Talk:War of Currents

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article is appallingly biased[edit]

This article is appallingly biased. It does the usual Teslaphile nonsense of attributing the entire development of the AC power system to one man. The reality is that functioning commerical AC power systems existed before Tesla even arrived in the US, never mind starting work there as an electrical engineer. Tesla's main practical contribution was an efficient AC motor. Securiger 13:30, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)

You may have a point, in which case I suggest you edit the article accordingly. My own understanding was that the AC system was mostly the work of Westinghouse. However what is undeniable is that the AC system is technically superior in almost every respect to the DC system, so the overall slant of the article is correct. There is no debate these days over which is superior, so if by "bias" you mean not giving the DC system a fair hearing, I don't think there's an engineering case there that can be made. Graham 23:21, 21 Jun 2004 (UTC)
No, I'm not criticising AC (although there are a few areas where DC is preferred - see HVDC - AC certainly is superior in general). It's all the Teslaphile stuff. The reason I lost my cool and had a little rant here rather than just editing, is that it seems to be spreading to nearly every article about AC (in fact I got here immediately after cleaning up another article in the same vein). And that's before you even get to the main [[Category:Nikola Tesla]] articles, like Nikola Tesla itself - protected due to Balkan ethnicity edit wars, so there's no chance to clean up the claims about inventing radar, X-rays, death rays, computers, free universal power and so on. Securiger 00:01, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Clean up the claims about inventing radar, X-rays, death rays, computers, free universal power and so on? No need to ... but I'll surely verify contributions to those topics. JDR 05:49, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC) (PS, I'd review most of his patents before you do so)
The Tesla article series (the stuff in the category) was originally text from a Tesla fan site, so it's not surprising it'll be biased ... hacking with references will do wonders for it, I think ;-) - David Gerard 00:16, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)
The Tesla article series was not originally text from a Tesla fan site (having wrote the majority of the series).
How is it "biased"? This article [originally] was based off of edison's and Telsa's articles.
I look forward to the "hacking with references".
JDR
JDR, I have a busy week coming up, so I'll have to get back to you. However briefly:
  • Claims about inventing radar, X-rays, death rays, computers and free universal power require cleaning up because they are at best gross exaggerations and frequently nonsense. No, I haven't read all 700 or so of Tesla's patents, and I have no intention of doing so. But I have read several of the ones that Teslaphiles allege to support various claims. In each instance where I have so far checked in detail I have found the claims to be flatly wrong, and the claimant simply doesn't understand the paper. For example, US patent 645576 is often claimed to be the proof that Tesla invented radio communication prior to Marconi, and was accepted as such by US courts to invalidate Marconi's patents. I have read this patent in detail, and the claims about it are clearly untrue. It doesn't even discuss electromagnetic waves, never mind radio communication. If the court was not deliberately dishonest (which is widely believed to be the case), then they were confused by the difference between electromagnetic waves and plasma currents.
  • You ask How is it "biased"? This article [originally] was based off of edison's and Telsa's articles. You are joking, right? The Tesla article is one of the worst examples! It was recently protected due to edit wars over disputed facts! In it's talk page, there are no less than six seperate sections disputing the factuality of the article (that is, the technical factuality; there is even more dispute about biographic details), including a long section I added. Plus, it makes extensive use of weasel words like "may have", "suggests", and "reportedly" to pump up Tesla while avoiding outright lies about unsupportable or excessively exaggerated claims. Ah, I have just noticed you replied to my dispute on that Talk page; I missed it in the Balkan edit wars, and will look at it tomorrow. However, I can see this is going to be a long hard slog; we are not going to agree quickly, so I have added a disputed tag to the page. Securiger 05:18, 3 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Tesla is a fascinating character, and I wrote a long article about his work on high-frequency current [1]. However, Securiger's cautions should be taken to heart. There is a current fad, almost a cult, of exaggerating Tesla's work. Tesla himself, like all celebrity inventors of his era, promoted himself aggressively and may have been less than honest about some of his experimental results with wireless power. It's also become fashionable to villify Edison. Folks like Lawrence Lessig have made Edison the ugly poster child for the anti-patent movement, but that is politics not history. Let's honor Tesla and Edison by reporting their lives and work accurately. DonPMitchell (talk) 19:25, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Why Not Have a New Section Within the Article on Bias?[edit]

Or call it something like, The War of the Currents Continues.

