Borden sent Angier to Tesla as a misleading fake clue, but why did Tesla knew about the machine Angier was talking about if it was just Borden's crazy idea to mislead Angier?

Or even if he didn't know and just made such machine for Angier... Is it supposed that Borden just had the crazy idea of a teleportation machine and Tesla was just casually working on the very same thing?

  • It's not something that many people talk about, but the "real" cloning stuff is only read from Angier's diary. It's all a trick.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


Borden didn't account for Tesla actually building a working clone machine.

Tesla is a very eccentric man. It's in his behavior, but anyone who heard what he was working on or experimenting with would similarly conclude that, and assume that he's chasing a pipe dream, no more than an alchemist trying to turn lead into gold.

It makes no sense for Borden to send Angier to Tesla in the knowledge that Tesla had a working machine. What makes much more sense, is that Borden tried sending Angier on a wild goose chase by convincing him this "obviously hopeless" inventor was trying to build the impossible.

Angier, driven by his need to learn Borden's trick, would likely spend a lot of time before he'd realize that Tesla was a fake lead. He has every reason to believe that Borden's code was supposedly real, and Tesla actually talks about trying to invent the exact technology that would explain Borden rather inexplicable trick.

Keep in mind this movie takes place in the 1800s, and how long Angier would have been away from London, giving Borden a lot of time to become unrivaled by Angier. This mostly works, when you consider that Angier had to reintroduce himself to the stage upon his return. Had he not had this amazing new trick (which seemed likely to Borden, since Borden didn't account for Tesla actually building a working clone machine), Angier would've been lagging behind Borden for quite some time.

  • 1
    I read a biography on Tesla. Some of the technology he planned for and worked towards was so far ahead of its time and some of it was downright scary......I wouldn’t be surprised if real-life Tesla had considered at least the theory of such a machine. Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 4:50
  • My doubt, which I think it's also answered, was if Tesla casually developing this (also working) machine is just set for plot convenience. And so, it is. I can't either figure why Angier would keep making and killing clones each time instead of making just one and perform the trick the same way Borden was doing it. Probably just Nolan's taste for impact over logic.
    – Rajo
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 13:17
  • @Rajo, while the book ends a bit differently, it should be noted that The Prestige is based on the book by Christopher Priest. It gets into how the clones are really non corporeal astral projections and one uses Angier's body and is able to live A LOT longer. But I think Nolan wanted to take the Ghost Story elements out of it, and he makes it more about the 'here and now' of the character's existence, which is about non logical people. Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 14:42
  • @Rajo: Never underestimate Angier's singleminded dedication and how it blinds him to common sense. If he performed the trick with a single clone, the trick would only be as good as Borden's. But by using a technology that no one knows exists, he is able to make the trick even more incredible (e.g. there's no hidden compartment in the target destination if there's no one hiding there.
    – Flater
    Commented Jan 3, 2021 at 15:12

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