Edison's biggest mistake

Potato Pudding

Joined Jun 11, 2010
688
At a certain level I don't think Edison was cheating, especially in his own mind.

I think it is the case of somebody who has a business focus versus one who doesn't. The exploitation of the ideas is where they have power. Somebody who wants to develop and extend markets will just instinctively push good ideas.

The market runs over inventors who don't know how to give the customers a product to buy and elevates those like Edison that turn concepts into markets.

It was the customers faults. Customers just don't know how to find a hidden genius like Tesla and beg them to make something out of their ideas for the customers can buy.
 

CraigHB

Joined Aug 12, 2011
127
If you look at the numbers, then AC does look safer. In any case, could you imagine trying to base an electrical distribution system on DC. What a mess that would be. What was Edison thinking?

I think that's what made Edison vastly more financially successful than Tesla. Edison was keen at capturing new markets where Tesla was not.

If you read the Wikipedia article on Tesla, there's one quote where he really shows his dislike for Edison. They were fierce competitors. I thought it was rather amuzing.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
If you read the Wikipedia article on Tesla, there's one quote where he really shows his dislike for Edison. They were fierce competitors. I thought it was rather amuzing.
Is that the one where he says something like:

"If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor."
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,225
"If Edison had a needle to find in a haystack, he would proceed at once with the diligence of the bee to examine straw after straw until he found the object of his search.
I was a sorry witness of such doings, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety per cent of his labor."
summarized: work smarter, not harder.
tesla: man of too many words?
 

cjdelphi

Joined Mar 26, 2009
272
If someone feels as this is a hijacking of this thread, please delete/edit,move/whatever.

I read that SMPS use small transformers the difference being these operate at higher frequencies, could these more efficient frequencies be applied large scale? and have even more efficient transformers? basically 50khz vs 50hz we got now, would it be more efficient in theory if the lines could handle it of course....
 

PackratKing

Joined Jul 13, 2008
847
Thinking back to elementary school - a real stretch to 1955 -:D- so the memory may not be adequate.......

Textbooks of the day hailed Edison as the talented person he was..........but never so much as mentioned Mr. Tesla.

I wonder if that is still the case...............I'll have to ask the grandkids and get back to edit this.........
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
At a certain level I don't think Edison was cheating, especially in his own mind.

I think it is the case of somebody who has a business focus versus one who doesn't. The exploitation of the ideas is where they have power. Somebody who wants to develop and extend markets will just instinctively push good ideas.

The market runs over inventors who don't know how to give the customers a product to buy and elevates those like Edison that turn concepts into markets.

It was the customers faults. Customers just don't know how to find a hidden genius like Tesla and beg them to make something out of their ideas for the customers can buy.
This may be true--He didn't think he was cheating, but that just shows that his morals were not very good, either. He was a good businessman, but he certainly wasn't an honest one. He probably just convinced himself that what he was doing was ok.
 

Thread Starter

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,461
To me the biggest reason Tesla isn't given more honor is the fact that he was a first generation American. If he and his family had been here for several generations he would have been "Americanized" and given more recognition for his genius.

Back in the the time he lived, recent immigrants were unfairly vilified as stupid and acknowledgeable.
 

John P

Joined Oct 14, 2008
1,796
But how many products did Tesla put in people's homes? Where's his equivalent of phonographs, light bulbs, movies?

Tesla is someone we remember as a scientist. There's a unit of magnetism named after him--unlike Edison.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,225
Thinking back to elementary school - a real stretch to 1955 -:D- so the memory may not be adequate.......

Textbooks of the day hailed Edison as the talented person he was..........but never so much as mentioned Mr. Tesla.

I wonder if that is still the case...............I'll have to ask the grandkids and get back to edit this.........
I graduated in 2004. Never heard the name tesla in school. Probably spent 2 weeks on Edison though.

This may be true--He didn't think he was cheating, but that just shows that his morals were not very good, either. He was a good businessman, but he certainly wasn't an honest one. He probably just convinced himself that what he was doing was ok.
Honest businessmen aren't usually successful businessmen.
To me the biggest reason Tesla isn't given more honor is the fact that he was a first generation American. If he and his family had been here for several generations he would have been "Americanized" and given more recognition for his genius.

Back in the the time he lived, recent immigrants were unfairly vilified as stupid and acknowledgeable.
When did this period of immigrant villification end? Einstein was only born 23 years after Tesla. They were both in the game at the same time and Einstein found his way into the history books.
But how many products did Tesla put in people's homes? Where's his equivalent of phonographs, light bulbs, movies?

Tesla is someone we remember as a scientist. There's a unit of magnetism named after him--unlike Edison.
most importantly, and already discussed, AC - where would we be without that?
Induction motors
X-rays (not really in homes, but important)
flourescent lighting
RADIO!
 