In the U.S. Edison's name and face are everywhere despite the fact that it was he who lost the War of the Currents to Westinghouse and Tesla. Edison is mythologized as a giant as the "inventor of the light bulb" as if there is only one thing that is a light bulb. Note that the Edison entry says he was the inventor of "a long lasting light bulb" which is quite different from what American school children are taught. Some may say this description of "a" light bulb that "was the primary type of bulb in use for a long time" (is this what "long-lasting" means?) is biased (It will be interesting to check to see if the Wiki editor who wrote that description has also contributed to Tesla articles.) U.S. children are not taught about the Current Wars or thet there was even a choice and for all they know, things are as they are thanks only to Edison. Edison's public, circus-style electrocutions of dogs, cats, and (one) elephant, along with his work on the electric chair, his conviction of the scientific correctness of his own ideas over those of a foreigner outweighing his own moral conviction that capital punishment is wrong, all all conveniently left out of American history and the U.S. indoctrination system. The Wikipedia Tesla entry may be accused by some of bias on Edison as inventor of "the" lightbulb, in that it includes a patent for a light bulb that needs no wires, practically identical to the screw-in type that is the only type most of us know. There are no rock bands in the U.S. called Edison, as far as my limited awareness extends. That a group of rock-and-rollers (young rebels. bucking the Establishment?) would choose to call themselves Tesla is only possible a unique identifier or useful as a means of differentiation from the masses in a world where Tesla himself has largely been erased from history in an almost Stalinist fashion. The U.S. government wouldn't hire him in his later years, he was dismissed as a Mad Scientist, and yet the government immediately seized all his papers and effects on the day he was discovered dead and declared them "top secret." I guess the Wikipedia entries on Tesla all immediately refer to his ethnicity as a Serb and then much later on get to the facts that he did most of his work in the U.S.; his patents were mostly issued by the U.S. government; his (U.S.) radio patent was upheld as valid (against a challenge by a rival) by the U.S. Supreme Court; he was a U.S. citizen, and died in the U.S. But they never say, as they should, right up top, "Tesla was an American scientist and engineer." Indeed he was. Why has the United States essentially refused to claim him as an American scientist? I believe this is due to prejudice against Eastern Europeans; Edison was Dutch and English, the two highest-status ethnicities in the U.S. If George Westinghouse had not bought Tesla's patents and processess and championed the cause; if Tesla himself had been the only opposition to Edison, we'd all be using DC power today. On Wikipedia the bias in favor of Tesla in related entries seems to be moved forward by those Tesla fans who just happen to favor the underdog and those who share his nationality, and finally, as mentioned in the talk pages here, those who say that ultimately the bias is borne out by history inasmuch as Tesla's arguments for AC ultimately won out. As for my own bias, I certainly like to side with the underdog, especially if he turns out to be right. On the other hand, Edison was and is a man worthy of admiration. But if anybody has any documented sources for a current bias debate or any historical explanation of the bias for or against Tesla or Edison, we could have a new section here. RUReady2Testify 20:34, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


Well it is a largely a choice made ages ago and it trickles down as an economy grows around it. Name one home appliance which does not use a rectifier today Take this example, the bulb, the fan and a couple of other things like maybe the radio were the only things which existed during the "War of currents" era. Who predicted the TV and the Comps and the Microwaves, all of which today internally have an SMPS and work on 48V DC, funnily :)) People jumpstarted on AC, and which is why electronics was born, to solve the problem around AC.. else that billion dollar industry would be dead, right? :) Finally the choices are, from an instituional perspective about money and how to spread the wealth. My father saw the last remains of 240V DC while he grew up too, and those fans and those lights worked just as well (hang the fact that the brushes were a problem... the regulators and the AC fans slowing down due to coil magnetization today are a probably a bigger problem). So it is all about time and history, practically probably with solar cells today, DC will have a brighter future... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.227.207.194 (talk) 08:48, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

AC vs. DC[edit]

Someone (User:cataclysm) recently took it upon himself to change the section where the basic advantage of AC over DC is discussed. Yes, AC is slightly more efficient than DC due to the effect mentioned, and high frequencies better than low - but this is NOT the principal reason why AC is used instead of DC. The overwhelming advantage of AC is that it can be transformed to a high voltage and high voltage/low current distribution will only suffer relatively minor power losses due to line resistance. Besides, this explantion can be understood easily by the layman (remember, our dear readers?) whereas the electron behaviour that transfers the charge is a far more esoteric effect (and wrongly given, in this context). Graham 06:29, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I thought that the discussion of Ohm's law didn't do much for AC vs. DC, as it applies equally to both. Maybe this could be moved. These days, DC-DC inverters can easily change the voltage of a DC supply (and are small enough to fit in laptop displays) - I guess this is a bit out of context as DC-DC inverters weren't available at the time. I kinda hoped my explanation was accessible, but obviously not (I guess that's what you get for hanging around with engineers). I would say that the transmission loss in DC vs. AC is a more significant problem than voltage conversion as far as infrastructure goes... could you imagine a power station every block, with a fuel supply etc.? On a personal note I think "took it upon himself" and "wrongly given, in this context" is a bit harsh. Yours, Cataclysm 06:44, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
Apologies for the personal remarks, on reflection they probably are a bit harsh. I wasn't contesting that what you wrote was factually correct, just whether it was appropriate in this context. The high voltage/low current does apply equally to AC and DC of course, but it was the simple ability to transform AC to a high voltage using a transformer that allowed power distribution over any worthwhile distance at the end of the 19th century, and so was instrumental in its rapid adoption worldwide. This was an era long before DC-DC converters were conceived of, as you rightly point out. Also, a DC-DC converter does not easily approach the efficiency of a simple transformer, which can easily be 98%+, so even if we were starting now with inventing a power distribution system, AC would still be chosen, but not for the reason you put forward. For the record I thought your explantion was accessible enough - just irrelevant in the context of the "war of currents", at which time I doubt this physical difference was even known. Perhaps your contribution would find a better home at alternating current? Graham 12:14, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

