« Stuff You Missed in History Class

Nikola Tesla and the War of Currents Revisited: Part 2

2013-02-06 | 🔗

By 1887, Nikola Tesla secured seven patents for components of his alternating current system. In 1888, George Westinghouse offered to hire Tesla to develop the AC system, and that's when the Current War really got underway.

Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Loser episode is brought to you by Maloney cookies work. Sometimes that longs in yoga classes just now in the cards, so maybe a cookie is peppered farm. Olano believes you should make some time for yourself once in a while. I know I have a particular space in my sewing room that I like to just take a few minutes. Every day I sit there. I think about things, it's kind of like meditation and munching at the same time being it that yummy beautiful cookie flavour, it makes it luxurious and delightful. Always feel recharge. Mulatto cookies are truly a treat worthy of your me time, their delicate and crispy, with luxuriously rich chocolate in the middle. You really want to keep these just for you so number, two save something for yourself with peppered farm Olano,. The only way is through a new podcast in partnership with radio under players, coaches these will share intimate a personal stories of performance at the highest level,
Canadian have sadly Georgia, and the reason I want is because, on the day I was confident and need to continue that mentality to understand. I can be an olympic. I think I can compete with the best in the world and just perform. Into the only way is through available. Now on the already aware of you, your pockets to stuff you missed in history class from Housetop looks like. allow me to welcome to the high costs I'm doing a jerk aborting carried out and we're picking back up here again with our discussion of one of our most requested subjects. Nikola Tesla
an engineer and an inventor teslas, perhaps best known for creating a system for delivering electricity using alternating current, a method that is still used today, and we talked a little bit about the difference between alternating current and direct current and their advantages and disadvantages in part. One of this pod cast and test was preferred. Alternating current was capable of distributing electricity across a greater distances.
On direct current, and he believed that it has the potential to be used for more than just lighting, but he had some trouble getting support, both financial and otherwise for his ideas, at least at first and so in the last of third, we talked about how he came to America, how he approached at a thin armed with a recommendation letter from his old boss, Charles Bachelor. The letter just said quote my dear Edison. I knew too great man and you are one of them. The other is this young man, the pretty great recommendation of, even though Edison, who is a firm believer that direct current was not the way to go shot halfway down on his alternating current ideas on that he must have agree with bachelor's assessment to some degree, because he did hired has led to work for his power company. When we left off with a story, though, Tesla had quit working for Edison after just a few months because of their personal differences and a little disagreement over money. Tesla wanted to strike out on his own at this
develop his own ideas, but when we saw him last, his first attempt to do so. Hadn't worked out so well and he was stuck doing manual labor to survive so test one may have been down in dumps, but he stuck fast to his ideas about alternating current and kept on trying to get financial backing to make them a reality, and in eighteen eighty seven he did manage to attract the attention of to investors, Alfred Brown of the Western Union Company and Charles Pack, who was an attorney, but according to that american Heritage, article by Bernard Karlsson, that we mentioned in the last part cast all Tesla had to show them initially. Was this really crude version of the motor he divined back when he was in Europe and is basically a shoe polish ten that, with spin around in a big donut shaped coil
brown and pack. They come and look at this creation of a toothless, and they were kind of sceptical of the whole thing. Ass, though, to make believers of Thou Tesla devised a little electrical spectacle, which was based on an old legend about Christopher Columbus, so is the story. Goes Columbus got Queen Isabella to finance journey by challenging members of report to balance and egg on one end and of course several people tried and they couldn't do it so there Colombia stepped up, and he made the egg stand out by gently cracking the show on one end. Queen is I was so impressed by his resourceful solution that she gave him the funds that he needed. So Tesla asked Brown and pack who knew of the sledge and he said
