By investigating the conflicted relationship between Nikola Tesla (1856–1943) and the electrical engineering community, this essay explores competing representations of “invention” in the fin-de-siècle period. Drawing on the observation that the dominant paradigm of invention was entangled in various inscription practices, I turn to the case of Tesla to examine how inventions that circulated only as discourses were represented and legitimated in the scientific community, popular press, and literature. The essay argues that the rise of transmission media, such as wireless telegraphy, that challenged established conceptions about physical reality informed, in turn, Tesla’s singular model of invention.