In central business districts, DC was used very successfully for many years. A 120 or 120/240 volt network was installed below street level with a network vault outside major buildings. Heavy fused leads carried the current into the building to the building panel, and circuits from there went to all the floors to operate lights, the elevator, fans, pumps, toasters, vacuum cleaners, radios, and all manner of office equipment. A 10 story building might be thus served by 120/240 volt DC risers. A massive central battery maintained the current if the generators all failed simultaneously. Rotary converters were used to convert DC to AC or AC to DC or AC of 60 Hz to AC of lower frequency for railroads. Customers loved the continuity of the power, which remained on through power storms and failures of a transmission cable, since the transmission was redundant and the distribution had battery backup. Eventually, by the 1930's engineers at GE and Westinghouse developed Network Protector switches and relays which allowed the replacement of the DC network by a low voltage senondary AC network, at 120 volts per phase or 208 volts between phases. The protector closed automatically when the transformer was energized on the high side and the phase relationship was correct for power to lflow to the secondary low voltage grid. Continuity of power to the customer was achieved by the fact that four or more 12kv AC lines could be used to power several transformers each at various spots around the grid, which could be many blocks by many blocks. Such a grid might go for decades without even a momentary interruption, unlike normal AC service where a line can be interrupted by lightning or tree contact, or an underground line by cable failure. The grid would continue to be supplied by the remaining lines, and the network protector would open automatically to isolate the faulted primary. Secondary faults would literally burn clear, with 50,000 amps or so of available fault current. When the changeover from DC grid to AC grid was made, the customer did not notice any change for the most part. Universal motors worked on AC as well as DC, and mercury rectifiers were supplied to power big DC motors. With AC available, building transformer vaults were added as well as spot networks on various floors of high rises. This part of the history should be added to the article, I think, with suitable references. Most of the Wikipedia articles give the impression that DC distribution was abandoned by the end of the 19th century, which was certainly not the case for central business districts of many large cities around the world. Edison 21:36, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

DC alive if not well[edit]

As of late June, 2007, the article claims: "In January 2005, Consolidated Edison announced that it would cut off DC service to its remaining 1600 customers (all in Manhattan) by the end of the year." While literally true, that is not particularly interesting. As with many prior "final cutoffs," the one named was abandoned. At www.coned.com/sales/business/bus_elec.asp, a reader will find that Con Ed went for the gold instead, proposing surcharges ranging from $588 to $91,000 per year plus $0.0231 per kWh, approved in part. This was an increase from previous suracharges starting at $385 per month (Jay Romano, A push to unplug DC power, NY Times, March 18, 2001).

I wish[edit]

I wish the article title was War of the currents - would seem to be better English. --Wtshymanski 20:42, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Edison[edit]

Interesting article, It is funny how most modern power transmission text books always site the fact that DC is indeed more efficent over long distances. Funny how we go around in circles........

First Transmission between Cities?[edit]

This article states that the first transmission of electric power between cities was from Niagara Falls to Buffalo in 1896, but that is incorrect. Power was transmitted from an AC power plant in Oregon City to Portland, Oregon, in 1889.

Nope, 1891, in Germany - I'll look up the reference. --17:56, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
In case anyone is still curious, check out International Electro-Technical Exhibition - 1891. also see Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1890, but that's not between cities. --Wtshymanski (talk) 00:20, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

The Folsom Powerhouse in Folsom, CA is a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark and a National Historic Landmark for the longest 3-phase high-voltage AC transmission up to that time. It first transmitted to Sacramento, CA, 21 miles away, on July 13, 1895. While there is some dispute over whether this is actually the longest up to that time, it is certainly before Niagara Falls' 1896 date. Also--according to Wikipedia's article on General Electric, Thomson Houston and GE merged in 1892. This article strongly implies that the merger and GE's production of AC generators was after Niagara Falls powerplant. Not true! In fact, the Folsom Powerhouse (now a California State Historic Park) still has its 1895 AC generators. 207.114.244.5 (talk) 18:10, 11 July 2009 (UTC)

Bias[edit]

I know the discussion over this article has died down but after stumbling upon it, I felt compelled to comment. This article does seem to be excessively favoring Tesla, (e.g. a section is called Edison's Propaganda). I would like for this article to perhaps be examined by electrical experts because there seems to be no other way to untangle and remove the issue of bias without affecting the article.--Jonthecheet 02:41, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

The bias is only legitimate. If Edison had his way, he would've had AC banned. --Amit 08:05, 25 February 2006 (UTC)


