The Current Wars

‘There is $50,000 for you, if you can do it’. Edison told Tesla. He hired him in 1884 to redesign his DC generator and make it efficient. Tesla cracked it but Edison just paid him $10 extra on his $18 weekly pay.

Tesla was enraged. He quit working for Edison and found an ally in Westinghouse who was Edison’s rival. The Edison Electric company was pushing for Direct Current as the standard.

Meanwhile Tesla refined the Alternate Current transformer design and was ready to prove it best for large scale transmission with minimum loss.

It set up a riveting conflict in science history: Current Wars. AC Vs DC. Edison Vs Tesla.

While Tesla was confident on the superiority of AC, Edison publicly electrocuted stray dogs, cats & horses to prove it was harmful. He also allied with a rival company to design the electric chair for execution with AC current.

The Chicago World Trade fair in 1893 was the final battle ground. Tesla used AC to light up the fair. And AC won.

AC still rules for over 100 years but DC has made a quiet comeback. Computers, LED’s & electric cars run on electronic circuits powered by DC making it the current of the future.

Tesla won a battle. Edison won some others.

A story on how conflict powers progress & invention.

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