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The Tesla Memorial Society
21 Maddaket, Southwyck Village
Scotch Plains, New Jersey 07076
William H. Terbo
Executive Secretary
  Maria Godfors
Nikola Tesla: 1856 - 1943

Michael Idvorsky Pupin
150th Anniversary of His Birth

Read about the connection between Pupin and William Terbo through Nikola Trbojevich (Terbo)


The Tesla Memorial Society, Inc., its Executive Board and members join with all people who value the scientific and technological advances that have created the modern society in which we live in honoring the birth of Michael Pupin.

Michael Pupin, inventor, humanitarian and philosopher, is best known in the scientific community as the inventor of the Telephone Induction Coil (1899) a device that in one single step made long distance telephony possible. Sold in 1901 to the Bell System for an unprecedented sum that gave him the opportunity expand his vision beyond the field of his choosing. Also among Dr. Pupin’s 34 U.S. patents were important radio developments and seminal work in Short Exposure X-Ray technology (1900) that led to the safe use of the new x-ray technology in medical diagnostics.

Michael Pupin was born on October 4, 1854 in the small village of Idvor in what is now a part of Serbia. He came to America at the age of 16 with only five cents in his pocket but with boundless energy. Within five years he had prepared himself for entry into Columbia College (University), graduated with honors, continued at Cambridge in England and received his Doctorate in Physics in Germany. He returned to a teaching position at Columbia where he soon founded the School of Electrical Engineering. Dr. Pupin remained associated with Columbia for the rest of his life. Shortly after his death on March 12, 1935 Columbia renamed the Physics building Pupin Physics Laboratories.

Dr. Pupin’s Peace Conference advice to President Wilson was instrumental in resolving the borders that would define the new country that was to become Yugoslavia. Dr. Pupin served as the President of several important professional institutions including the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Radio Institute of America. Among his many honors was the Edison Medal (1920). Michael Pupin wrote three well-received books including the best selling autobiography of his fascinating life From Immigrant To Inventor, awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1924.

On a personal note I wish to privately honor Michael Pupin on this significant year. Dr. Pupin was a personal friend and mentor of my father Nikola J. Trbojevich (Terbo) from the very time of father’s arrival in America. It has been my privilege to honor Dr. Pupin several times in the past. I’ve attached a brief summary of that special connection.

William H. Terbo
Executive Secretary


TMSw2 2005

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