Empires of Light

Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9781588360007

Category: History

Page: 432

View: 1573

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse—battled bitterly as each vied to create a vast and powerful electrical empire. In Empires of Light, historian Jill Jonnes portrays this extraordinary trio and their riveting and ruthless world of cutting-edge science, invention, intrigue, money, death, and hard-eyed Wall Street millionaires. At the heart of the story are Thomas Alva Edison, the nation’s most famous and folksy inventor, creator of the incandescent light bulb and mastermind of the world’s first direct current electrical light networks; the Serbian wizard of invention Nikola Tesla, elegant, highly eccentric, a dreamer who revolutionized the generation and delivery of electricity; and the charismatic George Westinghouse, Pittsburgh inventor and tough corporate entrepreneur, an industrial idealist who in the era of gaslight imagined a world powered by cheap and plentiful electricity and worked heart and soul to create it. Edison struggled to introduce his radical new direct current (DC) technology into the hurly-burly of New York City as Tesla and Westinghouse challenged his dominance with their alternating current (AC), thus setting the stage for one of the eeriest feuds in American corporate history, the War of the Electric Currents. The battlegrounds: Wall Street, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Niagara Falls, and, finally, the death chamber—Jonnes takes us on the tense walk down a prison hallway and into the sunlit room where William Kemmler, convicted ax murderer, became the first man to die in the electric chair. Empires of Light is the gripping history of electricity, the “mysterious fluid,” and how the fateful collision of Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse left the world utterly transformed. From the Hardcover edition.

Empires Of Light

Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, And The Race To Electrify The World

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Random House Incorporated

ISBN: 0375758844

Category: Science

Page: 424

View: 2229

A riveting chronicle of scientific history recounts the race among three great titans of the Gilded Age--inventor Thomas Alva Edison, creator of the incandescent light bulb; eccentric genius Nikola Tesla; and George Westinghouse, a tough entrepreneur and powerful empire builder--to bring electricity to the world. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.

Empires of Light

Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Singapore Books

ISBN: N.A

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 9864

A riveting chronicle of scientific history recounts the race among three great titans of the Gilded Age--inventor Thomas Alva Edison, creator of the incandescent light bulb; eccentric genius Nikola Tesla; and George Westinghouse, a tough entrepreneur and powerful empire builder--to bring electricity to the world. 30,000 first printing.

War of the Currents

Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla

Author: Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Publisher: Twenty-First Century Books

ISBN: 1467701408

Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Page: 64

View: 8126

In the early 1880s, only a few wealthy city dwellers enjoyed electric lighting in their homes. Everyone else had to make due with dirtier and more dangerous lighting technology, such as kerosene lanterns and gas lamps. Eager companies wanted to be among the first to supply electric power to more Americans. The early providers would set the standards—and they would reap great profits. Inventor Thomas Edison already had a leading role in the industry: he had invented the first reliable electrical light bulb. By 1882, his Edison Electric Light Company was distributing electricity using a system called direct current, or DC. But an inventor named Nikola Tesla challenged Edison. Tesla believed that an alternating current—or AC—system would be better. With an AC system, one power station could deliver electricity across many miles, compared to only about one mile for DC. Each inventor had his backers. Business tycoon George Westinghouse put his money behind Tesla and built AC power stations. Meanwhile, Edison and his DC backers said that AC was dangerous. They said that AC could easily electrocute people, so it should power the newly invented electric chair. Edison believed this negative association would sway public opinion toward DC power. The battle over which system would become standard became known as the War of the Currents. This exciting book tells the story of that war, the people who fought it, and the ways in which both kinds of electric power changed the world.

AC/DC

The Savage Tale of the First Standards War

Author: Tom McNichol

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 9781118047026

Category: Science

Page: 208

View: 6754

AC/DC tells the little-known story of how Thomas Edison wrongly bet in the fierce war between supporters of alternating current and direct current. The savagery of this electrical battle can hardly be imagined today. The showdown between AC and DC began as a rather straightforward conflict between technical standards, a battle of competing methods to deliver essentially the same product, electricity. But the skirmish soon metastasized into something bigger and darker. In the AC/DC battle, the worst aspects of human nature somehow got caught up in the wires; a silent, deadly flow of arrogance, vanity, and cruelty. Following the path of least resistance, the war of currents soon settled around that most primal of human emotions: fear. AC/DC serves as an object lesson in bad business strategy and poor decision making. Edison's inability to see his mistake was a key factor in his loss of control over the ?operating system? for his future inventions?not to mention the company he founded, General Electric.