Tesla was not closely involved in the electrification of Niagara Falls. He sold Westinghouse his patent and had a Chief Engineer title, but spent his time experimenting with high voltage , high frequency effects in his New York lab. Westinghouse was producing AC at around 130 hz when Tesla sold him the motor patent, and Tesla could not get his motors to work satisfactorily at that frequency. But to his followers, he is the only person to ever touch AC. Edison 21:44, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

"Empires of Light" says Tesla never visited Niagara Falls until 1896, a year after everything was installed. --Wtshymanski 17:56, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Have you checked out some better references? Empires of light is ok, but notthe best bio on Tesla. J. D. Redding 19:42, 4 April 2007 (UTC)


Who owns Tesla's patents today? GE?

The patents have all lapsed. They are a century old.

Westinghouse owned them. Edison 21:44, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

This article is biased to those who favour Edison over Tesla and I would imagine the same bias exists from the Edison angle. It will never go away as the AC vs.DC debate is a microcosm of the Tesla vs. Edison debate. There is a jealousy between both camps. Arguments can be made for both currents when different factors are considered but the above dribble is no more than a Pete Rose vs. Ty Cobb debate. There is no doubt that AC existed before Tesla even hit America, however, he revolutionized it by catapulting it into what it is today, and for that, it will always be tagged to his name due to assimilation. So, to put into laymans terms for all you EEs who chose to use Wikipedia as a forum to vent, the fridge, like AC, was a good idea, but not until the first beer was pulled out. I suggest you put your textbooks away and make your fridges a great invention. Relax!!! This is Wikipedia!



Hey, I'm doing a project on Edison, and every source I find on the Edison vs. Tesla conflict is extremely biased towards Tesla. Can anyone recommend some good sources to check out on the subject? 68.54.117.60 (talk) 23:59, 17 September 2008 (UTC)Savanna

Energy treatise of transmission line theory[edit]

Is there any energy domain treatise of transmission line theory? I remember there were few out there.


Edison would have had AC banned I believe. But it is ironic that he had to fight against the gas companies, during the early years, to get electricity up and running.

It is also ironic that all "useable" equipment is DC, wonder if "gas" was indeed better than sitting and computing power factors and impedence losses!


Any chances of adding 2 capacitors in series and tapping the load across each "half" to step down the voltage? Seems to work like the fridge for me ;o)

well well why is it that all grids lock back on DC? there must be a reason for this.

NPOV Removal?[edit]

Could someone list the specific points in a bullet list or numbered list so some resolution can be done about the npov tag? Otherwise it should be removed. 204.56.7.1 18:58, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

Who named it "War of Currents"? Being capitalized I presume it has been labelled as a proper name by someone, which means it should have a reference and be explained. If a wikipedian made it up then renaming should be discussed. Cburnett 05:26, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Irony?[edit]

Is it just me or is this a bit odd sounding: in an article about the War of Currents the second line is “Several undercurrents lay beneath this rivalry.” Could we change that? Maybe? --Dolphinn 21:11, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

Question about current, voltage and power loss[edit]

"Since metal conducting wires have a certain resistance, some power will be wasted as heat in the wires. This power loss is given by P = I2R"

P = I2R shows that if we say double the current, the power loss more than doubles. Which equation shows the effect of increasing the voltage? Doing some rearranging I came up with P = V2/R, is this correct? If so it would show mathematically that doubling the voltage does not lead to as much power loss as doubling the curent. However this only follows if R > 1 and I have no idea what typical values for R would be. Have I got this completely wrong?Shorvath 05:56, 31 March 2007 (UTC)

It depends on where you're measuring R - none of us electrical types have managed to explain this correctly. When we say the power loss is proportional to I*I*R we mean the R of the conductors. POwer lost as heat in the conductors represents a loss. It might be better to say the power supplied to the line is the sum of the power delivered by the line plus power lost. There's two R's then, one in the conductors, one in the load. --Wtshymanski 14:30, 31 March 2007 (UTC)
the continuous current carried is essentially reactive, with a value typically in the 3000-4000 A range. The power loss is then due to the resistance of the line when this current goes through : R*I*I, the other formula that you use does not apply because the line does not carry a resistive current !. Dingy 02:33, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

Interesting, but take this perspective: let V be the rms AC voltage /or flat DC voltage, R be the resistance and X be the impedence. Hence the actual power used Active power = V.I.cos(phase) = V^2 .R /(R^2+X^2) R/(R^2+x^2) being I cos(phase) now if the voltage source was DC power consumed = V^2/R < V^2.R/(R^2+X^2) as (R^2+X^2)/R > R So is it correct to say that DC would actually consume less power i.e if there was no impedence to worry about, (other than the transient) a DC transmission line would actually use less power? As far as current goes and conductor rating goes, for any high voltage you need a thicker wire till it melts, however assume one was to send rms value(220V) DC instead of AC one would need the same type of cables and yet experience less power loss? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alokdube (talkcontribs) 07:07, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Just to comment on the new perspective, actually the transmission by HVDC has less losses than HVAC due to the skin effect and the corona discharges of ac voltage. HVDC-HVDC inverters were invented recently, so changing the whole grid wouldn't be such a good idea. Besides the power lost in the inverter section would also be big... But HVDC transmission (not distribution!!) is actually already in use (https://pscad.com/resource/File/Library/BasisPrinciplesofHVDC.pdf). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tarkul (talkcontribs) 21:53, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

