Comments: Edison overrated? Readers praise legacy of inventor Nikola Tesla
The site of inventor Nikola Tesla's former laboratory sits idle and boarded up in Shoreham, New York.
August 21st, 2012
07:26 PM ET

Comments: Edison overrated? Readers praise legacy of inventor Nikola Tesla

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Every day, we spot thought-provoking comments from readers. Here's a look at what readers are saying.

Call Nikola Tesla a "cult hero" if you like, but some of our readers might take issue with you. News that Matthew Inman, the creator of Web cartoon "The Oatmeal," is collaborating with a nonprofit group to create a Tesla museum has commenters singing the futurist inventor's praises. Many say they think he deserves more recognition in the annals of scientific history.

Backers raise cash for Tesla museum honoring 'cult hero'

They hashed out the legacies of Tesla and Thomas Edison, sometimes viewed to be at odds.

MDMick: "The article describes him as a 'cult' hero with far-out dreams, but Tesla was an accomplished scientist. He is the one who realized Edison was wrong by insisting on direct current public electricity supplies and it could be done more safely and much cheaper with alternating current. The modern American - and world - electricity grids are ALL based on Tesla's patents and first working systems he developed for Westinghouse. Edison tried to discredit Tesla and the 'Electric Chair' was invented to try to scare people away from AC current electricity. But Tesla was right and Edison wrong and AC prevailed as Tesla's calculations and foresight proved true - and made Westinghouse (now part of Northrup) a big name."

Kevin Schooler: "Edison wasn't wrong about direct current being useful, he was only wrong about the application. Have you ever wondered why so many electronic devices have an AC adapter? That is because they must convert AC to DC in order to run correctly and safely. The only problem is that DC loses potency over distance. I'll never understand the whole revisionist 'Tesla Angelic/Edison Evil' paradigm. The fact is both contributed enormously to modern living, but Edison happened to be a better businessman."

Was Tesla overlooked in favor of Edison?

hook59: "The sad demise of Tesla living and dying in debt just shows how corporate America, or those in power controlling things to the benefit of themselves and their greed. Edison was dead set on having his way in the electrical energy department. Westinghouse saw the benefit of Teslas ideas. But Teslas ideas were virtually swallowed up by the bigger fish in the pond. It's really a wonder that we hear anything at all about Tesla depsite his intelligence. It's no different today when a little guy invents something that doesn't get swallowed up and shelved by corporate greed."

joninva: "Tesla was not a 'little guy.' He was world famous during his time. The fact he was broke when he died was because he got shafted by Edison and Tesla himself was not a good businessman. History will forever record that Tesla was the better scientist than Edison. However, Edison was a better businessman and politician."

The term "cult hero" is in the eye of the beholder.

JoeSchmoe: "Cult hero, huh? This guy could have solved the U.S. energy problems before they began. He was a genius that surpassed Bell, Edison and just about every scientist of his time and more then a few from our current time. He designed the Hoover Dam which still runs today. His experiments in high-voltage energy transmission were ground breaking technology a hundred years ahead of its time. That would be like a 747 flying overhead while the Wright brothers were at Kitty hawk. That is who you are calling a cult hero."

Peter Zang: " 'Cult Hero' is not a negative term. It just means his 'heroic' status is appreciated by a good number of people outside the mainstream. He should be considered a true American hero for his contributions, but too few of the general population have any idea or understanding of what he did."

Maybe Tesla was just ahead of his time.

voodoochild1975: "I've always thought the dude would be a lot more comfortable in 2012 than in 1912. I really think he hit the wrong century. I think 'cult following' is coming from how, unlike Edison, Einstein, Bell, etc., Tesla doesn't usually get his own chapter in grade school history books. You have to know a bit about what he was doing, the science involved, and how eerily he foreshadowed where that technology would end up. Anyone think he would be at all surprised to see cell phones today? So Tesla is the scientist other scientists and geeks tend to appreciate. Or at least that's my take on the 'cult hero' remark."

drowlord: "Without Tesla doing his thing then, 2012 would be a lot more like 1912 ..."

vr13: "With only one correction. Tesla's place is first of all in the physics books. And secondly, he does get a lot of recognition, bad sadly not in the American educational system that is too heavy on 'soft social knowledge.' In the countries that place higher value on science education, Tesla is well known."

Kalanaole: "According to Dean Koontz theory, Tesla was ALIVE in 2012. Time travel ..."

How do you feel about Tesla's legacy? Ever done an experiment in his honor? Share your opinion in the comments area below or show us your projects via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: On Earth • Science Education
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Teddy

    Tesla, a man out of time(taken from his bibliography ), is an ingenious creator and a science magician that can surpass all the scientists that we have encountered in our history. I am not minimizing anyone's invention including Edison's but I think Tesla is the one who foreshadowed the future of our world and made tangible contributions towards paving an invaluable path of new era of civilizations and possibilities. To be honest, people who argue that Tesla didn't know the value of DC current are mistaken. Tesla knew the importance of both AC and DC signals. As a result, he wanted to renovate the inefficient and highly power dissipative invention of Edison with a very versatile and thrifty AC current generators. In addition to that, all Tesla's works are mathematically provable and agreeable with Maxwell's electromagnetic equations

    August 23, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  2. Dougee909

    Man oh man, I sure am reading a lot of exaggerations about Tesla on this thread. Contrary to what has been stated, he did not design Hoover Dam, nor did he invent the fluorescent light as we know it. Edison was actually the first to create a discharge tube with phosphor coating, but as it was excited by X-rays it was not commercially viable. Tesla's engineering was used in the Niagara Falls powerplant; it had been a childhood dream of his to harness a portion of the Niagara's immense power.

    Tesla didn't invent the modern three-phase power system we use today; his prototype polyphase system used two phases – practical but not as efficient. The three-phase system was rolled out by one Almarian Decker, a little-known Southern California engineer. And for the DC sympathizers, sure, lots of electronic stuff now uses DC, but the wheels of industry are still powered by gigantic AC motors, which Tesla succeeded in creating despite guffaws from his engineering professors.

    Tesla's fame lies in primacy – the advancement of original ideas that were improved upon later. He pioneered the concept of radio; Marconi used his ideas to create a smaller transmitter and receiver that were more practical than Tesla's gigantic "magnifying transmitters." He invented the AC motor, which was far more important to the Industrial Revolution than Edison/Swan's light bulb. He was the first to think up a "discovering ray," which was built later by someone else using his idea and called "radar." And, of course, he built a remote-controlled submarine, the first vehicle of its kind in the world.

    One of Edison's greatest bumblings was his overlooking of the "Edison effect," which was discovered in his laboratory. He observed that current would flow in one direction from a light bulb filament to another electrode placed in the bulb. This effect, which Edison blew off, was actually the basis for electronics from the early 1900s until the advent of solid-state electronics. Other visionaries like Charles Fleming and Lee de Forest put the Edison effect to work.

    "Free energy" is a fringe concept that has never been proven. There are some apocryphal stories about Tesla driving an electric car powered by the "aether," but none have been proven. He did want to transmit electricity wirelessly, but we now know that such transmission would be very inefficient. Also, some of his theories about the entire world resonating electrically have been disproven.

    The bottom line is, Edison and Tesla both contributed greatly to the advancement of science, as did many of their contemporaries. Edison is very much overrated and Tesla does deserve credit where it is due. But no one man did everything!

    August 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Terry G

      Tesla is probably the most underated genius that ever existed. Shame on the "Education" systems around the world that ignore him. With out his efforts we would still be in the 1800s. There should be an international Tesla day. He was dudded by the big money men of the day, imagine where we would be today had they ha dthe smarts to keep bankrolling him.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  3. Nel

    Certainly Tesla was a genius, but so was Edison. The light bulb, the phonograph, the movie projector, just to mention THREE of the most USEFUL inventions of the past century. Edison may not have 'invented' some things, but he certainly made them practical. Just as the Wright brothers made flight possible. For those of you spouting with authority in regards to A/C current. The computer you used to compose on actually runs on DC power. As does most electronics. In fact a lot of high-end homes use low-voltage DC powered lights. As far as Edison being in it only for the money, you're wrong there. Edison invented the Flouroscope and never made a penny on it because he hoped it would help the health of people. Tesla did not invent he spark plug, at least three different people did, but one of them with the last name of Bosch made it practical. Perhaps you may have heard of Bosch – they make excellent spark plugs.