George Westinghouse

Gentle Genius

Author: Quentin R. Skrabec

Publisher: Algora Publishing

ISBN: 0875865070

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 259

View: 5911

This is a biography of Westinghouse, genius inventor from railroad and gas distribution equipment to the corporate model of invention and research. He surpassed Edison in electricity pioneering and in managing workers too; but they both lost their companies in the panic of 1907. The bank always wins.

The Last Days of Night

Author: Graham Moore

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks

ISBN: 0812988922

Category: Fiction

Page: 384

View: 1868

New York, 1888: When electric light innovator Thomas Edison sues his only remaining rival for patent infringement, George Westinghouse hires untested Columbia Law School graduate Paul Ravath for a case fraught with lies, betrayals, and deception.

The Age of Edison

Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America

Author: Ernest Freeberg

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101605472

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 368

View: 9553

A sweeping history of the electric light revolution and the birth of modern America The late nineteenth century was a period of explosive technological creativity, but more than any other invention, Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb marked the arrival of modernity, transforming its inventor into a mythic figure and avatar of an era. In The Age of Edison, award-winning author and historian Ernest Freeberg weaves a narrative that reaches from Coney Island and Broadway to the tiniest towns of rural America, tracing the progress of electric light through the reactions of everyone who saw it and capturing the wonder Edison’s invention inspired. It is a quintessentially American story of ingenuity, ambition, and possibility in which the greater forces of progress and change are made by one of our most humble and ubiquitous objects.

Edison and the Electric Chair

A Story of Light and Death

Author: Mark Essig

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9780802719287

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 368

View: 6573

Thomas Edison stunned America in 1879 by unveiling a world-changing invention--the light bulb--and then launching the electrification of America's cities. A decade later, despite having been an avowed opponent of the death penalty, Edison threw his laboratory resources and reputation behind the creation of a very different sort of device--the electric chair. Deftly exploring this startling chapter in American history, Edison & the Electric Chair delivers both a vivid portrait of a nation on the cusp of modernity and a provocative new examination of Edison himself. Edison championed the electric chair for reasons that remain controversial to this day. Was Edison genuinely concerned about the suffering of the condemned? Was he waging a campaign to smear his rival George Westinghouse's alternating current and boost his own system? Or was he warning the public of real dangers posed by the high-voltage alternating wires that looped above hundreds of America's streets? Plumbing the fascinating history of electricity, Mark Essig explores America's love of technology and its fascination with violent death, capturing an era when the public was mesmerized and terrified by an invisible force that produced blazing light, powered streetcars, carried telephone conversations--and killed.

Wizard

The Life And Times Of Nikola Tesla

Author: Marc Seifer

Publisher: Citadel

ISBN: 0806535563

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 576

View: 4706

“The story of one of the most prolific, independent, and iconoclastic inventors of this century . . . fascinating.”--Scientific American Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), credited as the inspiration for radio, robots, and even radar, has been called the patron saint of modern electricity. Based on original material and previously unavailable documents, this acclaimed book is the definitive biography of the man considered by many to be the founding father of modern electrical technology. Among Tesla’s creations were the channeling of alternating current, fluorescent and neon lighting, wireless telegraphy, and the giant turbines that harnessed the power of Niagara Falls. This essential biography is illustrated with sixteen pages of photographs, including the July 20, 1931, Time magazine cover for an issue celebrating the inventor’s career. “A deep and comprehensive biography of a great engineer of early electrical science--likely to become the definitive biography. Highly recommended.”--American Association for the Advancement of Science “Seifer's vivid, revelatory, exhaustively researched biography rescues pioneer inventor Nikola Tesla from cult status and restores him to his rightful place as a principal architect of the modern age.” --Publishers Weekly Starred Review “[Wizard] brings the many complex facets of [Tesla's] personal and technical life together in to a cohesive whole....I highly recommend this biography of a great technologist.” --A.A. Mullin, U.S. Army Space and Strategic Defense Command, COMPUTING REVIEWS “[Along with A Beautiful Mind] one of the five best biographies written on the brilliantly disturbed.”--WALL STREET JOURNAL “Wizard is a compelling tale presenting a teeming, vivid world of science, technology, culture and human lives.”--NEW SCIENTIST “Marc Seifer is an excellent writer and scholar, who has produced a wonderfully readable and illuminating biography of one of the most intriguing men of this century...mak[ing] us understand not only the man, but also the times in which he lived....[A] masterpiece.”--NELSON DEMILLE “The author presents much new material...[and] bases his book on a large number of archival and primary sources....Underneath the layers of hero worship, the core of Seifer's book is a serious piece of scholarship.” --Ronald Kline, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN “Seifer has done a remarkable job going through all the Tesla manuscripts...ferret[ing] out hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles in which he traces out Tesla's public image [and] offers a reasonable reconstruction of Tesla's emotional world...Seifer has significantly advanced our understanding of Tesla.”--Bernard Carlson, author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, for ISIS “It is my opinion that Dr. Seifer leads the world as the most authoritative of all the Tesla researchers.”--J.W. McGINNIS, President, International Tesla Society “Far and away the best job among Tesla biographies.”--Jeffrey D. Kooistra, INFINITE ENERGY “Wizard is...utterly absorbing with chapters charting all stages of Tesla's life...Seifer treats his prodigious subject with sympathy and realism.”--NEXUS “Wizard...presents a much more accurate...picture of Tesla.... [It] is thorough, informative, entertaining and a valuable addition to electrotechnological history, past and future.”--ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES “In modern times, Tesla may be enjoying a comeback thanks to books like Wizard.”--THE NEW YORK TIMES

