Which inventor had the most to do with the invention of electricity?Take a guess and we’ll see if you feel the same way after this power point! WELCOME TO THE WAR OF THE CURRENTS! It is up to you to cast your vote for either Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla.
Nikola TeslaNikola Tesla was born in 1856 in Croatia.His father was a stern but loving Orthodoxpriest, who was also a gifted writer and poet.At a young age, Tesla immersed himself in hisfathers library. When young “Niko” saw a steelTeslas mother was a hard working woman of engraving of Niagara Falls, hemany talents who created appliances to help imagined a huge water wheelwith home and farm responsibilities. One of turning in the water. He told histhese was a mechanical eggbeater. Tesla uncle he would go to America oneattributed all of his inventive instincts to his day and capture energy in this way.mother. Thirty years later he did exactly that.Tesla was such a genius at math that histeachers often thought he was cheating. Tesla wanted to be an engineer but his Dad desperately wanted him to be a priest. Tesla contracted cholera and almost died and his Dad agreed to let him go to school to study math and science.
One day a teacher showed Teslas class anew generator that could be used as botha motor and generator.After watching it for a time, Teslasuggested it might be possible to build aperpetual motion machine. When Tesla was twenty-four, theFor the next several years the challenge answer came to him. He said theobsessed Tesla, who instinctively knew the idea came like a flash ofthat the solution lay in electric currents lightning and in an instant the truththat alternated. was revealed and he drew a diagram of his plan in the sand. This was the invention of the induction motor, a technological advance that would soon change the world.
Tesla tried to get investors interested in his concept for an AC motor, but had no success. It was clear that in order to realize his idea, he would have to come to the United States and meet the greatest electrical engineer in the world—Thomas Alva Edison. At age 28, Nikola Tesla arrived in New York City with four cents in his pocket and a letter of introduction to Edison. When Tesla arrived he discovered “America was a century behind Europe in civilization.”
Thomas Alva Edison Thomas Alva Edison was born to Sam and Nancy on February 11, 1847, in Milan, Ohio. Edison was the youngest of seven children and was in poor health as a child. Edison was a poor student. When a teacher said he was quite slow and confused, his mother got mad and took him out of school and taught him at home. Edison said many years later, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, and I felt I had some one to live for, some one I must not disappoint.“ At an early age, he showed a fascination for mechanical things and for chemical experiments.
In 1859, Edison took a job selling newspapers and candy on the Grand Trunk Railroad to Detroit. He set up a lab to do experiments and set up a printing press where he printed and published first newspaper on a train. During one of his experiments, he caused an accidental fire which ended his experiments on the train. At about 12 years old, Edison lost almost all of his hearing. He did not let his disability discourage him, however, and often treated it as an asset, since it made it easier for him to concentrate on his experiments and research. His deafness was probably one of reasons he was shy in dealing with other people.
E Edison became involved in multiple projects and inventions.D In 1869, Edison moved to New York City where he worked on numerous inventions.I In 1878, he set outside his other inventions to focus on the electricS light system.O He formed the Edison Electric Light Co to carry out experiments and protect his work through patents.N Edison worked to devise a special light bulb as well as an entire electrical lighting system that could be used by entire towns. Edison made a longer-lasting light bulb and put on a light show on New Year’s Eve in Menlo Park. Edison formed several companies to develop his system and had success with his lighting system. In 1882, only four hundred lamps were lit; a year later, there were 513 customers using 10,300 lamps .
Many people wanted electricity even though it was not always safe. On the streets, single poles carried dozens of crooked crossbeams supporting sagging wires, and the exposed electrical wiring was a constant danger.. . .ENTER NIKOLA TESLA
Edison knew little of Tesla’s alternating current and many say he was concerned about the competition. Edison recognized Tesla’s talent and hired him to make improvements in his DC plants. Tesla claims that Edison offered him $50,000 if he succeeded but went back on his promise when Tesla succeeded. Both Tesla and Edison were geniuses. Neither of them required much sleep. Edison could go for days, taking occasional catnaps on a sofa in his office. Tesla claimed that his working hours at the Edison Machine Works were 10:30 a.m. till 5 a.m. the next day. Even into old age Tesla said he only slept two or three hours a night. Thats where the similarity ended. Tesla relied on moments of inspiration, perceiving the invention in his brain in precise detail before moving to the construction stage. Edison was a trial and error man. Edison was self-taught. Tesla had a formal European education. It was only a matter of time until their differences would lead to conflict.
Tesla resigned when Edison refused to pay him. Investors helped him finance his company the Tesla Electric Light Company. He developed a unique arc lamp that was beautiful and efficient. Tesla didn’t make any money on this because most of it went to the investors. But his luck was about to change. Mr. A.K. Brown of the Western Union Company, agreed to invest in Teslas idea for an AC motor. In a small laboratory just a short distance from Edisons office, Tesla quickly developed all the components for the system of AC power generation and transmission that is used universally throughout the world today. The battle to produce his motor was over. But the struggle to introduce it commercially was only just beginning.
George Westinghouse heard about Tesla’s invention and purchased the patents and agreed to pay Tesla money for all the electrical power. Tesla spent half of his money knowing he would invent more things. Edison launched an attack on Tesla’s alternating current.Westinghouse recalled:“I remember Tom [Edison] telling them that direct current was like a river flowing peacefully to thesea, while alternating current was like a torrent rushing violently over a precipice. Imagine that! Whythey even had a professor named Harold Brown who went around talking to audiences... andelectrocuting dogs and old horses right on stage, to show how dangerous alternating current was.”
Despite the bad press, good things were happening for Westinghouse and Tesla. The Westinghouse Corporation won the bid for illuminating The Chicago Worlds Fair, the first all- electric fair in history. Westinghouses winning bid proposed a more efficient, cost-effective AC system. The Columbian Exposition opened on May 1, 1893. That evening, President Grover Cleveland pushed a button and a hundred thousand incandescent lamps illuminated the fairgrounds neoclassical buildings. This "City of Light" was the work of Tesla, Westinghouse and twelve new thousand-horsepower AC generation units located in the Hall of Machinery. Twenty-seven million people attended the fair. From that point on, more than 80 percent of all the electrical devices ordered in the United States were for alternating current.
Is Tesla a Hero? Click here to see what onestudent thinks!Or is Thomas Edison a Hero? Click here foranother student’s perspective.