    Con-Edison, Bosch spark plugs, Westinghouse, etc.. Name one product that we use today with the name Tesla on it. I am not dissing Tesla, but Edison just didn't just invent things he created the need for industries like the recording industry, the movie industry the lighting and power industries. Go check out Edison's office in West Orange NJ and look at all the accolades he amassed in his lifetime. Walk through one of his laboratories or listen to an early Phonograph. You might just change your opinion of Edison. If you don't is doesn't matter his 'inventions' have stood the test of time with his name associated with them.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      He intentionally destroyed people and literally killed dozens of animals. Sure you can get ahead and monopolize business that way (if you have no scruples or ethics) ! He hated any talent besides his own. He never complemented another inventor or scientist. In fact, he pretty much hated all scientists and especially mathematicians. I don't think Tesla ever hated anyone (or anything) except maybe Edison, who cheated him when he worked for him.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
      • sjinsj

        Tesla DID NOT build the first AC hydroelectric generator!!! The Niagara Falls generator was started in 1895 and went online in 1897. The first was in California in 1893, in Folsom:

        Folsom Powerhouse State Historic Park

        Maine native Horatio Gates Livermore came to California in 1850 seeking gold. Realizing the possibilities of the American River for logging and developing hydroelectric power, he bought 9,000 acres of land – gaining river rights. In 1880, he donated nearly 350-acres to the state prison board in exchange for convict labor. In October 1889, prison inmates began construction on Folsom's first dam and on January 16, 1893, water was diverted from the American River and the prison powerhouse became operative.

        Tesla DID NOT "invent 3-phase AC power". He designed induction motors and 3 phase motors. So Tesla nuts, stop babbling about things you don't even understand. You are ignorant, militantly so.

        October 2, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
      • sjinsj

        "He intentionally destroyed people and literally killed dozens of animals"
        truth seeker, other than the elephant electrocuted at Coney Island, what animals did Edison kill? You must have a revelation for the world! Don't keep us waiting, eagerly anticipating any longer! Divulge the information you have, the details! We want the details! Facts, truth seeker, facts!

        October 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Graham Whittaker


        "He intentionally destroyed people and literally killed dozens of animals"
        truth seeker, other than the elephant electrocuted at Coney Island, what animals did Edison kill? You must have a revelation for the world! Don't keep us waiting, eagerly anticipating any longer! Divulge the information you have, the details! We want the details! Facts, truth seeker, facts!
        October 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm |

        I wanted to reply in Truth Seeker's defense to the above statement. I am a research journalist and writer. I use subscription newspaper archives to get to the original sources. I know a little about Testa and a little about Edison. Very little. It was recently when I was researching original articles into the first electrocution by The Chair of William Kemmler when I began to follow a thread which I am so stunned about, that I am following through to where it may lead. Edison did indeed destroy many animals, both in his labs, and to journalists and other parties. Stray dogs were 'electrocutionalized' along with rabbits and rats. Edison was described as 'mirthful' when he called the killing of animals as being "Westinghoused". Following through newspapers from 1888 to 1912 I came across many small references to Edison's ruthless manner regarding the Westinghouse/Tesla (AC) electric chair. He encouraged it knowing that it would be a disaster, and some reporters implied that Edison had a greater hand in the disgustingly botched execution of William Kemmler than could be told. Tesla, an opponent of the death penalty had spoken out against the "chair' as had Westinghouse, whose dynamos were used. It was described by Tesla/Westinghouse as a "sham".
        I came across a small item in one newspaper dated 1895 (I can give sources on request) which said that Tesla had so vociferously claimed that the electric chair did not (under normal prescribed use) kill, and that death was caused both by the Surgeons and by the constant (more than once) application of the voltage which resulted in 'roasting' the victim rather than the 'lightning bolt' it was described as. An agreement was made with the then warden of Sing Sing that the next execution was to be an experiment and that Teslas's claim that the victim could be revived would be put to the test.
        A short item in a Syracuse newspaper of 1905 had a report that Tesla would speak to a reporter about the Kemmler case, which had greatly depressed him for years, and the use of his beloved AC current for a destructive act had disturbed him for years. I have not found anything later than that (yet) but will continue to follow this very interesting story to a conclusion. There is an inference that Edison's ruthlessness towards Tesla and AC was such that Edison might have overstepped a moral line in order to discredit Tesla's AC. (After all a monstrous amount of money was involved.) The reason I am not giving the sources in this long post in defense of Truth Seeker is that I am still writing, but I can suggest that interested parties check newspaper archives from 1888-1912, notably the Boston Globe, The Fort Wayne Sentinel, the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, among others. I began writing about the electric chair and it's use from the first. This story has taken a turn I did not forsee and the Tesla/Edison involvement is both stunning and fascinating.

        February 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Suparag

      To say today's electronics run on DC, so Edison is better is ridiculous. Without the AC transmission system you will never would have had affordable power to use any electronic device, period.

      August 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  4. Mark

    When they announced the discovery of the Higgs field I was anxiously waiting for someone to bring up Tesla and remind everyone that this might actually be yet another vindication of Tesla and his theories on gravity and relativity (which were at odds with Einstein and never taken seriously). Tesla's version of gravity and the universe relied on the existance of "ether" (or the Higgs Field). He said it must exist, others said it didn't and that Einstein's version of curved space caused gravity (something that has never made any logical sense to anyone). I don't think Einstein believed in ether but I think he did say that if it DID exist then Tesla would be right.
    Now it's discovered and I haven't heard a word about Tesla in the news.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      Higgs field =/= "ether"

      "never made any logical sense to anyone"? LOL!! W T F ?!! First of all, General Relativity was PROVEN in 1919. It makes no difference whether or not it makes "logical sense" to simpletons like you. Reality cannot care less. Second, much of modern physics doesn't "make sense", but is correct nevertheless. Senses have nothing to do with correctness.

      And by the way it's not "ether" (which is a chemical substance). It's aether. Have you ever taken a physics course? Or do you just read CNN's "science" articles and think you know something about physics?

      August 22, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  5. EdNv

    history may yet prove Tesla wrong - the implementation of large centralized power sources is what is making renewable energy so hard to implement - had we stuck with dynamo's in every town and city we may very well have been better off.

    August 22, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Frazzled

      The 60hz flicker of AC fluorescent lighting drives people crazy and they don't even realize it until they have gone off their rocker. DC and Photovoltaic is the future, but not for decades.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    The debate over Tesla and Edison is like that of Leibnitz and Newton or Darwin and Wallace, if only in the sense that both made historic contributions to science, but one is remembered as a giant and the other is a footnote. Yes, Edison was a better businessman and Tesla the better theorist: however, it was their shared ability to bring to fruition their ideas that makes both of them great. Neither of them was a modest man, and we could go on all day with regards to pointing out their faults. Its worth pointing out that, had Edison not helped to develop the initial applications for DC current, AC current would not have been a result, much less the ability to switch from AC to DC. We need to admire the theorists as much as we admire those who are able to apply their theories: hold the thinkers in as high esteem as we do the mechanics of our world and our society.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • gen81465

      Absolutely everything that Thomas Alva Edison supposedly discovered or invented, was a stolen idea from someone else. In and of himself, Edison was worth less that the paper his "ideas" were written on.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  7. RustyNail

    Actually, both have provided their own spin on our world today!
    -Tesla's AC principle is used for generation and transmission of large potential (kiloVolts) and massive electric current across the grids of the earth. Yes it operates things in your homes, but that is because it was all that was out there for decades.
    -As for Edison; that timer on the coffee pot...AC to DC conversion to operate the clock circuits and heating elements. The smartphone in your pocket...low power DC circuits. Most electronics in the home and office these days operate on low DC voltages. Because semiconductor circuits need tight tolerance current to keep heat constant. Anything with a digital circuit also has a power supply that converts the AC to DC, and filters it to smooth out the output.
    So both Edison and Tesla contributed. The main problem is that Edison was a cutthroat Businessman, and Tesla was not!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • EdNv

      Please do not try to expound on things sciency, you only embarrass yourself and make the rest of us uncomfortable.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  8. ian

    pm i do believe your comments might be a skewed. Only thing Edison did was financially back tesla lab. So Tesla did the thinking and worked it out in his lab also. I did make a mistake in saying " the only thing Edison did was financially back Tesla". Edison managed to go back on his word to give Tesla his fair share of promised bonus money. Edison has nothing on Tesla. Did the government go after Edison's personal papers after he died. Not even close when you compare the 2 men. Remote control, alternator, AC, radio control, spark plugs, the lighting in your house. Every day your life is touched more by Tessa's inventions than Edison's. Not to mention Tesla was all about the people where as Edison's greed still chimes today.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  9. loai

    Tesla was the man with no doubts. A friend of mine was opening an electric store in Sudan, yes Sudan, and I strongly suggested that it should be named Tesla lightning in Tesla's honor. His contribution to society is unparalleled and in scientific ranking he should at the top.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  10. blessedgeek

    What we say of Edison now, people will say of Steve Jobs in a hundred years' time.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • DavidLevinsn

      Doubtful. Although Steve Jobs was a very succeful businessman, his inventions fail in comparison to those of Edison and Tesla. Just take three of them: the radio, AC power, and the lightbulb. These inventions are literally the foundations of the modern world in which we live. I doubt that anyone will be saying that about the iPhone and the Mac in 100 years.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  11. Cambride Ray

    They were B-O-T-H insanely great. Like Jobs and Gates.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Cambride Ray

      Like Lennon and McCartney.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Edison didn't care about people or animals. How can that be considered "great"? Edison only cared about fame and fortune. Tesla wasn't like that – he's the greater man.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
      • julzrael


        August 24, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  12. more2bits

    and vice versa.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  13. Teslaite

    Thomas Edison was a tinkerer who got others to do his tinkering for him. He would do things by chance and trial and error. Tesla would theorize and perfect inventions in his head and once built they worked. One was a jealous old man who never took baths and stunk, the other a meticulous clean to a fault. There is no comparison. Tesla's system won over Edison's End of Story. Of the two, Tesla was the true inventor. And considering what Edison's goons did to discredit Tesla, Edison was a highly overrated human being too.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  14. Mr. Bill

    Reblogged this on Custom BIologicals Blog.