The Power Makers

Steam, Electricity, and the Men Who Invented Modern America

Author: Maury Klein

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781596918344

Category: History

Page: 560

View: 7604

Maury Klein is one of America's most acclaimed historians of business and society. In The Power Makers, he offers an epic narrative of his greatest subject yet - the "power revolution" that transformed American life in the course of the nineteenth century. The steam engine; the incandescent bulb; the electric motor-inventions such as these replaced backbreaking toil with machine labor and changed every aspect of daily life in the span of a few generations. The cast of characters includes inventors like James Watt, Elihu Thomson, and Nikola Tesla; entrepreneurs like George Westinghouse; savvy businessmen like J.P. Morgan, Samuel Insull, and Charles Coffin of General Electric. Striding among them like a colossus is the figure of Thomas Edison, who was creative genius and business visionary at once. With consummate skill, Klein recreates their discoveries, their stunning triumphs and frequent failures, and their unceasing, bare-knuckled battles in the marketplace. In Klein's hands, their personalities and discoveries leap off the page. The Power Makers is a dazzling saga of inspired invention, dogged persistence, and business competition at its most naked and cutthroat--a biography of America in its most astonishing decades.

Executioner's Current

Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and the Invention of the Electric Chair

Author: Richard Moran

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307425800

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 4508

In this amazing story of high stakes competition between two titans, Richard Moran shows how the electric chair developed not out of the desire to be more humane but through an effort by one nineteenth-century electric company to discredit the other. In 1882, Thomas Edison ushered in the “age of electricity” when he illuminated Manhattan’s Pearl Street with his direct current (DC) system. Six years later, George Westinghouse lit up Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current (AC). The two men quickly became locked in a fierce rivalry, made all the more complicated by a novel new application for their product: the electric chair. When Edison set out to persuade the state of New York to use Westinghouse’s current to execute condemned criminals, Westinghouse fought back in court, attempting to stop the first electrocution and keep AC from becoming the “executioner’s current.” In this meticulously researched account of the ensuing legal battle and the horribly botched first execution, Moran raises disturbing questions not only about electrocution, but about about our society’s tendency to rely on new technologies to answer moral questions. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Hep-cats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams

A History of America's Romance with Illegal Drugs

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 9780801861659

Category: History

Page: 510

View: 1757

The history of America's use of drugs from women of the early 1900s who were given opiates for childbirth, to the spread of marijuana and heroin use, to today's use of crack and Xstacy

The Wizard of Menlo Park

How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World

Author: Randall E. Stross

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 9780307394569

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 384

View: 9115

Thomas Edison’s greatest invention? His own fame. At the height of his fame Thomas Alva Edison was hailed as “the Napoleon of invention” and blazed in the public imagination as a virtual demigod. Starting with the first public demonstrations of the phonograph in 1878 and extending through the development of incandescent light and the first motion picture cameras, Edison’s name became emblematic of all the wonder and promise of the emerging age of technological marvels. But as Randall Stross makes clear in this critical biography of the man who is arguably the most globally famous of all Americans, Thomas Edison’s greatest invention may have been his own celebrity. Edison was certainly a technical genius, but Stross excavates the man from layers of myth-making and separates his true achievements from his almost equally colossal failures. How much credit should Edison receive for the various inventions that have popularly been attributed to him—and how many of them resulted from both the inspiration and the perspiration of his rivals and even his own assistants? This bold reassessment of Edison’s life and career answers this and many other important questions while telling the story of how he came upon his most famous inventions as a young man and spent the remainder of his long life trying to conjure similar success. We also meet his partners and competitors, presidents and entertainers, his close friend Henry Ford, the wives who competed with his work for his attention, and the children who tried to thrive in his shadow—all providing a fuller view of Edison’s life and times than has ever been offered before. The Wizard of Menlo Park reveals not only how Edison worked, but how he managed his own fame, becoming the first great celebrity of the modern age.

