Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison: The war of currents and the search for truth - Education Today News
Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were two of the most prolific inventors of the . He did not make the relationship between the importance of business and the. The Oatmeal published a webcomic praising Nikola Tesla earlier this week. Tesla is deserving of praise, but alas, there's a lot wrong with the. “Who was the better inventor, Edison or Tesla, and why?” In our new video, we explore the famous rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.
Legislation to give all the utilities 90 days to move their lines into underground conduits supplied by the city was slowly making its way through the government but that was also being fought in court by the United States Illuminating Company, who claimed their AC lines were perfectly safe.
The price of copper was rising, adding to the expense of Edison's low voltage DC system, which required much heavier copper wires than higher voltage AC systems. Thomas Edison's own colleagues and engineers were trying to get him to consider AC. Edison's sales force was continually losing bids in municipalities that opted for cheaper AC systems  and Edison Electric Illuminating Company president Edward Hibberd Johnson pointed out that if the company stuck with an all DC system it would not be able to do business in small towns and even mid-sized cities.
After Westinghouse installed his first large scale system Edison wrote in a November private letter to Edward Johnson, "Just as certain as death Westinghouse will kill a customer within six months after he puts in a system of any size, He has got a new thing and it will require a great deal of experimenting to get it working practically.
He noted what he saw as inefficiencies and that, combined with the capital costs in trying to finance very large generating plants, led him to believe there would be very little cost savings in an AC venture. The pamphlet also emphasized the safety and efficiency of direct current, with the claim DC had not caused a single death, and included newspaper stories of accidental electrocutions caused by alternating current.
Execution by electricity[ edit ] Further information: Electric chair A June 30, Scientific American illustration of what the new electric chair might look like. As arc lighting systems spread so did stories of how the high voltages involved were killing people, usually unwary linemen, a strange new phenomenon that seemed to instantaneously strike a victim dead.
Southwick to seek some application for the curious phenomenon. Fell and the Buffalo ASPCA, electrocuting hundreds of stray dogs, to come up with a method to euthanize animals via electricity. An commission appointed by New York governor David B. Hillwhich including Southwick, recommended in that executions be carried out by electricity using the electric chair. As part of their fact-findingthe commission sent out surveys to hundreds of experts on law and medicine, seeking their opinions, as well as contacting electrical experts, including Elihu Thomson and Thomas Edison.
After further prompting, Edison hit out at his chief electric power competitor, George Westinghouse, in what may have been the opening salvo in the war of currents, stating in a December letter to Southwick that it would be best to use current generated by "'alternating machines,' manufactured principally in this country by Geo.
The press in New York seemed to switch overnight from stories about electric lights vs gas lighting to "death by wire" incidents, with each new report seeming to fan public resentment against high voltage AC and the dangerously tangled overhead electrical wires in the city.
At this point an electrical engineer named Harold P. Brownwho at that time seemed to have no connection to the Edison company,  sent a June 5, letter to the editor of the New York Post claiming the root of the problem was the alternating current AC system being used. Brown argued that the AC system was inherently dangerous and "damnable" and asked why the "public must submit to constant danger from sudden death" just so utilities could use a cheaper AC system.
At the beginning of attacks on AC, Westinghouse, in a June 7, letter, tried to defuse the situation. He invited Edison to visit him in Pittsburgh and said "I believe there has been a systemic attempt on the part of some people to do a great deal of mischief and create as great a difference as possible between the Edison Company and The Westinghouse Electric Co.
Edison thanked him but said "My laboratory work consumes the whole of my time". There were many rebuttals to Browns claims in the newspapers and letters to the board, with people pointing out he was showing no scientific evidence that AC was more dangerous than DC. Westinghouse pointed out in letters to various newspapers the number of fires caused by DC equipment and suggested that Brown was obviously being controlled by Edison, something Brown continually denied.
War of the currents - Wikipedia
At this meeting, supporters of AC provided anecdotal stories from electricians on how they had survived shocks from AC at voltages up to volts and argued that DC was the more dangerous of the two. Brown paid local children to collect stray dogs off the street for his experiments with direct and alternating current. Brown then applied volts of alternating current which killed the dog.
Four days later he held a second demonstration to answer critics' claims that the DC probably weakened the dog before it died. In this second demonstration, three dogs were killed in quick succession with volts of AC.
Brown's campaign to restrict AC to volts went nowhere but legislation did come close to passing in Ohio and Virginia. Hastings who came up with the idea of using Brown and several New York physicians to attack Westinghouse and the other AC companies in retaliation for what Hastings thought were unscrupulous bids by Westinghouse for lighting contracts in Denver and Minneapolis. In addition, Thomas Edison himself sent a letter to the city government of Scranton, Pennsylvania recommending Brown as an expert on the dangers of AC.
Patents and mergers[ edit ] Nikola Tesla 's induction motor patent was acquired by Westinghouse in July with plans to incorporate it in a completely integrated AC system. Despite his many inventions and patents, he died an eccentric, destitute man in Later life Tesla's AC systems eventually caught the attention of American engineer and businessman George Westinghouse, who was looking for a solution to supply the nation with long-distance power.
Convinced that Tesla's inventions will help him achieve this, he purchased his patents for 60, USD in cash and stock in the Westinghouse Corporation in As the public interest in alternating current system grew, Tesla and Westinghouse stood in direct competition with Thomas Edison, who was intent on selling his direct-current system to the nation.
War of the currents
Edison also launched a negative press-campaign in an attempt to undermine the interest in AC power. All this while, Tesla continued his work and patented several more inventions during this period, including the 'Tesla Coil', which laid the foundation for wireless technology that is still in use in radio technology today. Unfortunately for Edison, the Westinghouse Corporation was chosen to supply the lighting at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and Tesla conducted demonstrations of his AC system there.
The next year, it was used to power the city of Buffalo, New York. This feat was widely publicized throughout the world. With its repeated success and favourable press, the alternating-current system became the leading power system of the 20th century and it has remained the worldwide standard since. The disgraceful fall Tesla became obsessed with the wireless transmission of energy.
In aroundhe started work on his boldest project, to build a global, wireless communication system to be transmitted through a large electrical tower for sharing information and providing free electricity throughout the world. With funding from a group of investors that included financial giant J.
Morgan, in Tesla began work on the project in earnest, designing and building a lab with a power plant and a massive transmission tower on a site on Long Island, New York, that became known as Wardenclyffe.
However, investors started doubting the plausibility of Tesla's system his rival, Guglielmo Marconi-with the financial support of Andrew Carnegie and Thomas Edison-continued to make great advances with his own radio technologies, Tesla had no choice but to abandon the project.
Wardenclyffe The Wardenclyffe staff was laid off in and in the site fell into foreclosure. Two years later Tesla declared bankruptcy and the tower was dismantled and sold for scrap to recover the debts he had accrued. Ever prideful, Tesla quit, and spent the next few months picking up odd jobs across New York City. Tesla eventually raised enough money to found the Tesla Electric Light Company, where he developed several successful patents including AC generators, wires, transformers, lights, and a horsepower AC motor.
In fact, Westinghouse was a more economic participant in the War of Currents than was Tesla. Their partnership, one can imagine, made the eventual popularizing of AC that much more bitter for Edison. In the end, AC won out. That conversion wastes a lot of energy think of all the heat coming from the brick of your laptop cord.
Major studies are beginning to examine ways in which AC and DC power can work together with modern energy-harnessing technology, to run our overall grid more efficiently.