CraigHB

Joined Aug 12, 2011
127
Good question why Telsa gets zero mention in K12 education. The person that pretty much invented our power grid deserves some mention. Lower education in science is something that has a few pitfalls in the US. I found this site interesting in that regard.

Comparing anyone to Einstein is hard to do. He was purely a scientist. Tesla was more of an engineer/inventor so you'd have to compare him to other engineer/inventors like Edison.
 

debjit625

Joined Apr 17, 2010
790
This may be true--He didn't think he was cheating, but that just shows that his morals were not very good, either. He was a good businessman, but he certainly wasn't an honest one. He probably just convinced himself that what he was doing was ok.
Yes, and he gave so much priorities to the business that he just over looked the potential of Edison’s Effect ,that could lead him towards diode valves. He paid more attention towards his light bulbs...

Anyway he did some great inventions that are still useful today and for that he will be always known. But again Tesla did much much more than that and for me Tesla will be the superior one, who only thought about giving something to the mankind.
 

thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
If someone feels as this is a hijacking of this thread, please delete/edit,move/whatever.

I read that SMPS use small transformers the difference being these operate at higher frequencies, could these more efficient frequencies be applied large scale? and have even more efficient transformers? basically 50khz vs 50hz we got now, would it be more efficient in theory if the lines could handle it of course....
Yes, sort of, but not to the extent you are thinking. SMPS run into tens of kHz frequency ranges, having big antennas across the US for a high frequency would cause problems with harmonics and RF interference.

Military and aircraft use 400Hz, partly to save a lot of weight on transformer size. 50/60Hz is the world standard AC Frequency. To change that would cost insane amounts of money in updating nearly all of our infrastructure

I doubt a grid frequency change will happen unless a new grid is built around solar and other "renewable" sources, as the mix of DC from solar and AC from wind turbines could be changed to any frequency, might as well go for the one that uses less iron in transformers.

The higher frequency you use, the better diodes you need to rectify to DC, e.g. "Faster" diodes, or fast recovery diodes.

Finally: Edison was a businessman who tinkered with ideas. Tesla was an inventor who tinkered with business. If they had worked together, the technology jump would have been more abrupt than the 50 years it took to get most of America "on the grid". Look how fast things move today, now that big companies like Intel, AMD, Apple, etc have a layer of separation between the idea/engineer types, and the PR/Marketing types, with the overall business functioning as a unit (well, as a dysfunctional family with infighting, anyway). Marketing guys are idiots. ;)
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,225
Edison was a businessman who tinkered with ideas. Tesla was an inventor who tinkered with business. If they had worked together, the technology jump would have been more abrupt than the 50 years it took to get most of America "on the grid". Look how fast things move today, now that big companies like Intel, AMD, Apple, etc have a layer of separation between the idea/engineer types, and the PR/Marketing types, with the overall business functioning as a unit (well, as a dysfunctional family with infighting, anyway). Marketing guys are idiots. ;)
That's the best way I've heard it put
 

Thread Starter

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
7,461
Don't forget the old saying " the winners get to write the history". Tesla was cheated out of recognition for his inventions by every one he worked for. So they were the winners?
 

thatoneguy

Joined Feb 19, 2009
6,359
Don't forget the old saying " the winners get to write the history". Tesla was cheated out of recognition for his inventions by every one he worked for. So they were the winners?
Money is how the scores are kept, so Edison "won", and is a name learned by nearly every kid before 6th grade. Whereas Tesla isn't heard about until they are in a decent high school/college, start looking into electronics on their own, or wade off to YouTube.
 

DerStrom8

Joined Feb 20, 2011
2,390
Edison was a businessman who tinkered with ideas. Tesla was an inventor who tinkered with business. If they had worked together, the technology jump would have been more abrupt than the 50 years it took to get most of America "on the grid".
Tesla did work with/for Edison for a while, and IMO Edison was the dumber of the two. Tesla often found himself fixing Edison's mistakes, like broken DC dynamos and very poor wiring (which Edison sometimes installed himself) that frequently caused house fires and electrocutions.
Edison was very prideful man, and he would not let Tesla really work with him. In my opinion, if Tesla was forced to work with Edison, it would be like forcing a college student to write a joint paper with a chimpanzee.
Ok, that may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point :p
 

loosewire

Joined Apr 25, 2008
1,686
I have been shocked by both,the d/c was like body numbing jolt
thru your entire body.An old radio with big transformer.I remember
the spot and can see it now,thats effect It has on you.The more I
think about it I see the bench and even see a wire recorder that
was on the bench. Every one is talking about Tesla,history is
making him a winner.
 
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