Jun 04 2019
Everyone knows about the prolific inventor Thomas Edison, but until recently, not many people recognized nikola tesla's revolutionary contributions. The two men are bitter enemies whose fierce competition will bring electricity and innovation to the world.
Tesla and Edison
Everyone knows the light bulb's father, Thomas Edison. In school, we know him and all his achievements, and he is often remembered as the greatest inventor in American history. There was a whole unit in the school where americans knew Edison, but rarely mentioned - and quickly forgotten - was nikola tesla.
In recent years, we've been hearing tesla's name, although most people associate it with the car company run by elon musk. Before it became the name of a successful electric car company, it was the name of a clever man who powered the masses. We were told that it was actually Edison, and of course he played a role in the story, but we missed a few key points where tesla played a role. In fact, both were accomplished inventors and visionaries, but they were also contemporaries and fierce personal and scientific competitors.
Before we discuss their differences in detail, it is important to look at each person separately. Each of them had an interesting life that shaped the turn of the century.
Thomas Edison, the youngest of seven children, was born in milan, Ohio, in 1847. After just 12 weeks in public school, his teacher thought he was too difficult, so he accepted his mother at home. By the age of 11, he showed great interest in learning all kinds of things and eventually began to teach himself. He showed business acumen at the age of 12 when he started selling his newspapers to passengers on the train. However, this will be his time as a telegraph operator, which will give him the time and means to learn and become familiar with electrical science.
He sold his first invention -- an improved ticker symbol -- when he only sold the rights for $22,000. With the money, he quit his job as a telegraph operator to devote himself to invention. He quickly became a full-fledged inventor, creating and improving devices for some of the biggest companies of his time. He was not only an inventor, he was also a good businessman; He founded the Edison lighting Company (Edison Illuminating Company) - this is a general electric Company, we all know.
Some of his inventions will create entirely new industries, such as a way to record sound on a phonograph and how to project animation. These two inventions alone will change the entertainment industry forever.
Contrary to popular belief, the light bulb was not actually invented by Edison. The light bulb was invented before he was born; What he did was buy patents and improve designs to bring light bulbs to the masses. The incandescent bulb would be revolutionary, but only if Edison could solve a huge problem -- making electricity in the American home. No matter how revolutionary his design improvements were, if you can't plug in a light bulb, no one can use it.
Finding a way to bring electricity to homes everywhere is where "the current war" and nikola tesla will come in...
Born in the Austrian empire (now Croatia) in 1856, nikola tesla inherited his love of electricity and the invention of his mother, who grew up making small appliances in her spare time. Although his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become an orthodox priest, Nicholas went to school and studied engineering and physics. He came up with the idea of induction motors and ways to use alternating current, but when no one in Europe was interested in his idea, he decided to move to the United States, where there was an electricity boom.
Upon arriving in the United States, tesla found Edison and began working for him. They worked together for a short time, tesla helping Edison improve his invention, but eventually they stopped working together. As he left, he mentioned several reasons, but one thing was for sure - they disagreed about the current (more on that later).
After a period of manual labor, he finally had a chance to pitch his idea to investors. They supported him, and he was able to find tesla electric. Some big names backed tesla during his time, such as jpmorgan chase and George Westinghouse.
Despite his successful inventions, such as an induction motor that can control alternating current, tesla coils, and wireless technology, tesla's fame and fortune were short-lived. Although he was a genius, he was not a great businessman; Unlike Edison, who invented it for innovation and fame and money, tesla is more about improving people's lives. So he didn't protect himself, he had no money, he was almost forgotten, and some people thought it was Edison's fault that he had a bad reputation.
Edison vs. tesla: the current war
The DC and AC
Edison and tesla are smart minds, and when smart minds disagree about what they think is the best way to do things, there's bound to be an epic fight. In addition to conflicting egos, their philosophies differ widely on what is the most effective way to bring electricity to the public home.
Edison was considered the leader of the technological revolution and was installed on a direct current (DC) system. He believes that this is the only way out, and that the alternating current - tesla's pitching system - would be too dangerous and uncontrollable.
Tesla believes that DC will never be efficient or powerful, and his invention of the induction motor will help regulate and maintain higher voltages.
Instead of working with tesla to see if his idea would work, Edison rejected it and drove him away. When tesla found investors who believed in his technology and he began to be noticed and famous, Edison began to slander and smear tesla with a smear campaign. During this time, he used his high-pressure system to show dogs and other animals in public that AC was too dangerous and deadly; When a prison came to Edison looking for a new way to kill prisoners, he suggested that they use high-voltage alternating current, which led to the first-ever electric chair - which was very unsuccessful.
Edison's entire campaign unnerved tesla and his investors, but he chose tesla's communications system. He was even able to use Niagara Falls to build the first hydroelectric power plant. So far, most of the grid is still running on tesla's ac system, although in the recent tech boom, new systems are undoubtedly being built by scientists and engineers.
The legacy of Edison and tesla
Tesla coils and antique light bulbs
Without tesla and Edison, who knows what the world would be like today. Both were integral parts of the turn-of-the-century electricity and technology boom, and their contributions changed our world forever. In addition to their electric leaps and developments, they have contributed other world-changing inventions, such as Edison and his contributions to the entertainment industry, the invention of project films and recordings, and tesla's work in wireless communications and radio signals.
While Edison received full recognition and praise while he was alive and after he died, tesla is now getting the credit and praise he deserves. In addition to the eponymous tesla motors company, there is a light bulb called "ultimate" in honor of tesla and his invention. Today, Edison's incandescent bulbs are quite inefficient compared to recent creations, but if you still like the style, you can definitely get Edison's LED bulbs to have the best of both worlds -- classic looks and eco-friendly features.
As more core tesla supporters advocate for him to be recognized for his contributions, we are sure to see a younger generation grow up who they are and what he has done. His work changed the way people lived their daily lives. Like Edison, without them we would still be in the dark.
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