Skin effect is a function of frequency only. 60 Hz leads to 8.5 mm as characteristical depth of current flow in a conductor of copper. Only hollow tubes make sense for high-current applications at 60 Hz instead of massive cylindrical rods (wires), if more than (+/-) 17 mm diameter would be necessary for a fitting conducting cross section area. (Copper, eventually silverplated) litz wire make sense only for frequencies above 100 kHz where skin depth decreases to 0.2 mm and less, and it works only if all its parallel tiny filaments are isolated from each other, usually by enamel. --Helium4 (talk) 10:13, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Not just frequency. The resistivity and permeability of the material also enter into the calculation, as anyone shopping for cookware to use with an induction cooker gets to find out. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:15, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

Could someone list the specific points for cleanup? It would help to rectify the situation. If not listed n the next several days, the tag should be removed. J. D. Redding 19:43, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

  • [Insert Item here]

Citations needed[edit]

List of citations needed. Place citations under bullet. J. D. Redding 19:55, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

  • A number of deaths from the Great Blizzard of 1888 were attributed to collapsing power lines that cluttered cities running DC power grids.
    • http://aimeedupre.blogspot.com/2007/02/1888-blizzard.html "Across the Northeast trains became trapped by the increasingly heavy snow, which knocked down power and telegraph poles by the score. Passengers were trapped in the railroad cars."
    • http://www.vny.cuny.edu/blizzard/building/building.html As the poles grew in number over the course of the decade, New York’s streets became evermore dangerous. Wires snapped on a regular basis as a result of over tension, wind, or ice weighing them down. The electrical wires carried a significant charge, but the other wires carried electricity as well. As wires snapped and lashed across streets, smashing against buildings, thrashing about, spraying sparks in all directions, blocks were rendered impassable until power to the downed lines could be cut. These charged electrical vines were a recognized public nuisance, and, after 1884, the city government and city businesses entered a protracted struggle over how to best solve the problem. Whenever an ordinance was passed by the city to bury the wires, businessmen, such as Western Union head Jay Gould, would object and win an injunction against enforcement.
  • Edison personally presided over several AC-current-driven executions of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs, to demonstrate to the press that alternating current was more dangerous than his system of direct current
    • Brandon, C. (1999). The electric chair: an unnatural American history. Page 9
  • the initial installation at Niagara was 25 Hz in anticipation of long-distance transmission to Toronto
The ref above from CUNY says that there were 1500 arc litghts in New York City by the time of the blizzard. The arc lights were fed by high voltage AC carried on overhead wires, near the top of the power poles shown in the illustration. Lower down were alarm wires, telegraph wires and probably phone wires. Edison had placed his wires underground, at great cost and effort, from the first day of operation of the Pearl Street Station. Because they were only at about 110 volts to ground, it was possible to insulate them well enough for burial in iron pipes connected at iron manholes. When the blizzard hit, the overhead wires fell and carried dangerous high voltages down to street level and onto alarms and telegrah wires. Several wiremen had been electricuted by the overhead wires even before the blizzard. Contemporary reports in the New York Times said the Edison system continued supplying power during the blizzard, because the underground wires were not affected. I edited the article to reflect this. Edison 23:23, 27 June 2007 (UTC)
Bullsh*t?
AC was not in widespread use at this time. If you want to try to smear AC, get a references to back up the claims. These were DC lines nearly universally, but not _may_ not be only Edison's alone (Edison's company was not the only DC power company). Edison did have some underground lines, but not all of his lines were underground. 69.76.192.18 11:21, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

executions[edit]

Edison, a proponent of DC, called AC, the killer current, and was a proponent of using AC for electrocutions, a process that Edison called 'Westinghousing'. Westinghouse, a proponent of AC, thought that the condemed should be put to death with DC, a process that Westinghouse called 'Edisoning'. CorvetteZ51 12:59, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Nice joke, but do you have a reference? Edison 05:02, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

A few points:[edit]

It says somewhere in here that underground transmission voltages are lower than overhead transmission voltages because of insulation issues. That's not really true; the voltages are about the same in most cases. It's true that underground transmission can cost more, and it can't be overloaded in an emergency as much as overhead open wires can be.

Nobody missed DC in the cities for several reasons. The most interesting was that the leakage currents--they're unavoidable even in carefully-engineered systems--caused great corrosion in other buried utilities. This is still a problem in places where there are street railways powered by DC.

