Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are the world’s greatest inventors. We can freely say that their work powers our life today. You probably know that the relationship these two had and its history was more than complex. They came from different backgrounds, and their lives took completely opposite turns.
Both of these men are known for their work on direct and alternating currents. It was actually one of the reasons behind their feud. Even though there is still today a lot of debate regarding the superiority of one man over the other, no one can deny the fact that they changed the world forever. In the following article, we will discuss their invention in great detail and also explain their rivalry and people’s attitudes towards it today.
First, let us introduce you to the beginning stages of the men’s careers. Before becoming an inventor, Edison worked as a telegraph operator and then for the Associated Press bureau news wire.
After being fired for conducting experiments during his shift, Edison moved to New Jersey, and it is when he had his first patent approved – an automatic repeater. However, he got recognized for their work upon inventing a phonograph in 1877. Soon after, Edison founded the first research lab, and it wasn’t long before Tesla became one of his employees.
On the other hand, Tesla studied at the Imperial-Royal Technical College in Graz. Even though he earned the highest grades and passed more exams than required, he never graduated.
He moved to Budapest and worked at the Budapest Telephone Exchange, where he eventually got the position of the chief electrician. The following year, he became an employee of Continental Edison Company in Paris and eventually moved to Ney York in 1884.
Tesla was a great admirer of Edison, which is why he offered him help to improve his design of motors and generators. Although Edison believed Tesla’s idea was spectacular, he thought his methods were impractical.
He even went as far as to offer him $50,000 as a reward if he managed to complete the project successfully, which Tesla did.
However, Edison stated that this was a practical joke, and Tesla didn’t receive this bonus. The authenticity of this story was never confirmed, and people doubt it today since Edison’s company wasn’t that wealthy, and it is questionable if he would be able to pay Tesla. After this, Tesla resigned and made a single entry in his diary – “Good by to the Edison Machine Works.”
The current war
Yes, this is the name of the 2017 movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Edison and Nicholas Hoult as Tesla, but it is also the name given to describe the series of events and confrontations between the two inventors during the 1880s.
Naturally, Edison supported and promoted his design of direct current even though Tesla’s alternating current was far more superior. Edison took the whole confrontation a step further and tried to demonstrate the danger the alternating current posed by electrocuting animals. Nevertheless, George Westinghouse built a power plant at Niagara Falls and used the altering current to power homes in New York City, making Tesla the winner of the war.
Now, let mention some of their best-known inventions. The research lab we already mentioned was the first establishment of its sort in Menlo Park in New Jersey.
Here, Edison focused on creating a safe alternative to gaslight – an incandescent light. Combining this invention with the direct current, he soon founded the Edison Illuminating Company and the power station on Pearl Street, which provided nearby buildings with electricity. During his career, he had over 1,000 of his patents approved.
On the other hand, Tesla only had around 300. His most notable work includes the Tesla coil, an electrical resonant transformer circuit. In a nutshell, it produced low-current, high-voltage electricity, which he later used in his experiments in X-ray generation, electrical lighting, wireless transmission of electrical energy, and so on.
Who had a greater impact?
Now, the answer to this question is not straightforward, and the reason for this is the fact that the two inventors used completely opposite methods and had different approaches to their work.
When it comes to Edison, he preferred experiments and would conduct them as many times as it was necessary until he reached a satisfactory result. Also, keep in mind that he had a company of his own and numerous assistants who worked on several designs simultaneously. This made him a businessman and a celebrity of that time.
On the contrary, Tesla first worked on developing theoretical designs and analyzed them to the last detail before actually constructing them. He was gifted with eidetic memory, which not only enabled him to recall every image he had ever seen but also to visualize 3D images in his mind and easily draw them.
It is why he usually used preliminary sketches when building prototypes. Even though his invention of the alternating current is the foundation of today’s power system, a lot of his work was lost over time.
Edison stayed true to his businessman nature up until his death in 1931. He remained involved in his company until a few months before he passed away. Tesla died alone and penniless in his hotel room in New York City. We believe these two facts perfectly demonstrate the difference between the lives of the two greatest minds that changed the course of history.
How to become an inventor today?
Upon reading this brief description of Edison and Tesla’s life and work, you are probably wondering how difficult it is to follow in their footsteps and work as an inventor. Yes, the process of getting a patent and building a prototype can take a lot of time, and in most cases, it is why many people are reluctant about whether they should even start it.
However, you should know that this process doesn’t need to be that challenging. All you need is a partner who will steer you in the right direction. If this sounds appealing to you, check out the InventHelp website to learn some essential information and read the answers to the most frequently asked questions.