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Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Edison: Who Was the Better Inventor?

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CassSept

Member
Edison was a Templar so duh, Tesla.

Edison is hilariously villainized by the Internet for the purposes of Tesla-Edison rivalry, but even honestly I think I'd put Tesla above when we're talking purely "inventions".
 

Protome

Member
Unfortunately, Tesla's grand scheme failed when his financial backer, J.P. Morgan, became fed up with years of failure.
I like how this bit tries to twist it to make J.P. Morgan seem like the reason Tesla's plans failed and not you know, his inability to get it working.
 

Bear

Member
In the end, however, Edison held 1,093 patents, according to the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. Tesla garnered less than 300 worldwide, according to a study published in 2006 at the Sixth International Symposium of Nikola Tesla. (Of course, Edison had scores more assistants helping him devise inventions, and also bought some of his patents.)

This was the main reason Edison had so many patents. He had a world-class laboratory and employed some brilliant people who were deeply involved in many of his projects (like Francis Upton, among others). Edison persistently pursued patents for anything developed by his company. Not to sell Edison short, but his immense collection of patents is more reflective of his entrepreneurial skills and his ability to run productive research labs. The Menlo Park lab was unmatched at the time and pioneered industrial R&D as we know it.

As for who was the better inventor, it depends how you judge that. Tesla was a more capable scientist and his inventions were often on the cutting edge of contemporary knowledge. Edison was a better entrepreneur and his way of thinking was very systems oriented. He had a knack for effectively combining different technologies and tackling "big picture" problems, so his inventions tended to be refinements and combinations that were very well designed for broader adoption and utility-scale applications.
 

cheezcake

Member
The article is already wrong. AC is less efficient than DC because of skin-effect losses.

Come on dude where talking about the era where DC voltage conversion had to be done with inefficient, unreliable and expensive motor-generator sets. Not LCC's developed half a century later.

The reason why AC is convenient for transmission is because it can be stepped up or down relatively easily given the technology of their time.

Yes which improved efficiency by dramatically reducing copper losses in TX lines.
 

DiscoJer

Member
Edison was to science what Henry Ford was to manufacturing. He revolutionized how research happened.

Like the light bulb - the idea was well known, but he figured out how to make it practical by having his assistants make light bulbs all sorts of materials in a slow and methodical manner. Eventually they hit on something that worked well.


Anyway, I get why the internet loves Tesla. But I really wish James Clerk Maxwell got more love. He should be as well regarded as Einstein, if not more so, given most of his equations are used in modern life than relativity
 
Tesla is an internet darling, and definitely the guy deserves all the recognition he gets. There is so much extraordinary things he did. It makes no sense when you read it on a wiki. Dude was probably an alien.

Maxwell needs love as well. Edison was ok, but he was more of an entrepreneur.
 

cheezcake

Member
Anyway, I get why the internet loves Tesla. But I really wish James Clerk Maxwell got more love. He should be as well regarded as Einstein, if not more so, given most of his equations are used in modern life than relativity

Its a lot harder to say

than it is to say E= mc^2

But really as brilliant as Maxwell was, Einstein is more revered for his radical thought process. The ability to first conceptualize theories as unintuitive as special and general relativity, and be proven correct, is just insane.
 

Currygan

at last, for christ's sake
between the two, Tesla obviously, Edison stole almost everything he's been credited for, awful man
 

SRG01

Member
Come on dude where talking about the era where DC voltage conversion had to be done with inefficient, unreliable and expensive motor-generator sets. Not LCC's developed half a century later.



Yes which improved efficiency by dramatically reducing copper losses in TX lines.

Uh... I think we said the exact same thing in agreement?
 

carfo

Banned
No contest is was Tesla. Eddison ripped off ideas and basically destroyed Tesla with manipulative ways. Poor Tesla

Eddison also bet 50k that Tesla couldn't make Eddisons inventions more efficient, and when Tesla did make them more efficient, Eddison said it was a joke but did give him $10 a week more in his paycheck. Tesla quit and made his own company and ended up winning because AC is used a lot more than DC
 

Red

Member
I've read a couple of biographies on Edison and Tesla, and to me It seems like pitting them as enemies is the wrong move. They were rivals, but they weren't rivals exclusively. History remembers them this way because it makes for a good story. They were sometimes friendly and had a lifelong relationship.

I look at it this way: Edison was a businessman, and knew how to sell things. He invented to make money, and knew how to pitch an idea. Tesla invented to make cool things, and to push the boundaries of possibility. He thought investors would be interested in his creations because they were profound and interesting, but did not have a knack for making money and had a bunch of personal hang-ups and eccentricities that pushed people away. He may have been more brilliant, but he was less personable, and he did not belong to the ethos of his time.
 

Fuchsdh

Member
Edison all day, every day. Tesla had talent but lacked vision.

Which is why articles like these are bullshit. If you get into a game of "well X was working on Y the same time as Z, they clearly would have invented Y if Z hadn't been around", then I'm sure Tesla too would be irrelevant to the march of progress.

But these people existed and it's pointless trying to judge them on "what if" scenarios.

Edison ultimately through himself and the people he brought together did a lot more to actually bring about the future. Sometimes that requires not just being brilliant but being canny and a businessman.

Both were brilliant, both contributed greatly, but "there would have been another Edison" ignores that there could have just as easily been another Tesla, too.

Choosing one person as the "mother/father" of an invention or industry often ignores the people who were just behind the curve or just didn't get the word out (such as early automobiles and early flight discoveries.)
 
Yeah, probably. Which isn't to say that Tesla wasn't a genius or that Edison didn't royally assfuck the guy, but its just that the whole Tesla-Edison dynamic is also so pitch perfect for jaded internet nerds that it approaches fetishization.

Yeah, I'm with you. It's weird how Tesla has got this insane following ever since that comic.
 

cheezcake

Member
Edison ultimately through himself and the people he brought together did a lot more to actually bring about the future. Sometimes that requires not just being brilliant but being canny and a businessman.

Wut, I mean I think a lot of people like to dismiss Edison's impressive work by the fact that he was a colossal douche. But AC power generation and transmission single handedly pushed humanity into a new era.
 

Buggy Loop

Member
AC won the war of the currents in the end, it was easy to implement and produce for the time period. We're losing ~10% of all the electric energy produced on earth with AC though. HVDC transformers are still hard to produce and they costs a lot more, but that cost completely evaporates when you consider the savings in energy you get through the transformer's life, which is on average 25 years. But they'll be used only for HV line transmission. But its not an argument of AC vs DC anymore, its AC and DC working together to optimize the electric grid.

I design all the dielectric insulation for AC oil immersed transformers at a certain place, from what i've heard its a pain in the ass to design for DC, because over a hundred years worth of know-how and easy to predict reactions then turns into fucking witchcraft :p

I vote Tesla all the way. Edison actually hired Tesla at one point to help him redesign his DC generator and didnt pay Tesla. Edison's a business man.
 
The Tesla boner the internet has always had has always seemed a bit...eh, annoying to me? Dude was brilliant. But I'd put him in the same league as Faraday and Gauss, and I don't see people turning either of them into a meme
You mean in the league of some of the best scientific minds of all time?

Tesla made possible the modern world and asked for nothing in return. Edison may or may not have invented things.

Tesla, no contest.
 
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