I think the discussion of the advantages of AC vs. DC in every conceivable electrical device is, well, unnecessary. Automobiles use DC because there's a battery to deal with. Telephones use DC because they'd sound awfully funny with AC power. Electrical substations use 120v DC (supplied with substantial lead-acid battery banks) to run their circuit breakers.

One advantage of Edison's DC system not mentioned in the article was that you could use a bank of storage batteries as both a back-up supply and to adjust the voltage of the system. Both were common practices in the early days. (Now, it looks like AEP will be using sodium-sulfur batteries to back up its transmission system. Amazing how it all comes back around, this time courtesy of high-power electronic devices. Kinsler33 07:11, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

AfD nomination removed[edit]

I just removed an AfD from this article which was added by an editor with no other edits. The stated reason is in my opinion inaccurate - while there is extensive mention of Tesla, it's in context and the primary dispute was between Edison and Westinghouse. The article is linked from dozens of other articles. --Wtshymanski 14:36, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

Westinghouse was using much of tesla's work. The true fight was between Tesla and Edison. Tesla was backed by Westinghouse. J. D. Redding 14:37, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Former FA candidate[edit]

Look at [2] and see if we can't fix some of the reasons this didn't make FA in 2004! --Wtshymanski (talk) 21:01, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Future DC Grid?[edit]

Did anyone read that article in the Economist a while ago about how a DC grid might be the way of the future? They claim DC can now be used to more effectively transmit power long distances (voltage can be effectively stepped up) and works well with things like wind mills and "smart grids". Should that be mentioned in the article? That there is some speculation that ultimately the Edison design may win out in some places? TastyCakes (talk) 19:58, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

This article already refers to HVDC which is for transmission, not distribution. We're not going to see DC at the wall plug any time soon, barring a few outlets in camper trailers. Edison's concept of utilization, distribution and generation at the same low DC voltage is not coming back. --Wtshymanski (talk) 14:22, 13 July 2008 (UTC)
Unless superconductors become practical (see my comment below). Although, with superconductors the voltage is technically zero (since the current is nonzero and the resistance is zero). Stonemason89 (talk) 03:35, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Source?[edit]

Is there any source for this statement: Edison's series of animal executions peaked with the filmed electrocution of Topsy, a Coney Island circus elephant. The event ist dated 1903, 15 years after the invention of the electric chair. All patents, including that for the transformator, expired earlier und The New York Edison Co. obviously was 1903 not in the ownership of Thomas Alva Edison. Source: a brief history of con edison

In my opinion, there is no relationship to the war of currents. it was in the interest of the owners of luna park, coney island, to get publicity and it was in the interest of The Edison Manufacturing Co., a film producing company of Thomas A. Edison, to get spectacular pictures for their business with the kinetoscope.

Furthermore, I cant't see any prove for a responibility of Mr. Edison for the execution of the elephant. It was a descison of the owners of luna park. A New York studio of one of his companies took pictures, that's all.

Source of the Event, Thomas Alva Edison is not mentioned: Online-Archiv The New York Times: CONEY ELEPHANT KILLED; Topsy Overcome with Cyanide of Potassium and Electricity. 5. Januar 1903 --Hgn-p (talk) 23:40, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Modern use of DC[edit]

I'm curious, and I'm not sure if this would belong in this article or another article, how the remnant DC customers of Con Ed dealt with use of DC. Did they have to buy converters for their appliances that required AC? Did they get a hold of very special models of appliances that worked with DC? I mean, what happened when they went to the store and bought a new stereo, then tried to plug it into their outlet at home? 63.87.189.17 (talk) 16:43, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Weren't electrical applications at this time limited mostly to light bulbs (which I believe work find with either AC or DC)? That'd be my guess - there simply weren't widely used appliances as we think of them today. TastyCakes (talk) 18:24, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
From what I've read (references not handy), most of the uses of DC after, oh, say, 1930 or so, would be for things like elevator motors (which work fine on DC), and not so much for wall-plug power. Some old table radios were "universal" and could work on 60 Hz, 25 Hz or DC (if you plugged in the outlet the right way). Mind you, the New Yorker Hotel had a DC power system of its own. Ironically, Tesla spent his last years in a DC powered hotel. --Wtshymanski (talk) 18:49, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


Speaking of Modern Use ...

To this day, major telecommunications companies still use DC to power their support systems. It would be interesting to see a technical update from one of the major telecoms. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 137.254.4.6 (talk) 19:15, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Edison may have the last laugh[edit]

If superconductors ever become a practical means of transmitting power over long distances, we'll probably end up going back to DC. As the article mentions, the reason we use AC now is because AC has lower power losses over such distances. With superconductors, though, the power loss for DC is zero, so this isn't a factor. Trying to run an AC current through a superconductor would lead to nonzero power loss since all AC currents act like antennas to some respect, radiating energy.

