photos where Tesla smiles (many thanks to Mr. Mario Filipi for his remark).
This very nice and amusing photo has been shot in 1941, just two years before Tesla's death.
Tesla i Fritzie Zivich
Nikola Tesla in good spirits with three of the Zivic brothers: Eddie, Pete and Fritzie. Source.


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