The high-voltage current is being passed through the human body to bring the lamp to
incandescence. Tesla’s friend, Mark Twain, is holding the loop above the resonating coil.
Tesla is at the switch in the background.
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
Tesla had first become aware of Twain during his younger years while crippled with sicknesses
so bad that the doctors had given up all hope. He was bedridden and sinking into deep despair
when someone gave him a couple of Twain’s books to read to pass the time. Tesla said that the books were so captivating and moving that it helped pull him out of the depressed state he was in, setting the stage for him to recover.
At the Player’s Club
Later on in life he met Mark Twain at a place they both liked to go called The Player’s Club, Twain was someone absolutely entranced by things like science, technology, and inventions and so naturally he connected with Tesla right off the bat. It was there at that club that they began a strong friendship that would last the rest of their lives.
In Tesla’s laboratory
In many ways the two lived in the world of imagination, just different aspects of it. Both could
pull ideas out of thin air and make monumental changes to the world around them, one through
words and the other through electricity. They admired this ability in each other and liked to
hang out and talk for hours in Tesla’s lab.
Mark Twain in Nikola Tesla’s Laboratory, New York, 1895