Bend My Mind and Bend It Again (Or, Circuit Wars) (Or maybe, The Wars of AC/DC)

When we were in elementary school, we learned about Thomas Edison and the light bulb. That was pretty cool.

Then as adults – probably thanks to the internet – we learned that Thomas Edison was a big jerk, thief, and con artist. We then learn to admonish the exploited genius Nikola Tesla. Oh how Edison ripped him off for the practicality of the modern light bulb!

Or did he? I got to wondering about this myself as I summoned light with the flick of my forefinger. It started as, “Even if Tesla invented it, could he have sold it? Popularized it? Delivered it to the world?” It then quickly evolved into, “What did Edison steal from Tesla? When? What happened, exactly? In exactly what way did he steal from him? Even if he did, how exactly did he prevent Tesla from succeeding?” Side note: I’m learning that the minute you ask specific questions about the details of notions – especially emotionally charged notions, they are most frequently dispelled entirely. Ask questions. Always ask for details to tales and you’ll quickly learn just how tall they are.

So you then learn to poke around for the details. You find things like this article: http://geekhistory.com/content/nikola-tesla-versus-thomas-edison-and-search-truth and others like it.

Anyway, the short answer is: he didn’t. Edison didn’t steal the light bulb (or likely anything else) from Tesla, and Tesla was still an extremely successful inventor. Not only that, but Tesla himself was a big jerk and con artist.

In the end, here in this world of jerks and con artists, I’m just glad to have easy access to electricity at all.

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