    August 22, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  15. Cambride Ray

    I am convinced that there was some degree of xenophobia against Tesla...

    August 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Jew Boy

      Edison is over rated, what did he do exactly ? Hard to say, he's very similar to the Government of the United States of America. See what they did in the middle east to protect its interest. Now public opinion is that there was wrong doing.
      Also look at what the UN did to Palestine. Was it right ?
      It should be put right completely for Tesla, School Text Books around the world mentions more Edison than the good that Tesla has done.
      So is Westinghouse a good company, now don't forget that they build the ILL Plant, Nuclear Power Plants. Do you want that in your backyard to supply the electricity for your home ?
      Well, Tesla surely didn't want to have anything to do with that evil source of energy.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
      • Cambride Ray

        "what did he do exactly ?"

        – Phonograph
        – Light bulb

        1093 US Patents.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
      • Jay2000

        Edison: incandescent lightbulb and DC current; Tesla: fluorescent lightbuld and AC current.

        Tesla> Edison

        August 22, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Mark

    Tesla was not a "bad businessman". "Business" is a made up term for people who want money and power. Tesla was a scientist and he wanted to make the world a better place. He SHUNNED the idea of "business" and didn't let it have any effect on what he was doing. Unlike a modern day company like Apple that seeks to limit versatility and the usefulness of a product in order to maintain control and maximize profits.
    Tesla was way ahead of his time. He is largely ignored despite having one of the biggest impacts on society of any man since the dawn of time. In fact he probably ranks right up there with Jesus and Mohammed.
    The sad truth is that he was robbed of most recognition by big business who were only too happy to steal his idea's. He disagreed with popular scientists like Einstein, laughed at the theory of relativity (which should perhaps give is pause today), read the bible as a scientific text book, and had most of his work confiscated by governments whowould be only too happy if we all forgot the name Tesla.
    Don't blame Tesla's marginalization in the world on any character flaw or defect in his personality. The problem lies with the rest of the world!

    August 22, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  17. Bill

    I know just enough about these men and their work to suggest that Tesla was more of a scientist/inventor whereas Edison was an entrepreneur with a bent for gadgets he conjured up and later sold. The Gates/Jobs model is pretty close.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  18. Kyle

    Edison may not have been a 'great guy' but he was well liked and respected by the public of his time. Not because of what invented himself but for the technology he seemed to bring to the world. When I think of Thomas Edison I can't help but think of Steve Jobs – though not an inventor he was a great innovator and visionary. And I wonder: who is the current Tesla, unappreciated and unknown, working for Apple right now?

    August 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Cambride Ray

      " When I think of Thomas Edison I can't help but think of Steve Jobs – though not an inventor he was a great innovator and visionary."

      What the Hades are you taking about? Edison is easily the greatest inventor in history!!

      August 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
      • more2bits

        No. 2nd best now. A man from China now has the record for patents.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  19. TAE

    Tesla is vastly over-rated.

    His reputation has fallen into the clutches of a scientifically illiterate cult of personality that seeks to enthrone Tesla as some otherworldly genius, and condemn Edison and the businessmen - who actually BUILT the electrical power grid that made the modern world possible - as "greedy" schemers and thieves.

    And let's not ignore the plain loony pseudoscience that Tesla was involved with: "free energy machines," "earthquake machines" and all the rest of the tin-foil nonsense.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      Edison championed Direct Current for the grid. Tesla proposed alternating current. Good thing Tesla was crazy or we'd be using AC instead of DC. Oh, wait...

      August 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • engineer

      WOW! your ignorance is truly unmatched. If you call an earthquake machine and free energy "tin-foil nonsense", you obviously have no idea what those could be used for. your pea sized brain probably just doesn't understand what "free energy" means... well let me give you a quick run down. Free energy, which could be transmitted wirelessly would mean that we could run our houses, cars, trains etc. on FREE ENERGY! It's people like you, who praise the businessman rather than the scientist, that keep our country (and world) from evolving.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
      • sjinsj

        You're an "engineer"? Really? If you are then you would understand that the wireless transmission of energy Tesla envisioned is impractical. Not only is it extremely inefficient, but the high power required of the fields capable of transferring any reasonable amount of energy would play havoc with modern electronics, not to mention the possible effects of these fields on humans, the unpopularity of that alone would render the project untenable. Have you ever read what IEEE has to say about wireless energy transfer? Probably not, or you wouldn't have posted what you did. My advice for you: Leave engineering to real engineers.

        October 3, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • Freeyourchains

        To engineers that put down other engineers, you are the fools acting foolish. So many mysteries are out there waiting to be discovered. Countless scientist of the past may have discovered something big and businesses, goverments, or kings would burn it all to the ground. Tesla most likely tapped into the Earth's frequency for tremendous power. Not inefficient wireless power transmission. His receivers were set for a power source from the earth itself, which if discovered again will bankrupt certain industries.

        November 16, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • C Parish

      Not so sure of your conclusion.... "Wireless" electricity, and the Tesla coil really work. There was no commitment to implementing the infrastructure, because I'm thinking there was very little profit in it. Also, don't downgrade seemingly "weird" inventions. Wasn't Captain Kirk using a communicator in the 1960's that looks a lot like a smartphone?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • kelly

      Vastly over-rated, tin-foil nonsense,.... which actually works. Pick up a book about him, or better yet, watch a video (it's easier for people like yourself).

      August 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Mark

      It's funny how people are brainwashed to believe things are "tin foil" conspiracy theories these days. People wear disbelief as a badge of honour these days. The world certainly has changed.
      Science has become a bit of a mess and has seriously stagnated. You can throw around theories like the "multiverse" and the public will swallow it up and ask for more but if you tell peopel that it could actually be possible for HARRP to affect weather patterns people like this start laughing and call them lunatics.
      There are too many biased information sources being drummed into our heads these days. People are unable to think for themselves and often make snap judgements immediatly on things that should take much research to accurately judge.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
      • MOCaseA

        One of the projects that HARRP was tasked with was recreating the Aurora Borealis, in the wild. As in "turning the Northern Lights" on, with quite literally the flick of a switch.

        It is my opinion, and this is through various paths of research, that they have succeeded in doing so. There were several instances of the Aurora that did not coincide with any known celestial event that would produce the atmospheric ionization that creates the Aurora. Meanwhile, during these periods, that was an increase in activity, and power consumption, at the Alaska HARRP sites.

        Sounds like they were doing something, and that something was putting on a powerful, but relatively harmless, light show.

        August 28, 2012 at 3:09 am |
      • PGK

        You nailed it here.

        October 2, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Doug D.

      You are totally clueless.........everytime you use a remote control, a CD Player, Computer, and anything that uses AC Current, just to name a few........ Thank Tesla.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
      • sjinsj

        Doug, you must be a comedian: Every device you name runs on DC. That's right, they have an AC to DC converter that enables them to operate.

        October 3, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Teslaite

      Tin Foil? What about that the car that Tesla outfitted with an electric motor and a radio and antenna and ran for 3-4 months with no batteries or gasoline? I seriously doubt the smelly old man Edison could have pulled that feat. But lots of what Tesla did for the Government is not widely known and for good reasons.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
      • sjinsj

        WHAT are you talking about? *I guess only Tesla and you know about this, right? LINK to your source of this information, please!

        October 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  20. Tesla's Wang

    Edison was a pr!ck but could make products people wanted and would pay for here in America.

    Tesla was a genius but his socialist upbringing made it impossible for him to thrive here.

    It is unfortunate but sometimes that's the roll of the dice.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Tesla 13-truth is hard to see by others!

