The Electricity War

The Electricity War

Ratings: 8.62/10 from 53 users.

The Electricity WarIn the War of Currents era in the late 1880s, George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison became adversaries due to Edison's promotion of direct current (DC) for electric power distribution over alternating current (AC) advocated by Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla.

During the initial years of electricity distribution, Edison's direct current was the standard for the United States and Edison did not want to lose all his patent royalties.

Direct current worked well with incandescent lamps that were the principal load of the day, and with motors. Direct current systems could be directly used with storage batteries, providing valuable load-leveling and backup power during interruptions of generator operation.

Direct current generators could be easily paralleled, allowing economical operation by using smaller machines during periods of light load and improving reliability.

At the introduction of Edison's system, no practical AC motor was available. Edison had invented a meter to allow customers to be billed for energy proportional to consumption, but this meter only worked with direct current. As of 1882 these were all significant technical advantages of direct current.

From his work with rotary magnetic fields, Tesla devised a system for generation, transmission, and use of AC power. He partnered with George Westinghouse to commercialize this system. Westinghouse had previously bought the rights to Tesla's polyphase system patents and other patents for AC transformers from Lucien Gaulard and John Dixon Gibbs.

Several undercurrents lay beneath this rivalry. Edison was a brute-force experimenter, but was no mathematician. AC cannot be properly understood or exploited without a substantial understanding of mathematics and mathematical physics, which Tesla possessed.

Tesla had worked for Edison but was undervalued (for example, when Edison first learned of Tesla's idea of alternating-current power transmission, he dismissed it: Tesla's ideas are splendid, but they are utterly impractical.

Bad feelings were exacerbated because Tesla had been cheated by Edison of promised compensation for his work. Edison later came to regret that he had not listened to Tesla and used alternating current.

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27 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Ali Cbac

    This is what happens to those who are taken advantage of and victimized by the rich.

  2. Colin Bentham

    Edison did not invent the incandescent light bulb. It was invented and patented by Joseph Swann well before.

  3. gwhosubex

    droning narration voice. not particularly informative or insightful, or "wow-ing"

  4. Ilse Desiree Bauer

    Why is it that my comments have to be approved~ Am I being Censored~ I dare not tell the truth for the truth will be known, and those who fear my words know their truth~ Do you dare to attempt to silence me, as many, who speak truth, and have spoken it; and should be honored for it, but are only betrayed by thou perverted minds, and intents~

  5. rale

    @ Dan,
    I don't think he ever said "1000 volts of current" in the documentary.

  6. jcjm5

    what can we learn from this, that at the end of the day it doesnt matter who's competing with who, the banks always win with their credit.

  7. lex

    at ryan
    they just mention tesla in the context of free energy, and i am also skeptical about their suggestions because it looks like not significal coincidence, or they don't know yet what is that energy for

  8. Reasons Voice

    @vitor; He does have a monument in Buffalo NY but few locals know what or who it is.

  9. ryan

    hay lex check it out, parts 7 10? they talk about telluric currents crossing and the geo magnetic fields along side different materials being used including quartz crystal on the pyramids along with Tesla's work? interesting suggestions but i'm still skeptical.

  10. boris

    Tesla is one of the few if not the only 'technical' scientist that greatly inspired not only scientists but painters,sculptors, writers, musicians and other artists.
    If only people understood him better back then, the world would be a better place today. Tragically, even today we are not yet prepared to follow his ideas in the mainstream science and politics... But the day will come, or we will perish!

    1. fiona

      true that

  11. lex

    at ryan
    what is your point? how do tesla and the pyramid code relate?

  12. wireless

    It is a curious thing I find, that wireless power would be free. Then why on earth am I paying for wireless telephone calls. Apparently somebody is just preventing wireless power for everybody until they find a proper way to get greenbacks from it. If they showed people that power could be free, then people would realize that a privately held wireless telephone system based upon cost of phone only would be feasible. IMHO

    1. Gerald

      Mathematical infinity may well be beyond the scope of how we are being molded

  13. ryan

    Arnold Vinette Have you seen the The Pyramid Code!! And if you have or when you do please tell me your thoughts thx

  14. Vitor Mendes

    I think tesla should be recognised as a genius and should have a statue in new york.

  15. Achems Razor

    Tesla, was the true genius! For all his work and contributions, Tesla in the end died a pauper. Had to rely on others for his simple needs. Food, clothing and shelter!

  16. Dan

    good documentary, all except for one thing, "1000 volts of current" ??? current is measured in AMPERES voltage is measured in volts. How can you get such a basic fundamental part of electricity wrong? It is like saying, "the orange peels from 1000 apples". sheesh!!

  17. Elwood

    if you like Tesla see [ Tesla the Movie] and [Nicola Tesla Master of lightning pbs],also [race to zero piont] the Griffeth observatory has a neon light at the front of the building that is lit by a tesla coil [threw the air] 100 feet away.His Wardencliff tower pattent is explained on u-tube but besides jp morgan pulling his funding of the project and black balling Tesla from the media and banks and History.Tesla may have stoped it because he loved people and knew low freqency waves like the H.a.a.r.p. system would be created.I wounder if this is one of the evil reasons of the chem-trails there seem to be many.

  18. Mad

    @ everybody
    Hate J.P. Morgan? Buy an ounce of silver, see J.P. Morgan has been selling silver tickets but their short.

  19. lex

    tesla was by far superior scientist of our time, he told that he understood einstein theories before him (einstein) but he told that it is wrong to create energy out of destruction (splitin of atom for example -atom is destroyed) the energy could be created out of creation, the source, pure and free energy, for example the planet (with it magnetic poles) acts like a giant battery, and once the energy is created it can be sent through (negatively charged) ionosphere everywhere in the world...j.p morgan told him 'and what would i sell -only antenae?' no can do- and it is not by accident that tesla lab in ny was destroyed in fire along with all of his notes meticulously collected for many years... it is only after hundred years that people started to realise the true size of his genious... lot of people selfishly took credits for his discoveries (marcconi for radio, roentgen for x-rays etc.), 'couse he was not after money or name, he just wanted to help humanity to evolve, and in a sense he was the true Prometheus...

  20. Reasons Voice

    Tesla was awesome. If Buffalo was no so far away and so boring otherwise, I would go pay his museam and monument a visit.

  21. gto

    great guy if not the greatest(tesla)

    and how do we repay him? his generation isolate him, treat him like a mad scientist, made him the first enemy of superman lex lutter is also base from him and dr. frankenstein, we forget about for him for 50 years and yet his the greatest inventor of all time... haa tsk tsk.

  22. javi_blaze

    i think you mean h.a.a.r.p.

  23. ryan

    nikla tesla was a pure genius "light up the world for free" but j p morgan suppressed most of his career and burnt down his lab because morgan couldnt profit and meter it!! "scandalous" the same elite that rule today!! tesla was also the inventor of H.A.A.P!!

  24. Mad

    Good doc Tesla was a genius his work is still in use to this day, and a lot of the things he thought up back then became "21st century technology for the future"