December 22, 2021

IP Goes Pop! Season 2, Ep #4: Edison v. Tesla- A Shocking History

This week on IP Goes Pop! fellow Volpe Koenig Shareholder Wesley McMichael joins Michael Snyder to talk about inventors Thomas Edison’s and Nikola Tesla’s “battle of the currents.”

Michael and Wes have an electric conversation about the race to light up the country and the patents that paved the way for providing power. They explore the difference between the direct current (DC) championed, sometimes to a shocking extreme, by Edison, and alternating current (AC) advocated for by Tesla.

This episode kicks off with a discussion of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratory and his “Electric Lamp” patent that helped him rise to prominence. From there, the conversation turns to Edison’s former employee and sometimes adversary, Nikola Tesla. Learn how disputes between Tesla and Edison prompted Tesla to leave Edison’s employ, setting the stage for the “battle of the currents.” Also in this episode, you may find a few movies to add to your watch list as Michael and Wes talk about how public interest in this iconic battle has sparked the creation of several popular movies in recent years.

The conversation concludes with a dive into Edison’s attempts to shock the world with dazzling displays of the “dangers” of AC compared to DC. However, despite Edison’s best efforts to discredit AC, contributions made by George Westinghouse who allied himself with Tesla helped turn the tide of the current wars.

In this Episode:

  • Edison and Tesla Background
    • Edison’s Electric Lamp
    • Tesla Dynamo Electric Machine
  • Movies Inspired by The Battle of The Currents:
    • The Current War (2017)
    • Tesla (2020)
    • The Prestige (2006) non-historical
  • The Battle to Control Electrical Current Delivery
    • Alternating Current (AC) vs. Direct Current (DC)
    • George Westinghouse
    • Topsy the Elephant
    • Merger into General Electric
  • Tesla’s Foray into Wireless Transmission


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