Two of the biggest inventors of our time – Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are known to everyone, and they are the reason why we have warm and comfortable lives today. Without their work, we would not have many things including the AC current, the gramophone, film, induction motor, the remote control, and the violet ray among many other things. They were both brilliant inventors who lived at the same time, and their paths crossed on more than one occasion. Most of us know that they were rivals, but not many know what started that and why were they not working with each other to improve the world, and why they chose opposite paths instead of collaboration. In this article, we are going to try and answer these questions, and we will list some of the things that you need to know about the epic rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla.
Who had more inventions?
The first thing we are going to talk about is the number of inventions that these masterminds had. It is said that the numbers don’t make a big difference if you have invented something that cannot be topped by anyone else, and both of these people left a huge mark on the world. Both of them invented something that cannot be topped, and both had made the world a better place for all future generations.
When it comes to the number of inventions, Edison made a record that to this day cannot be topped. The exact number of inventions is not known, but it is suspected that he had put his name on close to 1300 things. Some of them are still used to this day, while some did not become so popular. Many people have tried to create more things than him, but no one has even come close to this digit.
Tesla on the other side did not create that many things, but his inventions, even though they are smaller in number have left a bigger mark on the world. It is speculated that during his lifetime he created about 300 different things, but once again, experts are not sure about this number, and it can be even bigger than this digit.
These two people have always competed with each other, and in some way, they even finished each other’s inventions, improved them, and made them more usable or more practical.
Some of the things that Edison will always be remembered for include the mechanical vote recorder, the motion pictures, and the electric light. Tesla, on the other hand, invented the radio transmitter, the Tesla Coil, and the AC electrical supply system.
Even though for them it was never about the quantity, it was always about the quality of the things they created, they still wanted to prove to the world and to each other that one is better than the other.
Both of them started with their inventions at a relatively early age, and even though they were both masterminds, they were both dropouts. Thomas didn’t even finish high school, while Nikola chose to leave his University to pursue other things that for him were more important than formal education. This means that everyone can become an inventor and change the course of the world, no matter your skills and formal education, and places like InventHelp can help you patent the things you’ve created and learn how to start something no matter the previous knowledge you have.
How did their rivalry start?
Now let’s talk more about the way that this rivalry started and why was there a feud between both of the inventors.
Edison was about a decade older than Tesla, and Nikola knew about the famous businessman and admired him from afar for a long time. In 1885, when Edison and Tesla were 38 and 29, respectfully, they started collaborating together. Nikola applied for a job in Thomas’ company, and in the beginning, Thomas agreed to pay him a lot of money, about one million dollars in today’s currency, to improve his inventions and to help him create better things.
Even though Thomas could sense that his young employee was in some ways better, and most likely smarter than him, he did not want to admit this and tried to belittle his inventions and capabilities. At that time, Nikola was not aware of this, and he thought that the cooperation would put them as equals and they could bring their brilliance together and work to make the world a better place.
Nikola got the job and made a lot of improvements to Thomas’ inventions, and when Edison saw that Tesla not only succeeded in the things that he wanted to do but also made additional improvements he backed out on their contract. Edison said that the whole agreement was a joke, he was never actually serious that he is going to pay him one million dollars and he just said that he will give Nikola a raise of some insignificant amount for the things that he did.
Tesla got upset over this, and he decided to resign and stop collaborating with Thomas. This is how their feud began, and in short terms, the hard work that Nikola put in these inventions and improvements was never paid for, and he had to leave the company without getting a dime for the things that he did.
After their unsuccessful collaboration, Nikola managed to raise enough money to start his own business and patent his inventions. Later on, they were both a part of the, so-called, War of the Currents where Thomas supported the use of DC current, and Tesla was adamant that the AC current is the right way to go. Edison spread a lot of misinformation about AC, and this is one of the reasons why Nikola’s inventions were not so successful while he was alive. Tesla’s mark on the world was realized years after his death, and to this day we learn and use the things that he put his signature on.
These are some of the most important things you need to know about their feud, and every aspect of this story has a deeper and more complex meaning. Make sure you explore both of their works to understand how advanced they were for their time and why our lives today would be so much worse if we didn’t have the commodities that both of them created for us.