Difference Between Edison and Tesla with their Early life, Career, Personal life, Death, Political Views, Honors & Awards

While Thomas Edison is known for various inventions (including the light bulb), he was also an astute businessman who was able to market inventions and turn them into viable businesses. Nikola Tesla was the complete opposite: a prolific inventor who died penniless.

When Tesla moved to the US, he idolized Edison and got a job for him. However, they soon had a fight and Tesla resigned. An epic rivalry later developed between Edison and Tesla Over Alternating Current vs. DC. In the early days of electricity, Edison owned patents related to direct current and was an advocate for using that technology to transmit electricity over great distances. However, direct current is difficult to handle and alternating current (AC), invented by Tesla, proved to be a far superior technology for electrical transmission.

Comparative graph                       Difference Between Edison and Tesla     

Edison versus Tesla comparison chart:

Edison Tesla
Full name Thomas Alva Edison Nikola Tesla
Introduction Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices, including the phonograph, movie camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system.
Date of birth February 11, 1847 July 10, 1856
Death date October 18, 1931 (age 84), West Orange, New Jersey, USA January 7, 1943 (age 86), Manhattan, New York, USA
Education School dropout Abandonado del Higher Real Gymnasium Graz University of Technology
Occupation Inventor, entrepreneur Electrical engineering, mechanical engineering.
Famous inventions Phonograph, Stock Indicator, Mechanical Vote Recorder, Electric Light, Motion Pictures, Electric Power Distribution System AC power supply system, radio transmitter, Tesla coil.
Number of patents 1093 At least 278

Contents: Edison vs Tesla

  • 1 early life
  • 2 Early career
  • 3 rivalry
    • 3.1 Working together
    • 3.2 War of the currents
  • 4 notable works
  • 5 personal life
  • 6 death
  • 7 political views
  • 8 taxes
  • 9 honors and awards

Early life                                   Difference Between Edison and Tesla

Thomas Edison was born in Milan, Ohio, as the seventh and youngest child of Samuel Edison Jr. and Nancy Matthews Elliot. He had three months of official schooling, before his mother pulled him out after his teacher called him “confused.” Then his mother taught him at home. He was hard of hearing from scarlet fever as a child.

Nikola Tesla was born on July 10, 1856 in Smiljan, in the then Austrian Empire. His father was a priest in the Serbian Orthodox Church. He was the fourth of five children. In 1873, he contracted cholera and was in bed for nine months. His father promised to send him to the best engineering school if he recovered. He avoided being drafted into the army by fleeing to Tomingaj. He enrolled at the Austrian Polytechnic in Graz and earned high marks, but lost his scholarship and dropped out of his assignment and did not graduate from his third year.

Early career                  

Edison worked as a telegraph operator after saving the three-year-old son of station agent JU MacKenzie from being hit by a train. At age 19, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he worked in news service for the Associated Press bureau. He was fired after experimenting with a lead-acid battery at work, when he spilled sulfuric acid on the ground. He began his work as an inventor in Newark, New Jersey, when he created an automatic repeater, but his first notable invention was the phonograph, which he invented in 1877.

In 1881, Tesla moved to Budapest to work at the Budapst telephone exchange. As the company was not yet functional, he worked at the Central Telegraph Office for several months, after which he received a position as chief electrician at the Stock Exchange. He began working for the Continental Edison Company in France, designing and making improvements to electrical equipment, in 1882.


Working together                                Difference Between Edison and Tesla

In 1884, Tesla moved to work in New York City to work for Edison. Tesla was a huge Edison fan at the time. In 1885, Tesla told Edison that he could improve Edison’s inefficient engine and generators. Edison thought Tesla’s ideas were “splendid”, but “totally impractical”, and apparently they offered him fifty thousand dollars (equivalent to roughly $ 1 million today) if he could do it. Tesla was successful, but Edison claimed the bet was a joke and only offered him a $ 10-a-week raise on Tesla’s $ 18-a-week salary. Tesla resigned.

The web comic The Oatmeal published a tribute to Tesla in which it strongly criticized Edison for his role in War of the Currents.

War of the currents

After Tesla resigned, he raised enough money to found the Tesla Electric Light Company, where he developed patents for AC generators, cables, transformers, lights, and motors. He sold most of his patents to George Westinghouse, who was also in a fight with Edison.