      You stated it right! Tesla was a genius and Edison was smart, but not a genius. Edison cared about money not human life. Tesla cared about human life, the world and even then he could see the down side of pollution which man mock. Science is my field and Edison was smart don't get me wrong, but Tesla had so much more to offer us. This is why even today we use what he left behind. If some of you only knew why they wanted his lab papers after his death it would floor you. Good thing he fixed what most could not and a lot more that people have no clue of.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Teslaite

      Lots of what Tesla did is not widely known. He was involved with pretty secret stuff for the Government. Its a case of Genius vs a tinkerer.

      August 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  21. nate

    "Edison was an @sshole" – Drunk History Vol. 6 If you don't know, watch it on YouTube.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Tesla 13-truth is hard to see by others!

      Well stated! Tesla is looking at this with a smile ;)

      August 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  22. Truth Seeker

    Few people know that, unlike Edison, Tesla was an animal lover and always enjoyed feeding pigeons in the park. Edison actually TORTURED animals of all sizes, in a vain and selfish attempt to prove that Tesla's alternating current was very dangerous and should never be used. He killed dogs, horses and even an elephant. The elephant took almost an hour to die and required huge amounts of electricity!!!! THIS WAS THE EDISON the press and government didn't want people to know! He was a completely inhumane person that also treated his workers with contempt and overworked them all. Tesla actually worked for and greatly helped Tesla before Edison took advantage of him and cheated him out of a great deal of money. Edison is a BUM in my book, compared to Tesla the humanitarian and animal lover!

    Look all this up if you don't believe it!

    August 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • sjinsj

      Hey truth seeker: What animals did Edison torture? What is your source for this revelation? The elephant electrocuted by DC at Coney Island was scheduled to be killed anyway because it had killed a trainer. It was tested as a means of execution, which worked, as we all know. So please tell us all what other animals Edison "tortured"? And not just slander and ranting, real information, facts! Bet you can't/won't...

      October 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  23. Ed Atchley

    These clowns out here havent even heard of telsa or edison for that matter.Yes tesla wes without a doubt the electrical genius of the twenth century.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  24. Patricksday

    The Corporate rulers dont want people to have Free Energy, its all about profit and greed. Perhaps the scales of Karma will swing back now and sweep them away like filth in a gutter.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  25. Mopery

    "Many say they think he deserves more recognition in the annals of scientific history."

    Seriously? Do you know what the basic SI unit for Magnetism is called?

    Trick question, it's called a Tesla, not an Edison. It was named in honor of Nikola Tesla. Anyone who's taken a few college level physics courses will know the names Tesla and Newton very well, and considering how brilliant Newton was, I think that's a huge compliment to Nikola's impact on science.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • morto00x

      I think they refer to the fact that Edison is recognized as the father of electricity and the greatest American inventor even though most of the inventions came from the scientists and engineers that he hired (Kind of what Steve Jobs did). By the way, one of the scientists who worked for him was Tesla, who resigned tired of all the false economic promises that Edison made him for his inventions.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  26. Mick

    Edison was not so much a "better businessman", as he was just a complete creep! He and his associates tortured dozens of animals to death – including an elephant – with electricity, just to try to discredit Tesla. It also is not true that Edison actually believed that DC was better for transmission of electricity, he had just not thought of the concept of AC. After Tesla invented and patented it, Edison had no choice but to try to save his investment, even though he could do the same calculations as Tesla, and see that DC was less efficient. As with many things (Paul Revere's ride, Columbus being the first to conceive of a round Earth, etc), the Edison myth is just another urban myth, mostly concocted by fiction writers, rather than historians. He also did NOT invent: (1) the electric lightbulb, (2) motion pictures, OR (3) the phonograph; he merely took ideas developed by others and utilized his staff and resources to refine them, and claim them as his own. You know ... kind of like Bill Gates and Paul Allen did with MS-DOS and Windows.

    August 22, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Didn't see your earlier post. I posted the same thing. We actually need to make the public aware of what Edison did and make sure that Americans take this sadist down a few pegs. Edison mostly stole his ideas anyway and worked his people to death while cheating them in pay. Like I said, he is a glorified bum to me!

      August 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • TAE

      So what have you done?



      August 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  27. Roger Faulkner

    I cite Tesla's second US patent (#382,845) in my recent patent application on Ballistic Breakers (a new kind of circuit breaker that works as well for DC as for AC power); this is quite unusual, as most AC-type breakers will not work for DC. This patent is the one Tesla did for Edison, on the basis of a handshake deal...Edison said he'd give Tesla $50k if he solved the problem of the sparking of DC motor commutators, then cheated him...Edison said he'd been joking. That was the LAST of Tesla's inventions that had anything to do with DC. I believe that if Edison had treated Tesla fairly, Tesla would have gone on to discover great things in DC power as well; perhaps the inception date for high voltage DC (HVDC) technology would have been moved forward by 50 years or so. I believe Tesla would have invented the Ballistic Breaker soon after this patent, but for Edison cheating him. Perhaps I should be grateful to Edison, because without this slap in the face to Tesla, most likely Tesla would have invented my "Ballistic Breaker" (actually, more accurately a "commutating circuit breaker") 120 years ago. Edison's inabolity to cherish Tesla's genius set us back by decades, I am sure.

    I did not see any other mention of the induction motor as one of Tesla's great inventions in the discussion above. Tesla essentially invented AC power, and specifically three phase AS power transmission, the transformer, radio, and the induction motor; these inventions changed our world. I think all of these except for the induction motor were fairly obvious, and would have been invented by others. The induction motor might have taken decades for someone else to see...and I really wonder what other non-obvious inventions Tesla might have made in DC power if not for Edison's slap in the face (virtually).

    August 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • C Parish

      You are absolutely correct! He invented the electric motor. Had a vision and sketched it in the sand, amazing!

      August 22, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  28. zaphed

    This is part of prejudice against foreign born people. This is what driving america down the rhetoric republicans and some democrats make against foreign born citizens.. Wake up before it is too late and you are a third world country.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • TAE

      Another loony liberal heard from.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  29. The mythology of history

    We're taught as children that Thomas Edison was a brilliant lone inventor who toiled endlessly while the truth was that his Menlo Park lab facility had scores of scientists doing the work for him, while he took the credit. Tesla worked for Edison for a short time for $18 a week, fixed a problem that Edison told Tesla he'd pay him $50,000 to fix (then claimed he was joking). Tesla formed his own company, failed, then Westinghouse gave him a job paying $2,000 a month in 1888.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Tom

      Don't forget he had more patent lawyers working for him than scientists.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • morto00x

      Reminds me of a young Steve Jobs paying his friend, Steve Wozniak, $350 to complete projects for him in Atari (Wozniak worked for HP by the way, but Jobs would sneak him into the office at night). Then came the computers, phones, and tablets and he became the greatest inventor of the century.

      August 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  30. Licanin

    Congrats to CNN for finally paying some attention to Tesla (about time). Congrats to the Oatmeal guy. Real strong work. Good to see that some Americans know about Tesla, but I suspect most of the people commenting here are scientists, computer scientists or engineers.

    It would also be nice of CNN to give a little bit more background on Tesla, the man. He was born in a Serbian part of Croatia called Krajina, specifically Lika (when he was born it was still under Austria-Hungary). Tesla is today celebrated in both Serbia and Croatia. To see the really cool Serbian money with him on it just google image "Serbian dinar Tesla." The statue of him in Niagara Falls is the same as in front of the School of Electrical Engineering, University of Belgrade.

    If CNN wants to do the journalism thing a little more, it might be important to mention that during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, in 1995 to be precise, the Croatian army (with the help of a US military consultation firm) conducted "Operation Storm," where the Serbian forces "occupying" Serbian Krajina were outnumbered and overwhelmed and the e n t i r e Serbian population of Krajina (i.e. Tesla's people) were forced out. And forced out not in a nice way. That's about 200-300,000 people. Operation Stom is still celebrated today in Croatia as a "liberation" of Croatian lands, while some Krajina Serbs still live in poverty in refugee shelters in Serbia. Readers in the US don't know anything about this, just like they don't know enough about Tesla.
    CNN, please post this. Thanks.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • TAE

      More whining "we're the victims" propaganda from the Serbs who brought a decade of mass-murder and ethnic-cleansing to the Balkans.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  31. Joe

    Want to read a very interesting article on Tesla, then Google "tesla greatest hack". Amazing experiment.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  32. salathieljones

    Reblogged this on The World Outside of Yourself.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  33. John M

    Edison was the Steve Jobs of his time, not really inventing much but copying ideas from elsewhere and perfecting them...

    August 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Yup ... and just as selfish! What has happened to all the money Steve Jobs left behind? Haven't seen any foundations set up in his name yet.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
      • TAE

        His money is doing something useful - creating jobs and more wealth - rather than rewarding the bad choices of parasites and losers who think they deserve the money of useful people.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
      • Clue4Sale

        Yes TAE, because all of those kids that the Gates foundation helps out are undeserving little mooch b@stards. I mean, saint Jobs and his sweat shop factories in China do so much for humanity. Might as well give him the Nobel Peace Prize. With the likes of Obama, he would fit right in with that alumni now.

