Elon Musk has donated $1 million to help build a museum honouring Nikola Tesla in New York
Elon Musk has donated $1 million to help build a museum honouring Nikola Tesla at the Wardenclyffe Tower in New YorkReuters and The Oatmeal

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has proved once again that he's one of the coolest geeks in the world by donating $1 million (£583,600) to a cartoonist who wants to open a museum honouring 20th century inventor Nikola Tesla.

Matthew Inman, who lives in Seattle, draws, writes and produces a hugely popular free online comic called The Oatmeal about online life, tech, web and geek stuff.

His comics are frequently shared on social media networks, and like other internet comics, he makes money through merchandise like books, greeting cards, posters, mugs and T-shirts featuring his designs.

He is also one of the world's biggest fans of Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, whose work on electricity and the modern alternating current (AC) in the early 20th century was largely overshadowed by Thomas Edison.

Convincing Musk to help

Inman was part of an Indiegogo project to save Nikola Tesla's old laboratory the Wardenclyffe Tower, in Long Island, New York in 2012. For that project, he managed to get Musk to donate $2,500 to help save it.

However, Inman's real dream is to build an actual museum, so he recently reviewed the Tesla Model S in a comic, calling it a "magical space car".

Since Musk used Tesla's name as part of the car's product name, Inman beseeched him in his comic to donate $8m, under the reasoning that Musk has the money to spend on buying a submarine car from a James Bond film just for fun.

Happily, Inman has announced that within a few hours of posting his review, Musk tweeted that he'd be happy to help. He called Inman personally and not only would he donate $1m, but he has also promised to build a Tesla Supercharger station in the parking lot of the museum.

"Elon Musk: from the deepest wells of my geeky little heart: thank you. This is amazing news. And it's Nikola Tesla's 158th birthday," wrote Inman in his most recent blog post yesterday.

Nikola Tesla: Greatest geek who ever lived

The Oatmeal's
The Oatmeal's "Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived" comicThe Oatmeal

Since 2012, Inman has been telling everyone who will listen on the internet how great Nikola Tesla is, even authoring an article-style comic entitled "Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek who ever lived" to explain why Tesla was the true pioneer of electricity, while Edison was the pioneer of "douchebaggery".

"Edison did not invent the light bulb, he improved upon the ideas of 22 other men who pioneered the light bulb before him. Edison simply figured out how to sell the light bulb," Inman writes in his comic.

"Tesla actually worked for Edison early in his career. Tesla fixed Edison's machines and when he asked for the money he was promised, Edison laughed him off.

"Geeks stay up all night disassembling the world so that they can put it back together with new features. Tesla was known for discovering amazing things and then forgetting to write them down. Edison was known for rushing to the patent office as soon as one of his employees had something."

Tesla's work was the springboard for Guglielmo Marconi's work on radio that won the Nobel Prize, using 17 of Tesla's patents.

Tesla also came up with the original idea for many modern technologies, including radar, X-rays, wireless communications, neon lighting and remote controls, but many of his accomplishments are not well known.

Unfortunately, he was broke through most of his adult life and died alone in a hotel room in New York.

"Dear Nikola Tesla, I'm sorry. I'm so very very sorry," writes Inman in his comic.

"You were a man displaced in time; an Archimedes, Steve Wozniak, Tony Stark of the 19th century. You were the greatest geek who ever lived in a time when the human race was crappier than usual."