Nikola Tesla, besides being an accomplished scientist and the wizard of inventions, he was also known for his financial problems later in life. In 1915, he sold his famous Wardenclyffe tower plant for $20,000 to settle the debt at the Waldorf-Astoria. And then in 1930, he found himself in a similar situation where he had racked up a $10,000 bill at the Governor Clinton Hotel in Manhattan.
Since Tesla couldn’t afford the payment, he offered the hotel management one of this inventions instead. This particular invention was simply priceless. Securely locked away in a wooden chest container was the device he referred to as the death beam. While Tesla hated wars, this invention could easily bring down a fleet of 10,000 enemy planes, hundreds of miles away.
The hotel accepted the device as a token of payment along with Tesla’s advice of requiring tremendous amount of precaution to open the wooden chest container else the death beam would end up detonating everything around it.
Needless to say the box was never opened; until after Tesla’s death. In 1943, shortly after Tesla passed away, MIT sent one the scientists on the National Defense Research Committee, accompanied by John O. Trump from the office of Naval Intelligence, to collect the potentially deadly weapon.
Upon retrieving and carefully opening the container, the only thing the wooden chest contained was a common item found in every electric laboratory. So to reiterate, the hotel’s $10,000 bill was paid by common electrical components in a fancy-looking box.