A social media post accompanying an image of a young man (who resembles Nikola Tesla) and a woman at the beach is being widely shared across with a claim that the image actually shows the real Nikola Tesla. The Hindi description accompanying the image in the post translates to ‘Nikola Tesla with a woman who spent most of his life alone. This is the only picture of Nikola Tesla with a woman’. Through this article, let’s fact-check the claim made in the post.
Claim: Image of Nikola Tesla at a beach with a woman.
Fact: The man in the image is not Nikola Tesla. The image actually shows a swimming instructor with a bather at Midland beach, Staten Island. The image was taken in 1898 and the image is credited to the Museum of the City Of New York. Multiple stock image repositories also identified the man as a swimming instructor and not Nikola Tesla. Also it is clearly visible that the man in the image is wearing a sleeveless top with ‘Swimming Instructor’ written on it. Hence, the claim made in the post is FALSE.
Although the man in the viral image bears resemblance to Nikola Tesla, he is not the revered scientist. Reverse image search of the photo led us to the website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, wherein the same viral image got featured. The description accompanying the image reads “Swimming Instructor and Bather, Midland Beach, Staten Island, 1898”, and the image is credited to the Museum of the City Of New York.
Taking a cue from the above-mentioned source, search on museum of the city of New York website yielded the same image. As per the details provided, the image was captured in 1898, at Midland Beach, Staten Island. However, the description does not identify the persons seen in the image. But it is noteworthy to mention that the man in the image is wearing a sleeveless top with ‘Swimming Instructor’ written on it. This is also visible in the viral image.
Further search yielded the same image on a few stock image repositories (here & here). These websites identify the man as a swimming instructor and the woman as a bather. The description accompanying the image on Getty Images reads “1898: Portrait of a bathing suit-clad woman and a swimming instructor lying close to the surf on Midland Beach, Staten Island, New York. (Photo by Museum of the City of New York/Byron Collection/Getty Images)”.
The same image is featured in a listicle titled ‘the evolution of swimsuit’ by NBC News. The description of the image on this listicle is also similar to the description on Getty Images. From all these, it is evident that the man in the image is not Nikola Tesla but a swimming instructor.
To sum it up, the image of a man who resembles Nikola Tesla is passed off as a rare photo of Nikola Tesla with a woman.