The Current War - Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Alva Edison 〈AC/DC〉

The Current War – Nikola Tesla vs Thomas Alva Edison 〈AC/DC〉

Edison vs Tesla | When you think about electricity, you think about Edison. When you think about the radio, you think about Marconi. But there is a man, a genius of electricity, a man has almost forgotten today. A man who needs a vision of the world of unlimited energy. His name is Nikola Tesla. He was the master of lightning.

For more insights watch the video at the bottom of this article


The progress of mankind depends on inventions. The ultimate goal is to master matter with the help of the mind, to domesticate the forces of nature for the benefit of the people. This is the story of a modern Prometheus that changed the world with electricity. Nikola Tesla captured the power of the Niagara Falls with its AC power system and made it possible to transmit electricity around the world. Tesla also patented wireless communications technology, which is also used today in radio and television broadcasts.

Its phenomenal inheritance can be seen in everything. From the remote control … to neon and fluorescence light … X-rays and teleguided missiles … and even the Strategic Defense System. Still, somehow, history overlooked this remarkable man. Tesla was an overwhelming genius. A visionary of technology. He imagined wonderful things and turned them into reality. He was a stranger, an immigrant who had come to America only with his dreams, a proud and sometimes arrogant man, according to some.

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla worked side by side and had contacts with some of the most powerful people of his time. Thomas Edison, who rejected his ideas, Guglielmo Marconi, who has some of his inventions, George Westinghouse, who created Westinghouse with Tesla’s patents. The great financier J. Pierpont Morgan, who supported him and then abandoned him. At the height of his career, Tesla was one of the most famous people in the world. His inventions have helped America become a powerful industrial nation. His ideas have created billions of dollars. But Tesla was not a practical man, always fascinated by the following discoveries. He has not defended his commercial interests and so others have made fortunes from his inventions and Tesla ended without money and rejected.

“Money does not mean for me what it means to others. All my money I invested in inventions to make man’s life a little easier. ”
Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was a visionary genius who wanted to dedicate his life to his visions.

Born on a night when a strong lightning storm broke out as if preaching his birth, Nikola Tesla was born from Serbian parents on the eastern edge of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in today’s Croatia. His father, Milutin, was an Orthodox priest and wanted his son to follow his footsteps. Even as a child, Tesla was proving an extraordinary imagination.
He says:

“In my childhood, I suffered from a strange disease, due to the appearance of some pictures, accompanied by bright flashes. I did not realize if the ones seen were tangible or not. To give you an example, I was fascinated by Niagara’s description. I was imagining a huge wheel set in motion by the cascade. In 1877, at 21, I went to Gratz to enroll in college. Here I became obsessed with electricity science. I wanted to find out more about this wonderful force. Each spark produced a thousand echoes in my brain.
Nikola Tesla

In 1831, in England, Michael Faraday discovered the principle of electromagnetic induction that made it possible to generate electricity. Faraday had discovered that an electric circuit in a variable magnetic field could induce an electric current in the cable. It was the invention of the method of inducing or creating the alternating current. It was the invention that Tesla introduced into the electrical system that is leading our lives today. Meanwhile, in America, Thomas Alva Edison began experimenting with vacuum tubes, producing the first commercial incandescent bulb in 1878.

The concepts of Tesla and Edison intersected with continuous and alternating currents. In 1880, Tesla moved to Budapest, where he worked at the Telegraph Office. Here he became obsessed with the idea of an AC motor. Tesla arrived in New York on June 6, 1884. A 28-year-old immigrant determined to fulfil his dream of this new and foreign realm. New York had electricity since the late 1870s. In 1882, Edison had installed his first power plant on Pearl Street. He did this with the help of J.Pierpont Morgan, the great Wall Street banker. But his system was far from perfect. Electricity was something new. Most people did not understand and feared it. The fires often erupted. The horses were electric shocked in the horseshoes and fled. There were very exciting times for Edison.

Edison’s business was based on DC and any discussion of the alternating current was upsetting.

Nikola Tesla Vs. Thomas Edison

The problem of continuous current is the constant voltage. How much you generate, you get. The continuous current was enough to light the car’s batteries, but it could not be transmitted efficiently over long distances. Despite the differences between them, Edison hired Tesla to improve the performance of its generators. Tesla said he was promised $ 50,000 if he could. The offer seemed too good to be true.

“We usually work from 10:30 in the morning to 5 in the morning. After I done my job, I went to Edison for the pay, and he shouted me in front. ”
Nikola Tesla

Edison was very amused about it and said Tesla did not understand American humour. Tesla did not stand it anymore. He took his hat and left. At the end of the 1880s, Edison had begun a discrediting campaign, attacking the alternating current system developed by Westinghouse and Tesla. It would be known as the “War of the Currents.” Edison’s employees demonstrated how dangerous this current is, by electrocuting animals in public demonstrations. An Edison associate suggested using the alternative stream as a means of executing criminals. The War of the Streets reached a climax in 1893.

The Chicago exhibition was going to be the first electricity-light fair. In 1892, Edison Company and Thompson Houston Company joined and formed General Electric. One of the first objectives of the new company was to participate in the tender for lighting the fair. Edison asked for a million dollars.

Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse

Westinghouse auctioned about 500,000 dollars and, of course, Westinghouse got the contract. General Motors refused to give Westinghouse any Edison light bulb. Now Tesla had the opportunity to make history in Chicago. Its huge generators would ensure the lighting of the fair and prove to the world that its system can be used on a large scale. On May 1, 1893, 100,000 curious spectators stormed the fair, amazed by the brilliance of the neo-classical architecture. The night was left … President Grover Cleveland pressed a button … and the fair exploded in glowing, bright colours in a fascinating light show ever seen … “Columbus Egg” brought his fame to the city of the future.

One of the main reasons why Edison enjoys more recognition is probably his ability to capitalize on his ideas and inventions, turning them into money and image as a measure of success. While Thomas Edison died rich and famous, Nikola Tesla died poorly and forgot. Paradoxically, perhaps even remembering Tesla is related to the “retail” that he has been working for Edison as an employee, and the feud between them has gone from here.
For more insights about the topic, watch the following video or you can check the books below the video :


  1. Inventions, Researches, and Writings of Nikola Tesla
  2. Nikola Tesla: A Life From Beginning to End
  3. Nikola Tesla: Colorado Springs Notes, 1899-1900
  4. Tesla: Man Out of Time
  5. In the Matter of Nikola Tesla: A Romance of the Mind
  6. Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla: Biography of a Genius
  7. Tesla Vs Edison: The Life-Long Feud that Electrified the World
  8. Empires of Light:; Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, & the Race to Electrify the World
  9. The Truth About Tesla: The Myth of the Lone Genius in the History of Innovation


A Glossary of Electrical Terms here:

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