If I can make an egg stand on end without Cracky Michel, will you support these experiments again? According to Carlson's, article pack basically said yeah? We might. We might help you to some extent. We might help you a little bit if that were to happen. So Tesla came back with a copper pleaded egg and his donor coil attached to the underside of a wooden table wines applied alternating current to that coil. The egg not only stood on end, but it started spinning. Then it flipped up and sort of rotating. On its axis, I mean it looks like a magic trick so better than
who polish tat right much better than a shoe polish ten and brown and Peck were so impressed that they agreed to back as work, though, with their help. Tattler was able to set up a laboratory in lower Manhattan and perfect all the components of his alternating current system. In that same year, he built a prototype for his typhus induction motor and the problem with alternating current systems before they had, then that there was not really a workable motor that alternating current could power, though tussles motor solved. That issue at least and then again with the help of pack and brown in late eighteen. Eighty seven he was able to secure seven more upon for a complete alternating current system based on this induction motor, including patents for generators, transformers transmission lines and lighting, though he had the whole that final
There was still that little detail of getting these breakthrough ideas introduce commercially, though I mean you have the technology great. You have the patents that's great, but how are you gonna actually make money off of it, so that process started to take off the next year after Tesla demonstrated his alternating current motor at the meeting of the American Institute of Electrical engineers and not demonstration caught the eye of George Westinghouse Westinghouse, his company, which was based in Pittsburgh, had successfully develop some safety components for rail transportation, including air break, and by eighteen, eighty, eight or so he'd become interested in getting in on the electricity transmission game. According to the art, by Ronald Bailey in american history, which we reference to the last podcast Watson,
else had already set up a limited, alternating current system, but it was confined to Downtown Buffalo New York and he was attracted to that potential of technical assistance to distribute power over longer distances fell, Westinghouse made a move. He offered to bite, have with patents and again pack and brown help Tesla negotiate the steel and the deal is slightly different depending on what source you look out, but it basically amounted to Westinghouse paying about fifty thousand seventy thousand dollars and anywhere from five thousand to twenty thousand dollars. If that was paid in cash, he also agreed to pay. It has led to always in fifty seventh and royalties for each horse power of developed electrical capacity, though according to Billy's, article Westinghouse also agree to a minimum of thirty thousand in Roy
He is to be paid over the next three years than according to PBS dot. Org tough. I got one hundred fifty shares of Westinghouse Stock in the deal, so there was a lot covering. I don't know, depending on how successful the implementation of the ideas was, how much tougher would benefit from that? One deal was done. Tussle went off to work as a Westinghouse consultant and help develop the alternating current system, commercial use are not only did he get some money out of the deal and potential for more money, but he also got to still work with his invention. Westinghouse engineers, though, just as an aside all side note here, they didn't really love working with Tesla, though he he didn't make real blueprints. He just had these sketches that he made in a tiny note book and they were really hard to follow and Tesla himself said well, I can just give you the measured hence, and they will be exactly
You need to go there s about. As you might imagine, these engineers surround joy. Runway yeah, I mean, interestingly off so Tesla had always said that he just created this induction motor from like, as he had envisioned it in Europe before he came to. America is exactly how he built it like he didn't developing. You might have. This going through like many revisions of any changes that have a prototype for some vs, exactly that he said that he just made ass soon ass. He saw it in his mind. He knew that that was like composers who say that they just heard it in their head and write it down exactly. He claimed that exactly as you saw, it is how he built it, and it was meant work, but these engineers they also disagreed with Tesla over what the motors frequency should be, that test the one out with the sixty cycles per second, so Tesla have the final say in that regard, but this was where the full on current war really started to take off. Now is a battle between Westinghouse, alternating, current and Addison.