        August 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  34. RTM

    I built a 350,000 volt Tesla coil when I was in high school, based on the design that Tesla built to transmit electricity without wires. One problem with it, that could possibly have been overcome, was that it knocked out all TV reception for an area approximately a mile in diameter. A friend worked at his father's TV repair shop, and had many house calls to find out that there was nothing wrong with the TV, until he came to a neighbor's house, I saw him, and we figured out what was happening. When working on the wireless transmission method as invented by Tesla, I was able to assess that any two grounded and connected conductors that were the distance apart of the standing wave would short out the transmission, which evidently was what happened with Tesla's experiment that blew out the largest generator east of the Mississippi. Today the widespread use of rebar would pretty much knock out his proposed transmission method, and the widespread use of wireless networks make Tesla coils a public hazard. Today Tesla's proposal for wireless transmission of power would make the objections to cell phone towers because of radiation concerns look like background noise. Tesla was proposing, and actually built a demonstration of a system to transmit electrical power, not just potential, over long distances using low frequency standing waves. That is a nightmare scenario for anyone who is concerned about radiation from cell towers, shared neutral return lines in their house, overhead electrical lines, etc.

    This is not to say that I don't admire Tesla and see his contribution to electrical science as groundbreaking in his time, and today there is not much in the way of electrical power generation and distribution systems that is not directly a result of his inventions. I have been studying Tesla and his inventions since the 1950's, and very much appreciate the man and what he contributed.

    On another note, something that I never quite understood was how Edison convinced people of the dangers of AC current through the electrocution of the elephant. High voltage DC, actually anything over about 50 volts, is much more dangerous than AC, as it freezes the muscles and does not allow the person to let go of the wires. AC current will actually run over the surface of the skin at high voltages, the type used with the elephant, and if the elephant was allow to do so, he could have detached himself from the source of the AC electricity, whereas with DC voltage above a certain potential, he would not have been able to do this. I had personal experience with this when a friend grabbed a 44,000 volt line, and I was able to get him off the line without being shocked myself, and the damage to my friend was burns where the electricity entered and exited, and over the surface of the skin around these spots. I would have been unable to do this had the source been DC, in my opinion and studies of electricity after that incident, if the voltage was that high. His muscles would have been frozen rather than been in spasm, from my later understanding of what happened. The damage to his body by DC current of that voltage, or even a tenth of that voltage, would have been something he would have not recovered from. I was nine at the time.

    I hope that Tesla's laboratory is opened up as a museum, as there is much to appreciate about his contributions to electrical science, and it has definitely taken a back seat to Edison and others in his field, primarily because of his lack of business skills. I'll be in line there to see it if I get the chance.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • RTM

      I'm 65.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
      • Martian

        Thats alot of words you typed there.Mind condencing that into 144 characters?

        August 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • PGK

      I didn't have the money for a Tesla Coil or it's parts if they existed in 1958-62. But I found a Ford coil and powered it with a small Lionel train transformer. Soldered 10-32 brass scews to the terminals and changed my life. Spark discharges, corona, flourescent tubes When my Mom and Sis would complain about he TV and asked what I was doing (age 12-13), I'd say "nothing....". Lerning about Tesla later in life I realized he was the one scientist/engineer actually plugged into the Universal Mind. He saw all new inventions in their complete form redy for prototyping. He didn't have time to persue them all. Can you imagine what Venture Capitalists would do with him now?

      August 22, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Naina

      My try to understand Tesla's work: Nikola Tesla and My Thoughts (google it) and it has lot of instreteing ideas like Tesla's combustion engine, Energy of space, Flying machine, Magnetic linear movement, Plasma on aluminum in water, Quantization of gravitation, Tesla's energy transmitter, Tesla's style windmill and other instreteing stuff.

      October 13, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  35. PHinMiami

    The image of Edison's electrocution of an elephant is burned into my mind. Trying to prove Tesla's AC was more dangerous than DC, Edison chose to demonstrate by torturing an elephant to death. Tesla invented fluorescent bulbs more than 100 years ago. After a bazillion dollars in electricity costs, we now accept Tesla's technology.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Yup – Edison was a really sick guy – NO HERO!

      August 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  36. 22X Richer

    We are conditioned to believe commercial success is the only measure of a person's worth these days. Sad but true.

    August 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  37. Steve

    Tesla invented alternating current, one of the most significant innovations in the history of the human race. He said the idea came to him in a vision one day while sitting on a park bench. Edison did not have the same kind of incredible genius to figure out AC, that's for sure. It was beyond his understanding. While Edison was a great inventor and innovator in his own right, Tesla was a genius on a much different plane. Tesla was one of the most amazing visionary geniuses of all time. Edison was a practical genius of an entirely different type. Tesla should be honored more in America than he is.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • ArizonaYankee

      Putting Tesla in the same category with Edison is delusional... end of story.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
      • golden.ratio

        You're not kidding. Tesla was light years ahead of Edison. The fact that he was able to produce working theories and inventions mostly by what he called thought experiments, or just imagining what would work, can really only be compared to Einstein. Truly remarkable. Reading about Tesla as a kid is what led me to eventually become a physics professor.

        August 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
      • Truth Seeker

        Are you defending that thief Edison? Learn something first.

        August 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • C Parish

        My, my, my!! Someone needs to do some fact checking before posting.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • sjinsj

      "Tesla invented alternating current,"

      No, he did not.

      October 3, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  38. Andrew

    Then, according the "derevisionists" who think this is just "revisionism", Edison is far more overstated and a product of revisionism, yet there's his damned museum. When all he did was rip people off. Now THAT'S revisionism.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  39. Lobelia

    The very fact that there are this many hundreds if not thousands of comments shows that Tesla is a "cult hero." Everyone wants to sound knowledgeable about the issue. People have seen shows on the Discovery or History Channel or a magazine article somewhere in the past few years and now are talking like they're power distribution and radio engineers. And the electrical engineers who actually understand the technical side of the issue and have long known who Tesla was now think they're history professors because of what they've seen or read in the popular media in recent years. This is a prime example of a "cult thing" that everyone wants to be in on.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Andrew

      Age of the underdog, uberwhoeveryouare.

      August 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • kelly

      The point is, with all the information, research, and accomplishments he's provided for all of us in our every day lives, he shouldn't even be considered one.

      Regarding your comment, "now think they're history professors because of what they've seen or read in the popular media in recent years". Or what they've read as part of becoming an engineer? And where &/or how else would someone learn and then later share this information, without disturbing your little world? I'm sure you have first-hand, on-site knowledge of anything and everything you speak of.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • bob

      I love generalizations. Could be some of us even bothered to read a book about the guy like Tesla: Man Out of Time. Just maybe some of us are engineers and understand that he was way ahead of his time and precisely how important Tesla was to electronic theory.

      Put that in your cult pipe and smoke it.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  40. RiadaKram

    Revisionist worshippers of a false god named science er Tesla.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Andrew

      Your "true god" was someone else's 3k years ago and trust me, you don't know enough to state what you gibbered.

      August 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  41. james

    Henery Ford survived by not trusting banks, his mechanical breaks, leaf springs and flat head engines, were all a death trap. Tesla sold his idea to George Westinghouse Who built the first hydro electic plant. It was Faraday , Maxwell, Volta, and Hertz who were the real geniuses.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • ddt7300

      you taking a 'break' from literacy? Or just using 'brakes' to slow down? Damn English language is just too hard!!

      August 22, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  42. Green1955

    Comparing Tesla to Edison is like comparing Einstein to Hawking. Both Tesla and Einstein existed on a completely different intellecual plane than other scientists at that time. Tesla's inventions have had profound impacts on our society. His secret projects with lasers and vibration resonance were both extraordinary and frankly frightening. Tesla was a freak of nature.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  43. Colin

    In 1990's the gov released some of his patents.
    They can be seen on PBS site. They are blacked out (censored).

    August 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • TAE

      More of the Tesla-cult's tinfoil nonsense.

      Tesla's patents have been available since the day he filed the applications for them.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  44. S.Dietrich

    Tesla had a GREAT song called Edison's Medicine

    August 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  45. bob

    Tesla is also now recognized as the father of modern radio over Marconi. His work with resonant and tuned circuits was phenomenal.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  46. Doug D.

    had Thomas Edison listened to Nikola Tesla the light bulb would have been invented much sooner. NikolaTesla was the greatest inventor of the 19th and 20th Centuries, his inventions helped to shape the world in which we live. Nikola Tesla is slowly getting the credit he so richly deserved when he was alive.

