Both men were great inventors of their time and made many inventions. Tesla made the first AC motors and Edison made the first DC motors. Edison made the first incandescent light bulbs and Tesla made the first fluorescent light bulbs. Both men lived well past their 80’s. What many people didn’t know is that they were rivals.
Edison had a rival in the race to develop electricity. His name was George Westinghouse, and he was very interested in alternating current. Edison bought Tesla's ideas, and developed an AC system that lit up the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Three years later an AC system began turning the energy of Niagara Falls into electricity. Before that Edison relied only on direct current which only went up to one mile while alternating current went over one hundred miles.
Soon Tesla, who proudly became an American citizen in 1891, was one of the most famous inventors in the world. He loved to entertain friends like Mark Twain with hair-raising demonstrations of AC. Dressed in a tuxedo, he would stand near a huge generator while a million volts of high-frequency current sent lightning dancing over his body. In his hands, light bulbs shone like suns and gas-filled tubes blazed like a light saber. Tesla didn't stop experimenting. He found that high-frequency alternating current, transformed by the device that's still called a "Tesla coil," could send signals through the air without wires; he had invented radio.
Nikola Tesla was Thomas Edison’s rival at the end of the 19th century. In fact, he was more famous than Edison throughout the 1890's. His invention of polyphase electric power earned him worldwide fame and fortune. At his zenith he was an intimate of poets and scientists, industrialists and financiers. Yet Tesla died destitute, having lost both his fortune and scientific reputation. During his fall from notoriety to obscurity, Tesla created a legacy of genuine invention and prophecy that still fascinates today....