A long long way from candles...

The other night I was staring off into the distance, which I sometimes do. During this particular zoning-out, I couldn't help but think just how amazing what we've accomplished in the last 200 years. It was only in the 1880s that Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison fought on these lands about the future of electricity. 
AC vs DC; the war of currents; The two fought fervently about how to power the future. Today we take for granted the treasures of these great minds.  

If you're a resident of Niagara and you're unaware that power and lights and modern electricity as we know it is a Niagara invention... then please Wiki it. It all started here. 

Cheers to our moth-like distraction by anything bright and pretty,
Since I don't expect a whole lot of you will pick up a copy of Pierre Berton's "Niagara", nor will many of you even bother to wiki or investigoogle in story... here's a quick recap for you.

This guy...
George Westinghouse
... is George Westinghouse (see the caption under his photo...yeh...I did my homework!) So George here was a bit of a mogul. He had a lot of money and power (just check out the sweet suit and the pocket-watch, he was loaded!)

So George wanted to help out this guy:
This guy is Nikola Tesla (a suave foreigner from Austria who would later get the sweet nickname "The Wizard of the West.") So Nik here like to play with power. He had a sweet lab and a couple fancy degrees in physics and electro-mechanical engineering. 
So in Nik's infinite wisdom, he sorta invented the rotary turbine. He wasn't alone, but he was the big shot on the project who everyone cut checks to...and besides, just look at that face. "I don't always invent the single most important thing since the wheel, but when I do... I get two statues and a legacy of not being well known." *Sigh*

So anyways, these two blokes are all "Ra! Ra! AC power FTW" all the while there's another guy trying to steal the fame. 

So this guy is Edison. I mean technically he's "Thomas Alva Edison" and he's an american inventor, scientist, etc. First and foremost thought, this is Edison "The Wizard of Menlo Park." (Yeh, electricity was so outthere at the time that anyone who could make a spark was a wizard) the businessman who holds a lot of patents on DC electricity.

So Edison is all about the DC current. (AC's whats in your house, DC is like a battery.) Edison says that AC is super dangerous and highly unstable/uncontrollable. 

He's so adamant about this that he even electrocutes and Elephant to prove his point. (No kidding, a real elephant!)

So the elephant (Topsy...learn about her here) was zapped in 1903 by 6600 Volts of AC current. It was such a big deal that they even FILMED it in 1903. Check out that clip here.

Long story short, these guys battled it out trying to prove who was better than the other. All of this was happening right in Niagara Falls Canada and USA. Eventually Edison was silenced and George paid Nikola the big bucks to create the first power stations that used the water-power of the falls. 

So Niagara wasn't the first ever light source... nor was it the very first harnessed electricity. Niagara however was the difference between a couple cities and their batteries and the ever-lasting lit cities we know today!

So there you go. Don't take your region for granted. Some of the brightest ;) minds did their best work in your backyard...


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