    August 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  47. BermudaBound

    Edison was an egomaniac who, rather than admit he was wrong about alternating current, traveled the country performing phony "demonstrations" in which he electrocuted cats, dogs, horses, and even an elephant in an attempt to "prove" how dangerous AC was. The only "danger" of course was to Edison's concept of direct current - and his bank account. His actions prove the true nature of the man, and it isn't good.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Yup ... would like to bring him back to life and do the same demonstrations on him!

      August 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  48. gmenfan54

    I would hold off a few years before buying a Tesla. Reliability has not been determined yet.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • bob

      you didn't read the article did you?

      August 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • parmaguy


      August 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  49. kathleen

    Tesla was the genius that gave us alternating current in circuits that mankind could use .
    Edison was the master of marketing light bulbs .

    I am happy Edison helped us get light bulbs but worship Tesla for his far wider gifts .

    August 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      What about his torturing animals and not feeling a thing (even towards other people)?

      August 22, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  50. MrEE

    “Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” -Tesla

    August 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Tabonga

      Only Tesla himself would have said something like this.....We were gifted with his knowledge and I'm truly gratefull

      August 22, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  51. kathleen

    Our Entire AC electrical system is Because of Tesla ,
    Tesla over saw the start up of the first AC generators and brought power to the Chicago World Fair & cities .
    Edison just electrocuted a horse to prove how bad AC was .
    Edison was a limited , jealous minor player .
    Tesla was who we owe our current life style to .

    August 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Will

      Exactly. And on top of that, Edison staged electrocutions of animals and supported the electric chair in order to make Tesla's superior AC technology look bad. He had good ideas but as a marketer he was a glorified carnival huckster.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Will

      Oh misread your bit about the horse, so you already addressed my point about him electrocuting animals. Tesla should be at least as famous as Edison is.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  52. Brent

    If we still used electricity as Edison thought we should, we would be buried in electical cables. I doubt that we would even be able to see the sky.

    Tesla was waaaayyyy ahead of Edison. As an added plus, he was a much kinder individual.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  53. Kickoff

    Tesla was a one hit wonder. That one song Love Will Find a Way was pretty good.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  54. SSampson

    Edison did hs best work buying patents – like the light bulb – In fact a number of so-called inovations in the country were based on bought patents – some domestic – many foreign

    One domestic example is Goodyear and Vulcanized rubber – Goodyear died penniless... The company that is named after him was never his.....

    Edison was a hack....

    August 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  55. dave

    I am edisons great great grandson, and he was way better than telsa.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Pppa

      Was not...

      August 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Belseth

      Most of Edison's inventions were created by people working in his shop not by Edison himself. Tesla on the other hand designed everything himself and always gave credit when his work was based on the work of others. It's sad that Tesla has all but been forgotten when our lives revolve around his inventions.

      August 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Trey

      Better than Telsa? Yes, better than Tesla? No

      August 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Truth Seeker

      Aren't you ashamed of his torturing animals? If not, then you REALLY DO take after him!!!!!

      August 22, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • C Parish

      Respectively, better at what? He seemed to be a very successful businessman, and a credible visionary. But, for pure scientific genius and creativity, I think Tesla had him beat. Also, blowing off an employee's promised bonus seems unethical to me.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  56. JesterJames

    Tesla's genius is too much ahead of his time. To be properly appreciated for your genius, you have to be just a little bit ahead of your time, so the people w/o genius and imagination can shower your with wealth and praise.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  57. johnofgodchurch

    Tesla was mostly lost to our history books because of JP Morgan (spit spit). Morgan was a major Tesla financier and wanted Tesla to develop the radio first in Morgan's ownership. Tesla did that but buried it when he got excited about the free energy idea he was developing on the sly with JP Morgan's money. He thought Morgan would be more excited about the free energy than about some radio transmissions. When he approached Morgan, who had just bought up a lot of copper mines for the new market in copper wiring, Morgan had a fit and cut him off. He also blackballed him and told all his friends not to invest with Tesla anymore so Tesla saw all of his funding dry up. Marconi publicly displayed the radio first, and got all the credit, but Tesla fought in court and showed he had the first patent on it. It went to the Supreme Court before it was awarded to Tesla, but after Tesla had died. I graduated from Southern Illinois University -Edwardsville in the late 70s and was taught in my mass communications classes that Marconi invented the radio. That's how insidious Morgan's blackballing was. Other inventors and engineers at the time actually rewrote some textbooks and wrote Tesla out of them. This was revisionist history while Tesla was still alive. – Next our US government had a hand in making him seem like an eccentric oddity because he developed the technology for Star Wars defense and HAARP. They didn't want the Germans getting ahold of his technology – or anyone else. So when he died, they confiscated all of his notes, experiments and prototypes that they could find. Serbia claimed ownership and won and supposedly the US returned everything – but anyone who believes that is sleep walking! So next time you can't pay your electric bill, join me is spitting on the memory of JP Morgan. May he never rest in peace!

    August 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  58. BinaryTooth

    Obama needs to step in and regulate this debate!

    Obama 2012

    August 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  59. Will S

    They are both dead and no one posting here is even distantly related.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  60. tez07

    The Edison/Tesla debate is silly. They are both dead and don't care. Neither should you. If you want to honor either, take up the work and advance it, do not look backwards

    August 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  61. Colin

    Tesla understood the nature of electricity.
    Edison could not think like that, and it problably bothered him.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  62. lolol

    Goverment could promote the use of Tesla's inventions for their daily lives and also evergreen the planet, but no. we keep using the same gas devices and the government is taxing the living daylight out of us all for the corporations profits. (carbon credtis and all that crap)

    what a whole lot of BS this is. No wonder they killed him.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Peter

      nobody killed him. He was 90 when he died

      August 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
      • Tinfoil Hat

        Exactly... nobody expects the old guy was murdered (86, btw). "Let this be a lesson," said the Illuminati, "go against us, and we'll kill you shortly before you were going to die anyway!"

        August 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  63. James

    I admire both men for different reasons. Tesla was far more of a creative genius, but without those like Edison, a very many really cool inventions would have remained laboratory curiosities. Edison and Westinghouse both looked at the big picture, seeing the need for an entire system. A perfect lightbulb is useless without generators, distribution, switches, fuses, meters, etc.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  64. Peter

    Strange how all the trolls support Tesla and bash on Edison. Not one bad comment. Question is why? Maybe because Tesla resembles many of the trolls. Smart geeks that never got laid. Difference is that Tesla was a very good looking man, unlike most of the trolls He was 6'6 at his prime, very athletic. Why he chose to stay celibate, I don't know. Its like Newton. Maybe staying celibate allowed them to tap into the Universal knowledge. His pro Eugenics and anti-zionist ideas got him the bad press. His clash with Einstein didn't help either.

    August 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • kelly

      Trolls? Smart geeks? Good looking, & athletic? Celibacy? What in the world are you talking about? How about staying on topic.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  65. Teslafan

    Edison stole Nikola Tesla's ideas while Tesla worked for Edison. So yeah, I'm a fan of Tesla over Edison any day of the week. Edison didn't even invent the lightbulb, he just created a better working one.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  66. Andrew

    Edison was a weaselly poser who stole others' ideas. He was the MBA of science.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  67. dm21865

    Listening to Tesla fans complain about Edison is becoming like listening to Redditors complain about Nickelback.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • snorpthus

      A nice, beginner's stab at humor, but an overall fail.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  68. Kris Kosach

    Totally agree! Tesla never got his due.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  69. Don't Mix Apples & Oranges

    Edison was a great inventor. Maxwell and Farraday were incredible scientists who helped shape theory and the mathematical foundations that laid the groundwork for many others. Westinghouse was brilliant when it came to commercialization. Tesla was a rare breed: an eccentric genius & physicist who was also able to visualize how his technologies could be deployed. Westinghouse recognized those talents in Tesla. But to compare and/or lump all of the names in the comments here together is nothing more than comparing apples to oranges, my friends. Every man named was a genius in his own right.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  70. marsmotel

    Tesla invented wireless technology before any inventor could even fathom the idea of electronic currents running without a wire. He would have changed everything.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  71. Raja Gopalan

    Tesla was brilliant and so was Edison. In addition, they were one of many great inventors at that time, including James Clerk Maxwell, David Edward Hughes, Heinrich Hertz and Jagadish Chandra Bose. Of these, Edison was the only one who gained commercial success from his patents but the world owes its progress to many brilliant minds of the late 19th/early 20th century, including another little-known scientist named Albert Einstein.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  72. S. Bernal

    My friends, you're all wrong abut calling Tesla a great physicist that introduced new principles or theories on electricity and magnetism. Two or three names come to mind about who revolutionised the understanding (not application) of electricity and magnetism: James Clerk Maxwell (on par with Newton and Einstein), Michael Faraday (considered the greatest experimental physicist who ever lived) and Joseph Henry (an American almost on par with Faraday). Tesla was really a genius inventor, superior to Edison. Tesla was nominated for the physics Nobel prize in once but declined because he would have to share it with Marconi, an opportunistic who was given the credit, wrongly, for wireless communication.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  73. The TRUTH!!!

