What Was the War of Currents

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War Of Currents
One of Nikola Tesla’s AC devices

Throughout all of history there have been very few wars that haven’t resulted in the loss of human life. There have been even less that have resulted in a positive outcome for the human race. But there was at least one, and it was called the war of currents.

What was the war of currents? It wasn’t a series of battles involving people throwing fruit at each other like in the worlds biggest food fight, nor was it some sort of war fought on the currents of the high seas. It was a battle over what sort of electricity the average household, factory and business uses. The end result of this war can be felt today in just about everything you do.

The war of currents goes back to the early days of electricity in the 1880’s. As we know there are 2 types of current, AC-alternating current which George Westinghouse advocated for, and DC-direct current which Thomas Edison advocated for. Edison was so against AC that he conducted public exhibitions where he would electrocute animals in public to show them how dangerous it was. But he not only had Westinghouse to contend with. On the side of alternating current was Nikola Tesla. He too conducted exhibitions for the public that demonstrated that AC was also safe. In these demonstrations he would place himself inside a cage that would be charged with electricity, and walk out unharmed.

In the end AC won through due to it’s more practical use. It was more able to be transmitted over large distances and didn’t require constant replacing of spent storage cells. B it wasn’t the end for DC current. DC has it’s place in smaller devices that make everyday activities easier.

The below video contains graphic images of one of Thomas Edison’s public exhibitions demonstrating the dangers of alternating current. Viewer discretion is advised.



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