Great Debate: Tesla vs. Edison

By Oscar Wolfe

In school, my class was reading a story about Thomas Edison. I was amazed at how the story completely skipped over all of the bad things about him. They skipped over extremely important things that showed who Edison really was. And let me tell you, he was not a great man. I think that instead of writing stories about Edison, we should be learning about people like Nikola Tesla. Tesla did things just as important, and more important, than Edison, and yet I have never ever seen the name Tesla mentioned in my textbooks at school. Also, Tesla cared more about helping real people than the money he made. Edison even said, “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. It’s sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.” Did you get that? “Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent.” In that quote, Edison admitted that he invented for money, not for happiness or the better of humanity, which is all that Tesla did.

I consider Thomas Edison to be the new Christopher Columbus. Most people think that Edison was some hero of mankind. He wasn’t. We need to be learning about Nikola Tesla and other genuine heroes of mankind.

Edison said that his way of transferring electricity, Direct Current (DC), was better than Tesla’s way of transferring electricity, Alternating Current (AC). Edison was in fact, wrong. AC can switch directions while DC only goes one direction. AC is what we use today, not DC. Your house, your buildings, your everything, AC. And yet, Edison still gets the credit instead of Tesla, who deserves it.

Edison, who just couldn’t admit that he was wrong, went even further to prove his incorrect point. In January, 1903, Thomas Edison electrocuted an innocent elephant using Tesla’s AC electricity. Her name was Topsy. Edison did this to show that Tesla’s invention was dangerous, even though it was far more useful and usable. Edison tried to scare people away from Tesla just so that they would buy from him. If Edison had gotten his way, just imagine how different our lives would be today. Edison killed just for his own gain.

While Edison was killing to make money, Tesla was working for the better of everyone. The remote control? Tesla. Induction motor? Tesla. Tesla coil? Obviously, Tesla. In Tesla’s own words, “The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.”
Onto the light bulb. Did Edison invent it? Partly. He helped to invent the incandescent light bulb. The first light bulb was made by Humphry Davy. It was called an arc lamp. The lights we currently use, LED lights, were invented by Nick Holonyak. Edison invented what we used in between. When you flick a switch and the lights turn on, chances are, they are not the result of Edison. Joseph Swan and Hiram Maxim also deserve credit for the light bulb.

Tesla used to work for Edison. Edison asked Tesla to invent a motor. Edison also promised to pay Tesla for it. Once Tesla was done with the motor, Edison refused to pay Tesla. But guess what? He still took the motor! Later, after Tesla had his own business, Edison, using his financial advantages, bought Tesla out and took credit for Tesla’s inventions!

In conclusion, Edison was a genius. But, he used his brilliance for evil. He lied, cheated, and killed for his own gain. Oh yeah, he also secretly helped to finance the electric chair. In school, we should learn about more people, not just Edison. We should respect good people, not bad people that pretend to be good. I’ll finish with a Tesla quote, “Our virtues and our failings are inseparable, like force and matter. When they separate, man is no more.”

That Is Great!

A kid's take on stuff that is great.

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