    Tesla was the real genius!!!! Edison was MORE of a BUSINESSMAN!!! He love money... But dont we all ;)

    August 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  74. Propervillain

    Edison was nothing more than a ruthless business man who would have been nowhere without Tesla. Tesla was a true genius. Edison was a bully and bull$#itter. As far as I am concerned his "contribution" should be downplayed in the history books to reflect reality and Tesla's contributions should be highlighted.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  75. craigm

    Edison gave us a some wonderful devices that were very useful for most of the 20th Century.
    Tesla gave us the modern world.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  76. kelly

    History Channel – Modern Marvels – Tesla. You can watch it anytime, just do a search for it. I'm not a historian, so I can't speak to the facts, but based on the video and other historical articles I've read, Tesla > > > Edison. Tesla was simply an amazing person, with or without the science.

    And I saw someone say Edison was the better business person. No doubt about that. However, is there really a comparison here? You can't compare someone like Edison to a person who wanted to provide free energy for everyone. Tesla didn't see the business side. He wasn't worried about sales; breaking agreements, cheating, and stealing from people; patents; or any of the other things associated with being a "business" person. He was only concerned with the science, and helping people and the world.

    No. No "cult hero" here. Only an amazing person, with an amazing mind. Anyone calling him a cult hero needs to educate themselves.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • meemee

      I have a friend that I made while living in the Balkans (Tesla was a Serb who came to the U.S. to work for Edison). We had a series of "arguments" over this issue, which caused me to dig further into the story. It is a myth that Tesla wasn't interested in money, but it is true that he was a terrible businessman. One of the issues my friend raised was that Edison owed Tesla $50,000.00 because of a comment he made to Tesla when he proposed to solve one of their engineering problems (forget which) and then did. Edison had said, "If you can do that, I'll pay you $50,000.00. Tesla then complained that he was owed $50,000.00. Edison explained later that what Tesla couldn't understand was that this amount would have been more than the value then of his entire business and the comment was a joke that Tesla took serious and then expected to collect on. Tesla had ideas and made attempts to do things that modern physics has shown to be impossible, at least in this dimension. This gained him the "mad scientist" moniker that was seized upon by Hollywood film makers when they for example made the original "Frankenstein" movie, with Tesla Coils showering sparks all around while he created life from the dead. But Edison later admitted that he should have valued Tesla more and carried some guilt over having not treated him as well as he deserved.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
      • kelly

        I'm not saying Tesla didn't value money. Creating your own inventions costs money. And the situation you mention about Edison owing money to Tesla is discussed in that show I referenced. From what I remember, Edison later said something like, "you don't understand American humor".

        August 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
      • bigubu

        Joke or not, here is a little law for you. I walk into a room with 200 people in ity and I announce that I will give $10,000.00 to the first person that goes outside and climbs the tree in the front yard. I have taken the first step in the creation of a unilateral contract. Next a person goes out front and climbs the tree in the front yard. My offer has now been accepted and with the climbing of the tree I now owe that person $10,000.00. this is the law of unilateral contracts. Edison made the offer and Tesla accepted and completed the contract. Edison owes Tesla $50K. Watch what you say as you could find yourself owning something that you cannot afford. By the way, it does not matter if the person making the offer was making a joke if the person who performs the task reasonably believed or could have believed that the offer was serious.

        August 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • owleyes11

      We are comparing apples and oranges. Each is a genius in his own way and deserves whatever praise due him. My favorite genius is Steinmetz who was valued so much by GE that he was provided a house on company property and had a few perks like smoking on site where smoking is prohibited.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  77. Michael Vick

    Most of Tesla's inventions were out of this world and decades/centuries ahead of its time. For example, Tesla discovered that space and time can be breached with high voltage electricity and magnetic fields. One of his paper was about time machine, which lead to Philadelphia experiment. You can google and find out more about Tesla. But my point is, Edison has nothing that comes even close. Edison was a good businessman, whereas Tesla was clearly not. It just shows you that being genius is not quite enough.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Daremonai

      That highlights one of the problems with the Tesla legacy. Esp near the end he was coming up with a good deal of crazy things.. some that were technically physically possible but impractical (broadcast power and the death ray were examples.. the engineering is likely to never work) while other stuff (force fields to protect nations, time machines, hyperdrives) were just out there. He lost his grip on reality and that discredited him to many.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • SouthernCelt

      Do you confuse Movies with reality often? The" Philadelphia Experiment" was just a movie. It never happened. Power distribution was just one of Edison's theories. Several of his almost 1100 U.S. Patents are still in use. As for DC Power. anyone that uses a Cell Phone, laptop computer, or starts car still uses it. Electric Cars depend on it. It all started with Edison as did recorded music, the first practical light bulb, the stock ticker, and others too numerous to list without wasting bandwidth.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  78. Meriska

    Tesla > Edison.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
  79. Dhulfiqar

    Tesla gives me goosebumps ... Edison, not so much. Can I be part of the cult now?

    August 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    Tesla hurt his credibility when he mentioned his communications with the planet Mars. Anyone today would lose all credibility for making similar statements. Humans need to believe they are at the top of the food chain concerning intelligent beings in the Universe. Silly humans that we are. LOL

    August 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  81. crankovic

    Tesla was Serbian, not American-born. That's why he isn't mentioned on schools. All the Serbians know about Tesla.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Fulgerio15

      Einstein was born in Germany.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
      • TomG

        When Tesla immigrated, southeren/eastern Europeans were considered the bottom of the barrel in terms of immigrants. That was NOT the case with Germans. While there was plenty of hostility against Germans and German-Americans from WW1 on, they were not considered "racially inferior" as were the Serbs, Hungarians, Italians, etc. in the rhetoric of the day.

        August 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
      • Daremonai

        Not the same. Being German was similar to being English.. technically an immigrant but they were so familiar and so integrated that they were treated pretty much as natives.

        Serbia was still considered 'those people'.

        August 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Observer

      Crankovic, you got it very, very right. Not every one will see it that way. That's the hypocrisy of the World we live in today!

      August 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
      • meemee

        No, it's regionalism. I lived in the Balkans for a few years and there, the average person believes that they invented EVERYTHING (nearly) of use in the world, including the light bulb, which was clearly Edison's. They have a heavy nationalistic tendency in this way, much stronger than our own. Tesla is on their currency, Tesla is a national hero in Serbia and even former Yugoslav nations today (to a lesser degree). Just note the number of absolute comments from people with the telltale surnames. It is difficult to discuss him objectively there or anywhere with a typical Serb or "Yugoslav."

        August 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  82. Casey

    FYI, Tesla worked with George Westinghouse. Westinghouse Power Generation was purchased by Siemens.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  83. FLBoy

    Tesla was an idealist and visionary. Edison was a pragmatist. Both were responsible for great advances. Their rivalry even shows up significantly in the new book Olivia Brophie and the Pearl of Tagelus.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  84. Fulgerio15

    I still find it amazing that in middle school all we heard about was Edison and it was not till many years later that Tesla was brought up. Tesla was a genius and deserves way more respect than he is given in the school system.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • geeeno

      don't forget that tesla also invented radio, not marconi. the us patent office ruled that tesla invented it first after reviewing their submitted patent applications. another example of tesla's feeble public relations?

      August 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  85. freeyourchains

    The Truth lays hidden in the People's Comments. Not the Media's and their governed Editors. Not in the Government's Lies. Keep up the Good research freedom writer's!

    August 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  86. freeyourchains

    Tesla even experimented with his AC Car Engine, then needed not a drop of fuel and only an Antenae Black Box for Power. It was a success, witnessed, and drove from Pittsburgh to Niagra Falls, From Westinghouse's home to Westinghouse's Hydroelectric dam. High Frequency Wireless Power via Telegeodynamic propagation right to his own AC engine in the car. Many Gas Giants feared his world changing technologies and Science, because it would put them all out of business when intended for the People and not for Profit.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • meemee

      Are you suggesting that this energy and the equipment, car would have been free? Or are you saying that Tesla was a philanthropist? He certainly wasn't. He left Edison over a claim that Edison owed him $50,000.00 that Edison had joked about , not knowing the value of the amount, which was more than Edison's entire company at the time.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • TAE

      More nonsense and BS from the Tesla-cult.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  87. dakota2000

    Classic Tesla:

    Edison: "Genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration"

    I think Tesla's response was something like: "If you thought more, you would sweat less"

    August 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  88. Jayleigh

    Not here to knock Edison.

    Tesla is not just some cult hero. He was genius; beyond human excellence. The world is better because of him. I am an electrical engineer educated to a Post Graduate School level, yet I might as well be a monkey in comparison. It's guys like him that should be held up as what we can be. Instead our kids grow up wanting to be Hannah Montana and lady Gaga.