Edison and Tesla were involved in the War of the Currents in the late 1880s, with Edison promoting the use of direct current (DC) for power distribution, for which he held the patents, and Tesla supported the current. alternate, as it allowed large quantities. Of energy to be transmitted to the power of the big cities.

Edison spread misinformation about the dangers of alternating current through publicity stunts in which he or his employees electrocuted animals to demonstrate fatal AC accidents. Edison also lobbied against the use of AC in state legislatures.

George Westinghouse built a power plant in Niagara Falls to power New York City, and AC, clearly the superior technology, won out as a method of delivering energy from power plants to homes. Although Westinghouse had early leadership in developing AC generators, motors, and transmission equipment, General Electric soon hired smart engineers, including the Prussian mathematician Charles Proteus Steinmetz, and closed the gap.

Different approaches

Edison’s method of invention was relentless experimentation. Tesla, on the other hand, preferred to work out the theoretical approach before implementing it with physical designs. When Edison died, coverage by the New York Times included this quote from Tesla describing this difference in approach for the two inventors:

If he had a needle to find in a haystack, he would not stop to reason where it was most likely to be, but would proceed at once, with the feverish diligence of a bee, to examine straw after straw until he found his bee’s object. search for. He was almost a sorry witness to such events, knowing that a little theory and calculation would have saved him ninety percent of his work.

Remarkable work

Edison created the first industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey. Here, he invented the first commercially practical incandescent light and carbon microphone that was used in all telephones until the 1980s. He also patented a system for distributing electricity in 1880 and founded the Edison Illuminating Company, which established a generation system at Pearl. Street for all of lower Manhattan. A critical biography of Edison. – The Wizard of Menlo Park: How Thomas Alva Edison Invented the Modern World – argues that Edison’s greatest invention was his own fame, which he cunningly managed to become “the first great celebrity of the modern age.”

This YouTube video tells a short history lesson on Thomas Edison’s accomplishments, from early telegraph work to the light bulb.

After resigning from Edison’s company, Tesla formed Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing and began developing his ideas for alternating current transmission systems. His investors fired him from the company, but he later founded the Tesla Electric Company in 1887, where he made a brushless alternating current induction motor. He also demonstrated wireless energy transmission (known as the Tesla effect) and patented the Tesla coil in 1891. In 1894, he began experimenting with X-rays. His work was lost in a fire in 1895, but he went on to develop many related inventions. with X-rays, as well as to patent an electrical transmitter that would be used in radio.

Personal life

Edison married Mary Sitwell in 1871. They had three children: Marion, Thomas, and William. Mary died in 1884, and in 1886, Edison married Mina Miller. They had three other children: Madeleine, Charles, and Theodore.

Tesla never married. He worked every day from 9 am to 6 pm and walked to the park every day to feed the pigeons. He became a vegetarian in his later years, and became extremely sensitive to light and sound.


Edison was involved in business almost until his death. Months earlier, he had been involved in advocating for an electric train service in New Jersey. He died of complications from diabetes on October 18, 1931. A plaster mask was made for him.

Tesla died in New York on January 7, 1943. He died of coronary thrombosis. Despite his patents on the power of CA, he died penniless and in debt.

Political Views

Edison’s views were based on nonviolence. During the First World War, it would only work with defensive weapons. He advocated currency reform and opposed the gold standard and debt-based money.

Tesla was an advocate of selective breeding and eugenics, through which he wanted to eliminate the “undesirables” from the population by sterilizing criminals and the mentally ill.


Several places are named after Edison, including Edison, New Jersey, and Thomas Edison State College. The Thomas Alva Edison Memorial Tower and Museum are located in Edison, NJ, and another Edison Museum can be found in Texas.

Tesla appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on his 75th birthday in 1931. The Nikola Tesla Memorial Center opened in Smiljan in 2006. A memorial was also established in Niagara Falls, New York.

Honors & Awards

Edison won the Matteucci Medal in 1887 and was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1890. He was awarded the Franklin Institute in 1915 for discoveries that contributed to the founding of industries and the well-being of the human race, and was awarded with the Navy Distinguished Service Medal in 1920. He received a Congressional Gold Medal in 1928.

Tesla received the Order of Saint Sava, I Class, from the Government of Yugoslavia in 1926, and the Order of the Yugoslav Crown in 1931. He also received the John Scott Medal in 1934, the University of Paris Medal in 1937, and the Medal of San Clemente de Ochrida University, Sofia, Bulgaria in 1939.

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