Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were two innovators who became entangled in a war of currents in the late 1800s. Their race to develop an electrical system that would power the world centered around direct-current (DC) and alternating-current (AC).  Described as “The War of Currents,” this competitive time in America’s history involved wealthy investors and a media war.

Thomas Edison

The first practical incandescent light bulb and the phonograph are among Thomas Edison’s many inventions. He is also known for developing direct-current (DC) electricity. This form of electricity is best described in modern terms as a current that runs continually in a single direction. DC current is found in batteries and fuel cells. In the early days of electricity, Edison’s DC model was the U.S. standard. 

Nikola Tesla

While Nikola Tesla initially worked for Thomas Edison upon Tesla’s arrival in the United States in 1884, he eventually branched out on his own. Tesla eventually formed a partnership with George Westinghouse, a wealthy investor. Westinghouse supported Tesla’s development of alternating-current (AC). This type of electricity reverses direction a certain amount of times per direction (60 times in U.S. standards). AC can also be converted to different voltages using a transformer. 

The Current Wars

Edison became increasingly concerned about the royalties he was receiving for his DC patents. To protect his reputation and profits, Edison began a media campaign touting the dangers of AC. The main theme of his propaganda was the risk of electrocution. Edison’s campaign to discredit AC as a power source was unsuccessful and AC eventually became the national standard.

Edison and Tesla: The Later Years

Historians cite Tesla’s lack of business sense as a major contributor to his downfall. He signed away AC royalties to Westinghouse and patent rights for a wireless communication system to J.P. Morgan. Tesla reportedly spent his final years feeding pigeons outside the New York Public Library and he died nearly penniless. 

Edison, on the other hand, left a $12 million estate upon his death in 1931. Edison and Tesla are considered genius innovators whose ideas and developments are still used today. Their inventions of AC and DC power have come a long way in powering society. While AC power is the standard, DC power finds use in LEDs, computers, and electric vehicles. 

Penny Electric: Serving Las Vegas and Surrounding Area

The competition between Edison and Tesla is an interesting and important part of America’s history. Their contributions to electricity are integrated into our everyday lives, even though we may not realize it. 

When it comes to your modern residential and commercial electrical needs, Penny Electric has you covered. As a family-owned business, we take great pride in learning the latest technology and in delivering quality customer service. 

From electric vehicle charging stations to smart home technology, Penny Electric has the experience to meet your electrical needs. We even offer 24-hour electrical emergency services. 

At Penny Electric, we understand that an electrical issue can disrupt your day, whether at home or at work. We also understand that your energy costs don’t have to cost you a fortune on a monthly basis. Let us help you learn more about how you can save money and have the right equipment in place to prevent a disruption of service. 

Penny Electric serves the areas of Las Vegas, Henderson, Green Valley, Summerlin, and Boulder City, along with the surrounding region.  Contact us today for more information about our safe and dependable service by bonded, licensed, and insured electricians. We offer free, no-obligation quotes for your residential and commercial electrical needs.