Nikola Tesla and the Start of the Alternating Current

Drawing of Nikola Tesla

Everyone has heard of Thomas Edison and his incandescent light bulb, and everyone that loves indoor lighting is grateful to him, but how many people know about the real father of electricity, Nikola Tesla? Odds are you have heard the name but have no real idea what he did. Tesla was the father of modern electricity and the alternating current electricity supply system, a system that is still very popular.

The birth of the alternating current

His initial design for the alternating current was bought and licensed by George Westinghouse. You have probably heard of Westinghouse, as it is still a highly popular brand. His work was involved in the famous alternating versus direct current war that he fought with Thomas Edison. Tesla was also prominent for his inventions in the world of wireless lighting, and his famous Tesla coil is still widely sought after and widely reproduced to teach people about the power of electricity. During his early years, Tesla worked for Thomas Edison at Edison Machine Works. Rumor has it that he was fired because he said he could improve on the design of Edison’s motor and generators. Edison famously remarked that he would give Tesla $50,000 if he could do it. Tesla took up the challenge and succeeded, but instead of keeping his word, Edison offered Tesla a $10 a week raise, which Tesla refused. Tesla immediately resigned.

Tesla versus Edison

Tesla then went to work with Robert Lane and Benjamin Vale, who helped finance the Tesla Electric Lighting and Manufacturing Company, which installed arch light illumination systems designed by the man himself. The war of the currents had to do directly with Edison and Tesla and their dislike of one another. Tesla argued that an alternating current was not only safer but also more efficient while Edison argued otherwise. Eventually, Edison Machine Works started developing its own alternating current system. Not only did Tesla do wonders for the world of electricity, he also pioneered the x-rays that we commonly use today. Tesla was seen as something of a mad scientist, but that may have worked in his favor. He was not worried about what people thought of him, and he made great leaps and bounds for the world of energy and electricity.

Join the future of energy

It's pretty incredible to look back and see how far our energy world has come in 100 years. Where will we be 100 years from now? One of the ways to join the future of energy is by exercising your power to choose your energy supplier.

Learn more about energy history