The Criminally Underappreciated Nikola Tesla, and Other Under-Recognized Historic Figures

George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. History Extra

38. Switching Over to Edison’s Rival

After Thomas Edison screwed him over, Nikola Tesla took his talents to Edison’s greatest business rival, George Westinghouse. Nowadays, alternating current (AC) lights up our homes and workplaces, and powers up our appliances through wall sockets. By contrast, direct current (DC), is relegated mostly to batteries.

In the nineteenth century, however, the issue was undecided, and powerful interests fiercely competed to decide whether AC or DC would dominate the world. AC was supported by Westinghouse, who pushed it as the best means to bring electricity to the masses. On DC’s side was Thomas Edison. There was serious money at stake, and in hindsight, considering that Tesla’s talents settled the issue in favor of AC, Edison might have had cause to regret screwing his former employee over.