direct current and what was really at stake here was whose system was gonna, become standard and fuel. The development of electricity Future yard were jobs more fun and if they are, then I will assign you to return here. Would Michelob Walter, I'm looking for anyone and everyone who makes working out a blast. That's you! It's a team altered outcome for transport, awesome perks, like team altogether and more that's team alter at that time to enter nobody's nursery opening its residents twenty one plus, if it'll routine altered, I can listen to deal with unemployment insurance, possibly atypical abortion like using Louis Missouri. Support for this podcast comes from pico. pico is helping homes and businesses save money with energy, efficient, LAPD's Ellie, these last up to fifteen times longer than traditional bulbs, Andy's up eighty five per cent less energy, so they're good for your pocketbook and the environment Ellie he's coming all shapes and sizes and are available
in a variety of light, temperatures it's warm lighting for living rooms, dining room and bedrooms or bright call, waiting for catches and bathrooms. There's an elite every socket and for businesses These can help you manage energy costs, improve your bottom line and reduce maintenance swap out oh bulbs for energy saving Ladys and get instant savings as a pico customer stock up, while discounts and incentives last for
phone. How you can start saving today is a pico dot com, slash a lady Edison though, of course had a bit of an edge going, and since he already had about one hundred, twenty five power stations in operation compared to Westinghouse is ninety eight stations. But, as we ve mentioned a few times tackles alternating current system showed more promise for carrying electricity over long distances, whereas Edison Strike current had a range of only about a miles like it within him. More limited application, also alternating current with a lot cheaper, because direct current require the use of these expensive. Copper wire is an alternating, her systems used, copper as well, but only about a third of the amount that direct current used. So it looks like Westinghouse. An alternating current might provide some serious competition for Edison and Edison stepped up his game at that point. By starting a propaganda campaign against alternating current, he focused in this campaign on his own belief that alternate
was unsafe, so he started to spread around the idea that alternating current and its high voltages could actually kill you. The most direct current could do I was just give you a little shock, Edison even hired a professor named here brown to go around and lecture on the dangers of alternating current in these talks included things like public electrocution of animals, including dogs, cats, horses and cows. Edison even had an elephant named Topsy. Electrocuted wants to previous point.
we ve had a tragic ran for elephant from a pancake between listen peaty bar none, but Edison made his biggest point August. Sixth, eighteen. Ninety, when Brown helped New York's Auburn State prison perform the first execution by electric chair and according to PBS Brown, had obtained Westinghouse technology illegally. To build the chair mean you can imagine, Westinghouse would not have wanted. His work associated with that of the man who was executed was the convicted murderers. William, come where his death was described as close, an awful spectacle worse hanging and thereafter electrocution was known as Westinghouse, really bad p r for alternating current, despite these nets
situations, though team Westinghouse Intestinal, started to come up with some when they were packed to eliminate the eighteen, ninety three Chicago worlds, fair for example, which was also, of course known as the colombian exposition of thing. We discussed a little in the exact homes blacker indeed, and in if you we'll pick up Eric Larceny Book Devil in the white city. You'll learn a little bit more about Peniston. Things were about to talk about, but this was the first all electrical, it's fair in history and Westinghouse. His bed ended up winning out here, just because it was so much cheaper was about half as much as the competition and an baileys article. He talks about how the fair became this grand showcase for alternating current, electricity in general. So it turned out to be a really good when for them and testing some lit up something like one hundred and eighty five, involves- and it was used power? A lot of exhibits in there was even a great hall of Light, Christy, where his system was displayed
Tesla was even on display to some degree he did a demonstration in which he has two hundred thousand volts through his body, while in cork sold shoes for protection for don't get too worried that he sent these votes. There is body to prove basically, the alternating current was indeed safe, and I can see how that would be more compelling combined with this glowing white. Fifty two then thing an elephant electrocuted or somebody put no electric chair, Fliddy surviving less than that
straining. It really is okay, if its handled properly yeah, if you're willing to do it on yourself- and you must have some faith in it. But after the fair, according to PBS quote, eighty percent of all the electrical devices ordered in the United States were four or alternating current, and this, of course, that the stage for another big win in the current war, which was a contract with the Niagara, Falls Commission and admission, wanted the Westinghouse Company to use alternating current to harness the power of the falls to generate electricity, and this is the realisation of a long time dream for tough laws we mentioned in part one. He had started dreaming about converting the power of water to electricity when he was only about five years old and he had specifically
about Niagara falls at some point, and it did take several years to get the project completed, which was a situation that made investors pretty nervous, but on the night of November, sixteenth, eighteen, ninety six, they fled to switch and by midnight Thee Niagara systems where providing power to the city of Buffalo, which was twenty six miles away. The Buffalo Inquirer wrote quote it was the journey of God's only mean to the employ of man. In a few years there were ten enormous generators at Niagara falls and according to bear, article twenty percent of all the electricity in the United States came from their, including all the power that lit up New York city. in Broadway and all of that and you, Edison Systems, converted to alternating current after that, so it that about face on Edison's pirate seemed that Tesla and Westinghouse had won the war of the current, but the inventor had made some thing.
