Written By Adeetya Jain (Grade 8)
A lot of people have called some battles or rivalries legend. Few of them include the story of Bill Gates and Steve Job’s bitter fights and quarrels. But nothing was like it when I saw the highlights of rivalry in an electric circuit. It was between a young Croatian genius and a big fancy inventor of that time. Yes, it was none other than Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. This story ended to be unfair for one of the parties but disgraceful for the other.
Let us get ourselves familiarized with some background information of these two men. Thomas Edison was the heart of the nation then. It was just a few days back that Edison achieved his breakthrough with the bulb. Not only America was counting on him but the whole world seemed to be tagging along in the journey of electricity. Edison would often envision the whole of America being lit up and slowly the world too. On the other hand, was a young university going boy in Croatia. He was not famous or cared for at that time. Though he was doing well in his physics lectures. The boy did not know that he was going to rewrite history and become the centre of legendary science debates.
Tesla was learning about the electric motor and station then. He used to draw graphs and envision changes in his mind itself. Not that he was looked upon as a prodigy, but his talent was going to help him attain the fame he has today. While learning about the engine he was thinking about the massive friction and the waste of energy. On the other hand, Edison had started his project on direct current (DC). It was a method on which Edison had depended on to provide electricity. He was sure that DC was the way to move forward. Nikola Tesla was eager on finding a better and productive way of giving electricity. A more efficient way of propagation of electric waves and a high amount of distribution of electricity using fewer powerhouses. Both of them had flaws. But we’ll leave that for later. Let us get back on the story.
Tesla had got the inspiration from a simple class lecture. He knew he could invent something mindboggling. But for that, he needed help and funds. He was going to take the biggest risk of his life. He had to meet face to face with the world’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison. The young gentleman boarded his ship to luck, hope and his destiny. Reaching America was no more than an emotional rollercoaster. He knew that he could do something useful there. Edison Laboratories was a dream place for most inventors at that time. Not only because of the great man himself but for the renowned advancement in apparatus also. This laboratory was also heavily funded.
Tesla made his first acquaintance with Edison in the lab itself. Edison was known for his sheer arrogance and pride. Edison did not put anyone in his laboratory just like that. He wanted to test Tesla. He gave Tesla an impossible job to do. It was to test his patience and perseverance. The job proved to be quite difficult. Though Tesla could not accomplish his job, he did impress Edison with his patience and calm. Edison showed him the plan of direct current. It did have problems and needed to be repaired quickly.
But on the contrary, Tesla wanted to show Edison his model of Alternative Current to grab his attention. For the project, Edison had promised a $100,000 prize. Edison wanted to know other possible methods. Eventually, Tesla showed his work. It came out that Edison wanted an improvement on his direct current plan. But Tesla had shown something completely new. But this did not open Edison’s eyes and he remained as arrogant as before. Nikola was denied of his $100,000 prize by being told that it was a joke and part of American humour. This enraged Tesla. He calmed himself by saying that he did not need Edison. He will do it on his own. But how will he do it?
Part 2 Coming Soon!!
Featured Image Courtesy – Engineer Mind