    As others have said, he tried to use his abilities for people and not money. The opposite of most people.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Zarko D

      The world loves to read CNN when people write the truth, and the best news spread quickly and in the right and positive direction! Locks for the greatest hero, the greatest talent and genius Nikola Tesla GREAT!

      August 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  89. Fulgerio15

    The Band Tesla got it right – "Edison's Medicine"

    You're guilty of crime in the first degree,
    Second and third as well.
    My jury finds you'll be serving your time
    When you go straight to hell.

    'Cause he was Lord of the Lightning,
    Though "socially fright'ning",
    But never out to sell.

    Their nickels and pence
    Meant more than did sense,
    And not the sensible thing.

    Nor did the man outta time, man outta time.
    Thought you was crazy. You was one of a kind.
    Man outta time, man outta time.
    All along, world was wrong. You was right.

    All that he saw, all he conceived,
    They just could not believe.
    Steinmetz and Twain were friends that remained,
    Along with number three.
    He was electromagnetic, completely kinetic,
    "New Wizard of the West."
    But they swindled and whined that he wasn't our kind,
    And said Edison knew best.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Aaron

      Rockin' reference! Tesla was brilliant. So was Edison, and I agree with some of the comments that Edison ultimately was the better salesman, not a better scientist than Tesla. The influence they both have contributed to science is undeniable, and I respect Tesla every time I use a cell phone that can access the Internet and make phone calls through invisible spectrum. As a society when we encounter disruptions in signal or a dead battery we tend to take for granted the fact that this technology may not exist if not for one scientist's vision over a century ago.

      August 22, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  90. snart

    Edison did nothing! He employed and exploited a bunch of underpaid engineers and scientists and took credit for their inventions. He was the Steve Jobs of his day!

    On the other hand Tesla was a true genius. His kind only seems to come around once in a century, and to think that he and Einstein were contemporaries!

    August 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • TAE

      Spoken like a dimwitted socialist.

      You probably can't even see the irony that you're typing that nonsense on a computer that wouldn't exist if it wasn't for Steve Jobs and other businessmen.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
      • Old Warrior

        Is that all you got mister troll?

        August 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  91. GreatEagle01

    Tesla = Steve Jobs; Thomas Edison = Bill Gates

    August 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Fulgerio15

      Wrong, Tesla = Steve Wozniak

      August 22, 2012 at 11:52 am |
      • Aaron


        August 22, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Jayleigh

      Both dumb monkey's compared to Tesla. Both more in line with Edison.

      August 22, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Lee s

      would someone smack him. Jobs died with billions of dollars piggybacking on the advancements made by Samsung and other hardware developers. Every i device sold pays a fee to these companies, why do you think they are so expensive? Not taking anything away from the guy, but to compare him to Tesla? You need to read more a bout Tesla.

      August 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  92. scott

    The fact that Edison fired Tesla, failed to credit Tesla for work performed at his laboratory and stiffed him for back wages – speaks volumes about Edison.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  93. freeyourchains

    Find more Information on Nichola Tesla by typing his name into Google Books. No purchase necessary!
    Especially be amazed at the Book: Tesla: Man Out of Time.

    After reading, those Red Sprites of Electrical Charge seen in our Upper Atmosphere from Space(see articles), may have been the Red Fireballs he could create in his E-fielded Laboratory! Witnessed by Mark Twain himself.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  94. Aaron

    Tesla was a mad scientist. My kind of guy. Edison was crap!!!

    August 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • freeyourchains

      I agree, I mean who would be Mad enough to demonstrate 2 Million Volts at Highest of High Frequencies of AC current to his fellow peers!. A genius of an experimentor and scientist whom learnt from Observation and Theory. I am sure most scientists wouldn't try it even today. Though to get that Electrifying Silhouette around you body would be an amazing Youtube Video Today right? Time to modernize, and viral videoize his old experiments!

      August 22, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  95. justagirlsd

    After watching Tesla is my new hero

    August 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  96. freeyourchains

    The new American History Musuem in Washington DC, HAS NO MENTION OF NICHOLA TESLA! Though he has over 165+ Patents and was even the Founder of AC current, that is used in every American Household! As a fellow Electrical Engineer, this is outrageous!

    I wrote some nasty letters to the Musuem. Shame on Them and the Federal Government Agents! I recommend you do too, and mention this Cover up when you are visiting! They even have a Tesla Coil, cleveraly "presented" by Westinghouse Co. With it's description never mentioning Tesla.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Shame shame

      Tesla had enough good ideas that there should be a museum dedicated just to him. He demonstrated a working radio controlled boat in 1898. Remember that working vacuum tubes were not invented until 1907.

      August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  97. Pete

    We're all great apes sitting on a rock in space arguing about who was better than whom.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • freeyourchains

      Why is the universe Expanding if it has no purpose?

      August 22, 2012 at 11:43 am |
      • wrabbit99

        It isn't.. only our perception of it is.

        August 22, 2012 at 11:54 am |
      • freeyourchains

        Then it's my Perception that Light bends around Matter and it's Gravity, and that Matter,Gravity, Light, and Time are being pushed away from a spot in space by some mysterious Ether or Force.

        August 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  98. bobster26


    August 22, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  99. Jay

    No one has even mentioned the fact that Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant in Niagara Falls and started the electrification of the world. All of southern Ontario calls electricity 'Hydro'. Incorrectly I might add because Hydro means water. There is an electrical surplus here that is regularly sold to North Western New York and during times of shortages foolishly bought back but in the end there are millions of people today who have electricity due in part to Nikola Tesla's genius! That man tamed Niagara Falls and in 1895 no less! More than 100 years ago. Nikola Tesla knew things about electricity that modern day electrical engineers only dream of re-discovering.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  100. Laurie

    Thomas Edison was an inventor. Tesla was a discoverer of scientific principles. According to Tesla, a discoverer is a pioneer who opens up new fields of knowledge into which thousands of inventors flock to make a commercial application of the newly revealed information. For this reason, he refused the Nobel Prize awarded also to Edison. Edison ripped Tesla off as his employee, electrocuted an elephant in New York City to show the dangers of AC current, lost to Telsa in powering up NYC via Naigra Falls, etc. To this day, Tesla still beats him with the more, energy efficient light bulb.

    Tesla was a supreme genius on the level of Einstein if not higher. Tesla's mind worked liked the final draft of a CAD image. He visualized in 3D and never had to calculate his math on paper. His prototype construction just flowed out as easily as hitting a "print" button on a computer. He produced 100's of patents of which some are still classified today. He envisioned and contributed to a wireless system of communication, climate control, radio telegraphy and even ITunes, and so much, much more. As late as 2008 and maybe even in 2012, atom smashing scientists struggled to produce currents with a potential of 5,000,000 volts while Tesla over 60 years ago produced potentials of 135,000,000 volts.

    Tesla was never after money. He tore up a contract with Westinghouse worth $12,000,000 in royalties so that the common man could have electricity in his home. His singular purpose for unlocking the secret lcking colckindgreat love for science and humanity combined with his out-of-this world intellectual gifts put him light years beyond any scientist of his time and our present time. The world cannot thank Tesla enough.

    August 22, 2012 at 1:48 am |
    • Wineguy999

      Well said! Thomas Edison was more business man than inventor. Tesla was more genius than business man.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • Electronic Engineer Guy

      Tesla was an inventor as well as a mathematician and physicist. He discovered many scientific principles associated with electricity, magnetism, radiation and radio waves among other things. But all of his discoveries he quickly turned into working devices. Tesla was using radio waves to remote control devices long before Marconi filed for his patents. The patents have since run out and are currently without any monetary value, but back in the 80s the patent office transferred the original patents for radio from Marconi to Tesla.

      I don't think we will ever really understand the kind of impact actually Tesla had on the world or how much impact he could have had if he were a better business man or was surrounded by people who were supportive rather than opposing what he tried to accomplish. Transistors at the turn of century rather than 1940s? ICs around 1920 rather than in the 60s? Who knows?

      August 22, 2012 at 10:59 am |
      • Radio controlled boat in 1897

        This was almost ten years before vacuum tubes were invented, and Tesla builds a radio controlled boat?? The same year he invented an 'electric ignitor' for engines, also known as the spark plug. He figured out the resonant frequency of the Earth, and scientists were only able to verify that he was right in 1950.

        If Tesla had a loyal business partner, it would have changed world history. Sadly he never married.

        August 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm |

      And yet for all of Tesla's genius, it is Edison who took the theory and made it a reality. Who do you remember more? The thinker or the doer... The one who makes things happen or the one who writes about it. History has decided for us. lol...

      August 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
      • Alan

        That's exactly the problem with this world: not enough people think, and we certainly don't prize the ones that do.

        August 22, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
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