the current factor, faces along the way to, though, and during the financial panic of the eighteen nineties. Westinghouse Edison's company were both in trouble and on top of seeing the money making potential Hydro electric power, some Wall Street forces like J P. More again, he spent popping up in Pakistan lately has tried to take over Westinghouse, though listing health, the man asked have led to relieve him from the initial contract that gave Tesla those generous royalty than Tesla generously agreed to give up future royalties and supposedly even tore up the contract. You might wonder considering the problems he had had making money out of his work earlier, why he would do that, but according to PBS, he was very grateful to this one man who had believed in his invention- and this was his way of showing how grateful he was
He also just probably wanted them to keep going. I would imagine, instead of going under this, save the Westinghouse Electric Company, while Edison's own company was taken over by general. Electric Tesla, though, had trouble with finances for pretty much the rest of his life. So if it's sort of use the royal yards poignant. Thinking about those royalty is gone away, AIDS and how much money he could have made down the line, but it wasn't relax. Trying, though Tesla did keep on experimenting, and he was convinced that there were more amazing inventions on the horizon, and so we want to talk about some of the other things that he did while the so called current war, was going on. Of course, we can cover every narrow just so many inventions and patents to take however, in so many ideas to cover that you know, maybe didn't get patents or didn't immediately inspire invention, we're just gonna go over a few of those heed.
Instead, what we now know as to test the coil in eighteen, ninety wine- and this basically allowed him to take the ordinary sixty cycle per second household current, an gonna kick it up a few notches into the hundreds of thousands of cycles per second, so maybe more than a few notches. So this let him experiment with high frequency electricity, which was a big interest, has for a while, and that in turn, and allowed him to create the first me, I'm lights and the first fluorescent lights, and he also took the first x ray photographed another obsession of his which really stuck with him to the end with the wireless trends. and of energy, and he discovered in the early eighty. Ninety that he could use has Tesla coils to send and receive radio signals by a lab fire in eighteen. Eighty five destroyed his work before he could truly task that that was just a little bit of delay that really messed up here. Yes, tussle did end up filing for
patents in eighteen, ninety seven, but by this time he had a competitor across the path and Green Elmo, Marconi Marconi had been good said, or wireless communication patent in England in eighteen, ninety sticks and he tried to file for a patent in America. Nineteen, dread, but it was turned down at that point because of test was existing patent, but in late Nineteen o one Marconi became the first to transmit and receive signals across the Atlantic Ocean. Take that turn pretty well out of town, whose an engineer working for TAT led the time said to him quote, looks as if Marconi got the jump on you too, which Tesla replied quote Marconi as a good fellow. Let continue is using seventeen of my patent. No one can accuse him of lack of confidence but he was singing indifferent to the nineteen O. Four, when, inexplicably the? U S, patent office if its mind and gave Marconi the patent for inventing the radio mark
he also ended up a winning the Nobel Prize in nineteen O. Nine and Tesla was really unhappy about this. I mean he was angry, but he didn't have the cash get involved in a patent infringement case you wanted to. We wanted to do, but then he was like. I don't really have the ability to carry this out, Tesla continued to experiment with the wireless transmission of energy and in eighteen ninety eight. He made a demonstration of the world's first radio controlled vessel at an electrical exhibition in Madison Square Garden. It was basically a toy boat that was manipulated by remote control yeah and as such I note here. Many people think of this as the birth of robotics Tesla hoped that it would eventually lighten the workload of human them. It was a toy boat for now that it could be something more in the future so in the late eighteen nineties. Tesla also began to experiment with the transmission of electrical power without wires, and in order to conduct these experiments, he went out to Colorado Springs for awhile and set up a lab
and he created man made a lightning to test his ideas, while he was there, the first experiment with success, one away, but also fairly disastrous He did create man made lightning, but it burned out the dynamo at the El Electric Company and the entire city lost power. Tat blow was made to pay for the damage of causing this outrage be at the head of the power station. Wasn't very happy with him at that point that, it was in Colorado that tests are also noticed a signal being picked up on his transmitter that he later said was the signal from outer space, or he believed it to be a signal from outer space according to PBS Dot. Org is quite possible that he was the first to
actually detect radio signals from space, but people just dismiss this. They just thought that he was crazy, suggesting these things, but ultimately, this time Colorado, it's really interesting and probably baby. You know a separate episode or a bond pulsar, something bad. It's very shrouded in mystery. Alot of people still really don't have a handle on exactly everything he was working on. Their just reminds me a lot of his role in that movie, the prestige, where I think he might have been in Colorado the time then. Maybe it's been a long time since I see now, with just sort of the experiments that were going on there and the mystery surrounding not as well. So we could go online. Like I said about tough with ideas and patents and inventions, he continued to come up with ambition, concepts for pretty much the rest of his life, though now much really inspired immediate practical applications during his lifetime.
