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Tesla and Alternating Current - Term Paper Example

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Tesla and Alternating Current

Nikola Tesla arrived in the United States in 1884 as a great admirer of Thomas Edison and eventually found employment to redesign dynamos intended to generate direct current electricity for Edison's company. Very early on, however, Tesla became convinced that alternating current was superior to the means that Edison was spending his time trying to perfect. Edison's response was that Tesla was wasting his time and talent because he considered alternating current to be far too dangerous for public consumption, especially in comparison to direct current. Edison tried to convince Tesla that the danger inherent in alternating current had to do with the potential for high voltage wires to come loose and act almost as a lightning strike, killing a person on impact.
After spending several months working long hours for Edison, Tesla eventually made the decision to strike out on his own in search of financial backing to continue developing alternating current. ...
The primary backer of Tesla was George Westinghouse. Westinghouse was fascinating with Tesla's ideas and even more fascinated with the idea of actually buying exclusive rights to Tesla's patents. With one million of Westinghouse's dollars pumped into his research, Tesla was ready to reveal the potential of alternating current. The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 gave Tesla his opportunity to prove to the world the superiority of his theories. Every single exhibit using electricity on display at the World's Fair was generated with alternating current.
The path to Tesla's revelation of how much better alternating current was than direct current was not easy since Thomas Edison put was willing to put 98% of his perspiration not into any aspiration to improve direct current but rather into inhumane experiments designed to frighten the public away from Tesla's work. Edison's attempts to discredit the validity of alternating current included the public execution of a variety of elephants (Silverberg 239). Despite repeated attempts by Edison to convince the public that alternating current was dangerous, it was the fact that Tesla was right and Edison was wrong about the superiority of alternating current over direct current that allowed Tesla to pull off that rarest of accomplishments: besting Thomas Edison.
The real turning point in the war of the currents took place at the honeymoon capital of America, Niagara Falls. Using Tesla's alternating current system, Westinghouse was awarded the contrast to generate power at Niagara Falls. Tesla faced considered opposition and doubt as to his system's ability to generate the amount of ...Show more

Summary

Although given credit for a number of inventions, Thomas Edison's actual hand in developing many of those that bear his name is questionable at best. Certainly, William Dickson should be considered the inventor of the movie camera rather than Edison. The role that his assistant played in harnessing direct current may never be known, but what is beyond question is Edison's attempt to prove that the superior alternating current was too dangerous to be trusted…
Author : smithfilomena
Tesla and Alternating Current essay example
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