Perhaps we should mention this possibility in the article somewhere? Stonemason89 (talk) 03:31, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Cite it and write it. We don't do original research here. Seems unlikely in the extreme; any time I've seen superconductors in use, there's always a squad of nervous lab coats around shuffling empty liquid helium containers in and out. The power loss is not zero, because you have a large (and necessarily inefficient) cooling plant at work. One might as well say if Wardneclyffe had worked, we'd all have free power now. Again, you're never going to see the same DC voltage from generator terminals thorugh transmission lines and distribution to the wall plug - the Edison system is dead as far as that goes. --Wtshymanski (talk) 13:13, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Electrocution of animals not properly sourced[edit]

I have a major problem with this statement not being supported DIRECTLY by the source cited:

"Edison carried out a campaign to discourage the use of alternating current, including spreading disinformation on fatal AC accidents, publicly killing animals, and lobbying against the use of AC in state legislatures. Edison directed his technicians, primarily Arthur Kennelly and Harold P. Brown, to preside over several AC-driven killings of animals, primarily stray cats and dogs but also unwanted cattle and horses."

The source cited is pieced together rather than directly stating that his technicians presided over these killings, and therefore should not be used to back up this statement. The only things that I gathered from the source as presented were that they got their directions weekly, and the State of New York electrocuted animals for testing, not that Edison directed them to preside over the testing. Monsieurdl mon talk 12:34, 7 October 2011 (UTC)

Ref re Alleged dangers of "Low-frequency (50–60 Hz) alternating currents" vs "similar levels of DC "[edit]

The source cited for this sentence of War of Currents#Early transmission analysis:

"Low-frequency (50–60 Hz) alternating currents can be more dangerous than similar levels of DC since the alternating fluctuations can cause the heart to lose coordination, inducing ventricular fibrillation, a deadly heart rhythm that must be corrected immediately.[17]"

is "Wiggers, C. J. et al. 1940". I expected to find "Wiggers" in a Bibliograpy, or maybe further reading, but it is not there.! This type of issue seems to come up regularly on the Ref desks, and I remember taking part in such discussion as an IP editor and finding sources. Has there ever been a locateable source for this statement? (though it seems reasonable, it may not be true.) And wp:verifiability requires it to be reliably sourced.
Oh dear, Wiggers is also cited at Ventricular fibrillation too (ref #22), but no title or anything else to identify the 'source'.

  • Perhaps "Wiggers, C. The mechanism and nature of ventricular fibrillation. The American Heart Journal 1940; 20, 399-412" ref #9 from Sotalol "Sotalol is a drug used in individuals with rhythm disturbances (cardiac arrhythmias) of the heart," is it? - 220 of Borg 22:00, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Orphaned references in War of Currents[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of War of Currents's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Bláthy_HPO":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 11:09, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Tesla vs Edison?[edit]