He experimented with a new type of turbine engine, for example, and in each seventy eight he announced that he was working on a deathray that could send a concentrated beam of particles through the air and bring down up to ten thousand enemy planes, and this was intended by him to help prevent war which he really hated. I think that could be the title of an article on his later. Courier to toy boats to death rate has risen from tassels later life, though his ideas definitely had taken on a kind. Mad scientist tape edge as he aged, especially that tougher was really known almost as much for his eccentricities as he was for his inventions with the years went on, and he did have friends in front like Mark TWAIN, for instance, but he never married, even though he was linked to several heiresses at various times, and he said quote, I do not believe in inventor should marry because he has so intense nature with so much of it, of wild passionate quality that I'm giving himself to a woman.
love he would give everything and so take everything from his chosen field. So he was really in love with his work. I guess is what he was trying to say in part there, but a court the barely, he had a lot of phobias that probably prevented him from having a relationship as well. So it wasn't just that he wanted to give all of his intention and focused. his work. There were some personal action, we have that may be kept him from connecting with people. For example, one phobias was throughout his lifetime. He sort of wasn't german foe did that. He also didn't like to touch people's hair. Specifically here like the site of smooth around surfaces which gave him an aversion to women's earrings. He couldn't and to see peaches the fruit. He also had what strange numerical fixation. So, for example, the number of his hotel room always had to be divisible by three and strangely enough tat. I did end up living in a hotel, the hotel, New Yorker at the end of his life
He didn't have that much money at that point and by then some of his closest companions were pigeons, who were hanging out around the hotel. He would actually takes thick birds to his room and nursed them back to how he even had the hotel make a special mixture of food for them, and he clearly became very attached to these pat though in one of Teslas favorite pigeons died. He told newspaper writer turn any all quote. I loved that pigeon. Yes, I loved her as a man of the woman when that pigeon died. Something went out of my life up to that time. I knew a certainty that I would complete my work, but when that funding went out of my life, I knew my life's work. Finished schussler died January seventh, nineteen, forty three he'd gone his last patent and nineteen twenty eight at the age of seventy two, and it was for a quote apparatus for aerial transportation, which is said to have inspired. Today's vertical short take off and landing plain, but he never had the money.
actually build a prototype of fast. He never won the Nobel Prize, though there were rumours that he and Edison might share it, and nineteen fifteen, which he was kind of unhappy about it and neither of them really wanted share it with each other concerns relationship problem, yes, Tesla did ironically, win the Edison metal nineteen seventeen, which was the highest honour of the American Institute of Electrical engineers. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica. He almost except this award, though, because of the name because of the Edison Association, he said this would basically be something that was honouring to fly to say, yeah, not honouring me So he sat outside where the award ceremony was being held, feeding the pigeons for a little while and had to be convinced to come inside, which he finally did come inside and accept the chapter.
