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Tesla's Dinner Party

Delmonico’s, situated in Madison Square, was one of the most stylish restaurants in Manhattan, frequented by the city’s social elite. Nikola Tesla, the brilliant inventor whose ideas about electricity revolutionized the world, was in the habit of stopping by the popular establishment for a meal after working in his lab all day. There in Delmonico’s grand dining rooms, Tesla would have run into the artists, intellectuals and businessmen whose ideas shaped the cultural life of the country at the end of the 19th century.

We picked four of them to try and understand how the inventor fit into the context of his time: Robert Underwood Johnson, an influential editor; John Muir, the famed naturalist; Mark Twain, the beloved writer; and Stanford White, an architect who was swiftly sculpting the New York City skyline.

Imagine them sitting at a table together, enjoying Delmonico’s signature Chicken à la King. What would they have talked about? What ideas might have been shared? What conclusions drawn?

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