War of Currents (from Wikipedia)

In the “War of Currents” era (sometimes, “War of the Currents” or “Battle of Currents”) 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 was not inclined 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 economic 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 systems.

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.

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 (see electrical network), 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 would later come to regret that he had not listened to Tesla and used alternating current.

For the complete article



5 Responses to War of Currents (from Wikipedia)

  1. SAWJ says:

    Man you’re getting too carried away by AC/DC! 😛

    This was part of my TOEFL practice test. And what is this John Dixon Gibbs shit in between? Creating problems in reading.

  2. safiullahhussaini says:

    Sorry dude…. I probably forgot to delete that place holder.

    So how did your TOEFL go??? Get your scores yet?

    To tell the truth it started with a search for AC/DC.

  3. SAWJ says:


    Got 114 on my TOEFL.

  4. safiullahhussaini says:

    That is a cool score. Have you given the GRE yet?

  5. SAWJ says:

    No man, registered for the 4th of Dec.

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