Who really won the war between tough when Edison? You know you have tough where winning the Edison word, but it's called the Edison a word. I mean that really illustrates that point, and people still debate who went out in the end some say: tat, love occurs. We still use the eighth these system today I mean that system. Clearly, one Others, though say other than because he did have more patents. He made more money and, let's face it, he just became more famous. Tumblr has a lot of people who are clear very devoted his memory. We can tell that by the number of people who suggested him, but I would say Thomas Edison is probably still the more famous name yet. Definitely I think more school students learn about Anderson growing up then Tesla in their class, for even though TAT was the one in our report
that is true. He's on our wall. Interesting side, note here too in nineteen forty three, just a few months after teslas death, the? U S Supreme Court upheld test, was radio patent over my coneys according to PBS thought or the court had a selfish reasons doing us, though, the Marconi Company was doing the. U S, government for use of its patents and well worth one inserted, just kind of make that problem go away. They restored the priority of test. Was patent former colonies. A slight wind for testing in the end, regardless of the reasons that still kind of a sad and to a very interesting and invent yeah. My name is subversion, mad escargot, P Coralie, and this is the Peat and Sebastian POD catches a show of beaten. I talk about our personal private lives. Just two guys
comedian, peak coralie- and I really find that peat six years ago on a bus in Toronto eyes terrible. I heart radio is number one for pad cast his animal purpose. Man that you go like this, that step might have. It doesn't say anywhere near due in the highest pitch voice. You had passed tat theres other pod case out there that you probably listening to or watching listen people I'm telling you right now this comedy gold were taken to show to listen to the pain Sebastian show on the eye: heart, radio, app apple pie cares or wherever you get your pipe have family secrets. It turns the just about everyone has which accounts for the incredible pouring of community and sharing of these stories. Acting as a result of my podcast family secrets,
missed any Shapiro and I'm a writer author, instantly our times best selling memoir inheritance, which I will after discovering a massive secret that have been kept from me all my life that discovery changed my life and good ways and hard ways and lead to this part cast I'm here to tell you the new season of my show starts February Sex. I hope you'll join us for some incredible conversations about family identity and what happens to both when the secrets that have been kept from us and the secret. We keep finally might listen and subscribe. Annie. I hurt radio up apple podcast Will you listen to your favorite broadcasts? Ok, let's see what we have Listen I'm out today So there is so much more than we could say about tat, but we really do want to focus on the current war here again. If anyone has any favorite testing,
stories or inventions are apparent that we didn't mention that you want to share with fastened and maybe the other listeners Stephanus industry class. You can feel free to write to us where history podcast at read out time, and you can also look us up on Facebook, Enron, Twitter. It must in history before we find out that we wanted to include a little real male listener meal that we got. Some of you might remember. We ve been getting postcards from Hilary from her european venture than actually went from monetary too, from stockings but she's thanks must be in Germany right now cause she sent has several several postcards from their Munich and bought in Boston, and I love this postcard of the market in Munich. It just looks so good at family genes and fresh vegetables it makes me feel like I'm going out and enjoying our local bounty this weekend or something about stopped by to see centre. Fifty more. Thank you
for sending us. Like I a few I too errand, he gave you guys dollars contact and fell back now, how to reach our know. How to reach us. If you have some cool postcards like that, we love to get him and we do decorator cubes with them and then look longing Put them on our social media accounts. You guys consider very Daphne Saunders those if you have them. Also, if you want to learn a little bit more about some of the ideas we talked about, today's podcast, we haven't article hard, hearted, Nikola Tesla in the way we use energy on our website. You can look bad out by visiting our homepage, W W W dont have stuff like Stockholm, for more on this and thousands of other topics does it how stuff works out com
I am Bobby Brown. Welcome to my party has beyond the beauty fell from Iheart Radio, I'm here to be sitting down different people each week that I think we can all learn from. I hurt rating is number one for podcast, but don't take our word for please, beyond the beauty. I hurt radio app Apple podcast cast or ever you get your package because we all have something to learn about the real me hey listeners, I wanted to tell you about a new podcast from my heart. Radio called the women hosted by read. It is
fascinating and deep dive interview show, where rose talks, to change makers in disruptors and she finds out what really drives them. So she will ask each of them what was your first stand and how do you navigate success and failure and really what's the cost of fighting for others these interviews are really personal and their candid em for those there a little bit crass, but they are always really enlightening. You can listen he's firebrands and take away lessons that will help you navigate your own life and for your own path. The debut season pleads women, like Valerie, plain the former CIA agents who is now running for Congress and whistleblowers. The attrition Doktor Mona Hannah, a teacher who exposed the flint water crisis and became the centre of Swirling swirling amount of problems and he legendary Buffy, say Marie Sixty songwriter and activist. I have personal interest in this show his, I adore rose and executive produce it and I think you're really going to enjoy the way that she gets into these relations that feel like two friends talking and they
an absolute delight, so subscribed to the women army. I hurt radio app on Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast