The Tesla vs Edison feud is one of the most publicized scientific debates that have ever reached the public. Incontestably, both Tesla and Edison were engineering geniuses, giving the world inventions without which we cannot even come to imagine our lives. The name of Edison is linked to the invention of the light bulb, of the camera, the phonograph and the distribution of energy, while Tesla invented the neon lamp, the remote control and wireless telegraphy. What started the rivalry and feud between them was Tesla’s invention of the AC current.
The History – the Interests behind the Edison – Tesla Feud and the Outcome
As is the case with many other inventions, it all comes down to money this time as well. Edison invented and patented the direct current at the end of the 19th century. The system worked very well with many different devices like batteries, motors and light bulbs, and gradually became the standard system used all over the US and in many other countries as well. The patent secured for Edison considerable earnings in the form of royalties and Edison also invented a special meter to measure power consumption, making it possible to bill consumers for the electricity they used. At that time, AC current was a system that had already been developed on paper, but it still had a lot of flaws, its usage being difficult and not widespread at all. The first electrical appliances using AC current were developed in Europe and proved to be much more efficient than Edison’s DC system. Ottó Bláthy also invented a meter for it, thus eliminating all the shortcomings of alternating current.
George Westinghouse, an American entrepreneur interested in scientific innovations embraced the idea of introducing AC systems in the US as well, Nikola Tesla, Edison’s employee, being one of the advocates of the cause. One of the objections Edison had against systems running on alternating current was that he considered direct current safer, as its voltage stayed lower between the station and the consumer. However, direct current did not allow for being transported over long distances and conversion to lower or higher voltages, so Edison proceeded by installing current generators in large numbers all over large cities, the infrastructure implying the use of large quantities of wiring, which made the system more uncomfortable to handle and maintain. However, alternating current was much more efficient and more practical when it came to transmitting large amounts of energy, so it was much more suitable for supplying electrical power for cities.
The Tesla versus Edison conflict culminated in a large-scale advertising campaign sponsored by Edison to discourage the implementation of the AC system. As he built his argument upon the safety issues raised by the use of alternating current, the campaign involved the execution of several animals, mostly stray dogs and cats, by electrocution with alternating current to prove how dangerous it really was. The feud ended with Tesla quitting his job at Edison’s company and founding his own company where he developed and patented several inventions used even in our days like the AC generator, the AC motor and many others. In the end, AC systems proved to win the “battle”, but households use mostly direct current, transformed from the alternating current more suitable for being transported.
Other Outcomes of the Conflict –Tesla’s Generator
Winning the feud motivated Tesla to go on with his experiments and one of the fields he was especially interested in was the transmission of the current. As a result of his extensive research into the topic and after numerous tests, Tesla came up with the idea of generating and transmitting electric power with the help of wireless devices, in other words, he invented the Tesla generator. The device does not use fossil fuels to create the energy that is later transformed into electricity, but it uses the radiant energy of the Sun rays reaching the Earth and creating our planet’s electrostatic field. This energy is permanently present around Earth in unlimited quantities, so the technology eliminates the problem of shrinking natural resources and is able to produce energy without any side effects, like pollution.
Though Tesla’s enterprise to build a giant tower that was supposed to collect this radiant energy and transform it into electricity failed due to financial problems, his plans are nowadays available for the larger public. There are more and more companies selling Tesla generator plans over the internet for about $100, while wiring and circuit diagrams for smaller generators that can produce enough current to charge a mobile phone are available free of charge. The parts necessary for building a Tesla generator are really cheap as well, most of them being available from old, unused hard drives or walkmans. The generators are not only cheap, but also very easy to build, even for inexperienced people.
The Tesla generator gives us the best of Tesla’s knowledge. His plans and blueprints contain easy to follow and very detailed descriptions of the building process and they provide clear explanation of the theoretical background as well. With his generator, he wanted to offer free, unlimited electricity to humanity, and now we can benefit from his inventions by creating our own devices at home and powering our household appliances with the free green energy produced this way.
Besides the invention of the remote control, the transistor, radio transmission, X-rays, the radar and many things we use day by day, Nikola Tesla also gave us alternating current and free electric power. His incredible electricity generating device really works, implies costs close to zero and allows the user to produce clean, unpolluting energy without restriction and free of charge. The system invented as an outcome of the Tesla vs Edison feud is definitely the thing of the future: it would allow many people who live in areas not connected to the electricity grid to benefit of electric current without any large investments into building infrastructure; it would allow companies to work more efficiently by not having to worry about electricity bills, and it would allow consumers to reduce energy bills by producing their own electricity.