Conquering Gotham

A Gilded Age Epic : the Construction of Penn Station and Its Tunnels

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9780670031580

Category: Transportation

Page: 368

View: 6911

Traces the epic story of the struggle to build Penn Station, describing how the nation's most powerful railroad tackled Tammany Hall corruption and the forces of nature to create a tunnel system linking Manhattan, New Jersey, and Long Island.

Urban Forests

A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101632135

Category: Science

Page: 416

View: 9419

“Far-ranging and deeply researched, Urban Forests reveals the beauty and significance of the trees around us.” —Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction “Jonnes extols the many contributions that trees make to city life and celebrates the men and women who stood up for America’s city trees over the past two centuries. . . . An authoritative account.” —Gerard Helferich, The Wall Street Journal “We all know that trees can make streets look prettier. But in her new book Urban Forests, Jill Jonnes explains how they make them safer as well.” —Sara Begley, Time Magazine A celebration of urban trees and the Americans—presidents, plant explorers, visionaries, citizen activists, scientists, nurserymen, and tree nerds—whose arboreal passions have shaped and ornamented the nation’s cities, from Jefferson’s day to the present As nature’s largest and longest-lived creations, trees play an extraordinarily important role in our cities; they are living landmarks that define space, cool the air, soothe our psyches, and connect us to nature and our past. Today, four-fifths of Americans live in or near urban areas, surrounded by millions of trees of hundreds of different species. Despite their ubiquity and familiarity, most of us take trees for granted and know little of their fascinating natural history or remarkable civic virtues. Jill Jonnes’s Urban Forests tells the captivating stories of the founding mothers and fathers of urban forestry, in addition to those arboreal advocates presently using the latest technologies to illuminate the value of trees to public health and to our urban infrastructure. The book examines such questions as the character of American urban forests and the effect that tree-rich landscaping might have on commerce, crime, and human well-being. For amateur botanists, urbanists, environmentalists, and policymakers, Urban Forests will be a revelation of one of the greatest, most productive, and most beautiful of our natural resources.

Tesla Vs Edison

The Life-Long Feud that Electrified the World

Author: Nigel Cawthorne

Publisher: Chartwell Books

ISBN: 9780785833789

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 192

View: 2584

Nikola Tesla today is largely unknown and overlooked among the great scientists of the modern era. While Thomas Edison, the most famous inventor in American history, gets all the glory for discovering the light bulb. But it was his one-time assistant and life-long arch nemesis, Tesla, who made the breakthrough in alternating current electricity. Edison and Tesla carried on a bitter feud for years, but it was Tesla's AC generators that illuminated the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago under artificial light. Today all homes and electrical appliances run on Tesla's AC current. 120 years ago, they were billed as the 'Twin Wizards of Electricity', here Nigel Cawthorne chronicles the life and times of the two great men to help us finally decide just who really is the Electric King- Edison or Tesla?

Eiffel's Tower

The Thrilling Story Behind Paris's Beloved Monument and the Extraordinary World's Fair That Introduced It

Author: Jill Jonnes

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101052511

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 6174

The story of the world-famous monument and the extraordinary world’s fair that introduced it, by the author of Conquering Gotham and Urban Forests In this first general history of the Eiffel Tower in English, Jill Jonnes-acclaimed author of Conquering Gotham-offers an eye- opening look not only at the construction of one of the modern world's most iconic structures, but also the epochal event that surrounded its arrival as a wonder of the world. In this marvelously entertaining portrait of Belle Époque France, fear and loathing over Eiffel's brash design share the spotlight with the celebrities that made the 1889 Exposition Universelle an event to remember-including Buffalo Bill and his sharpshooter Annie Oakley, Thomas Edison, and artists Whistler, Gauguin, and van Gogh. Eiffel's Tower is a richly textured portrait of an era at the dawn of modernity, reveling in the limitless promise of the future. From the Trade Paperback edition.

Innovate Like Edison

The Success System of America's Greatest Inventor

Author: Michael Gelb,Sarah Miller Caldicott

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9780525950318

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 299

View: 9217

Provides a guide to the creative strategies used by Thomas Edison, counseling inventors and entrepreneurs on how to use these steps to find success in the modern business market.