The rivalry between George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla is a remarkable story of ambition, invention, and innovation. During the War of Currents in the late 1800s, Edison championed direct current (DC) as the standard for electricity distribution while Westinghouse and Tesla advocated for alternating current (AC). Despite being the dominant power source at the time due to its compatibility with incandescent lamps and motors, DC had several limitations. With his understanding of rotary magnetic fields, Tesla devised a system of AC generation that was more efficient than DC. He partnered up with Westinghouse to develop AC transformers from Lucien Gaulard and John Dixon Gibbs’ patents.
The clash between Edison and Tesla went beyond scientific debate; it included personal animosity stemming from Edison’s refusal to pay Tesla for his electrical engineering work. Consequently, Tesla left Edison’s employ and continued to pursue his vision of bringing AC into widespread use. In addition to having more technical advantages than DC—such as practical AC motors by 1882—AC could also be used with storage batteries for load-leveling during generator interruptions and powered by smaller machines in times of light load. Eventually, the superiority of AC over DC was proven through further experimentation leading to it becoming the main form of electricity transmission today.
This incredible moment in history has been documented in films such as The Current War where Benedict Cumberbatch plays Thomas Edison in a dramatic retelling of events. This riveting account provides an intimate look at the fight for electric power dominance that shaped our modern world. It allows viewers to immerse themselves into this epic struggle while gaining insight into how far we’ve come since then. So if you’re looking for a captivating watch about one of history’s most memorable rivalries then The Current War is sure not to disappoint.