I removed (most of) the paragraph (diff) on "undercurrents" in a "rivalry" between Tesla and Edison in the "War of Currents" because it put forward a premise that this was simply a Tesla/Edison thing and tried to verify it by citing a series of anecdotal stories about Tesla when he worked for Edison. The claim that there was a direct rivalry during the "War of Currents" is unverified. Also in the section was an unverified claim that Tesla was a partner with Westinghouse. Westinghouse licensed Tesla's patents and hired him as a consultant, but that is not a "partnership". Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:44, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Nevertheless, Tesla is often identified as joining Westinghouse against Edison. The war is even characterized by some sources as pitting Tesla against Edison.
  • "War of the Currents", PBS. "With the breakthrough provided by Tesla's patents, a full-scale industrial war erupted."
  • "A War of Currents, and Rival Geniuses", New York Times. "This highly publicized 'war of currents' embitters both Edison and Tesla..."
  • "Edison vs. Westinghouse: A Shocking Rivalry", Smithsonian. "Tesla was crushed and claimed that Edison not only refused to consider AC power, but also declined to compensate him properly for his work. Tesla left Edison in 1885 and set out to raise capital on his own... the industrialist George Westinghouse... bought some of Tesla’s patents..."
  • Tom McNichol (2006) AC/DC: The Savage Tale of the First Standards War. Describes Tesla and Westinghouse as a team formed to push for alternating current, to oppose Edison's direct current.
  • Antonio López (2008), Mediacology: A Multicultural Approach to Media Literacy in the 21st Century, page 64. "When you look at the history of the "war of currents" between Tesla and Edison..."
  • Michael B. McElroy (2010) Energy: Perspectives, Problems, and Prospects, page 272. "Westinghouse and Tesla would eventually win the War of Currents but not before Edison would put up a stiff fight."
  • The New York Times Presents Smarter by Sunday, page 491. "Newspapers called the growing competition between AC and DC (and the feud between Tesla and Edison) the 'War of Currents.'"
  • K. Krishna Murty (2008) 50 Timeless Scientists, page 58. "Tesla and Edison developed characteristic disdain for each other. As a result of this 'War of Currents' Westinghouse became almost bankrupt."
  • Michael A. Stusser (2007) The Dead Guy Interviews, page 251. "Though Tesla's discovery of AC for electrical power is one of the most important findings of the modern era, already famous super- inventor Thomas Edison had his own version of electricity (the inferior DC), thus starting the 'War of Currents'".
  • Paul Atkinson, Robert Vieira (2012) Beginning Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Programming, page 621. "What Tesla and Edison's 'War of Currents' was to electricity, Bill Inmon and Ralph Kimball have brought to data warehouse design."
  • Kathy Wilson Peacock (2009) Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, page 277. "Tesla pioneered alternating current (AC) electricity, which led to the War of Currents with Thomas Edison, who promoted direct current electricity. Tesla won..."
  • Richard Cadena (2009) Electricity for the Entertainment Electrician & Technician, page 73. "...'War of Currents' between Edison, a staunch proponent of DC, and the team of Tesla and Westinghouse..."
  • James Wei (2012) Great Inventions that Changed the World, page 67. "After the 'War of Currents' with Nikola Tesla, Edison went on to do other research..."
I think Tesla should be named in the lead section. Binksternet (talk) 18:35, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Why? Clearly by 1890 Tesla wasn't interested as something as mundane as *wires* for transmitting electricity - he was deep into the high frequency ionized plasmas by then. The Tesla article here gives no indication he paid any attention to Edison after 1885. --Wtshymanski (talk) 20:53, 25 March 2013 (UTC)
Problems with the sources re: Edison/Tesla war.
  • PBS source is has been highly inaccurate, partly because its a simple website boil down of a documentary written from a Tesla POV by Margaret Cheney et-al.
  • "A War of Currents, and Rival Geniuses" is fiction.
  • Edison vs. Westinghouse: A Shocking Rivalry" - Tesla left (or was thrown out of) Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing over AC, not Edison.
The rest of the sources have the problems of being fairly unreliable boil downs of the topic with claims like Westinghouse bought Tesla's patents (he actually licensed them), claims Westinghouse and Tesla were a "team" (Tesla was hired by Westinghouse for one year as a consultant and gave up because he didn't work well with other engineers), claims Tesla discovered AC (errrr..... no).
Per: Tesla vs. Edison - An attractive human story, but this isn't engineering, many engineers left Edison, not just Tesla.:::Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 00:44, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
And yet the above list of sources shows what public perception may entail. The reader must be introduced to Tesla in the lead section but in the proper context. Binksternet (talk) 15:33, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
If there is a public perception, that could be addressed in an "In popular culture" section, if there are references to a known miss-perception on the part of the public. That could then be summarized in the lead. Noticing a miss-perception itself may not be enough to be in this article, the article Earth hints at other views on Earth creation and age but it is not in the lead. The article Galaxy does not in any way address a large public perception that galaxies are 6000 years old. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 19:27, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Early transmission analysis?[edit]

Moved this section to talk. Wikipedia does not contain analysis per WP:NOT#OR. Contains unreferenced claims such as Tesla made it "clear that AC was the future". Large parts of this section also seem to be redundant to other article content. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 16:23, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

I am reverting your edits. You have taken one of the best and most interesting articles on Wikipedia and turned it into something dull and boring and lacking of detail. Are you on some kind of anti-Tesla witch-hunt? :-) No, not really, but after this article was first nominated for featured article status, Tesla seems to have become some kind of popular hero. Now we are seeing the whole f***ing war fought over again, this time on the pages Wikipedia. You can only write history – especially on Wikipedia – once things are settled. I thought this issue was settled a hundred years ago. Seems not! -- Petri Krohn (talk) 04:11, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
The problem cited was WP:NOT#OR.... in this case a section specifically labeled and containing "analysis". Please try to read the guideline (or in this case policy) being cited before you revert something. I have reworded again to remove redundant statements and unverified analysis, some of which seems to be incorrect (for example Westinghouse was already building an AC system before he even heard of Tesla's patents, so Tesla was not making it "clear that AC was the future", people had reached that conclusion already). Feel free to fulfill WP:BURDEN if you think something should be added back. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 15:27, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

This need to be restored. User:Fountains Seems to be removing relevant info from articles. --J. D. Redding 12:56, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Most of the material was not deleted, it was simply moved to link it up with the same material that appeared elsewhere in the article to remove redundant and repetitive content (see this and this edit). It was also slightly re-written to match any provided references. The remaining unverified analysis was removed. Fountains of Bryn Mawr (talk) 13:11, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Lead needs a summary.[edit]

Lead needs a summary. Badly ... --J. D. Redding 05:50, 28 July 2013 (UTC)

Meanwhile in Europe[edit]

So what was happening in Europe? They had some DC systems, too - who were the players there, was there more than just AEG ( which at its start was an Edison patent licensee, but rapidly went its own way) ? Tons of stuff on the Hungarians but no context, as usual. --Wtshymanski (talk) 02:39, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Somewhere I recall reading that Lord Kelvin spoke in favor of low voltage distribution - but was there any money behind DC in Europe or were they waiting to see which way the wind blew across the Atlantic? (Let alone non-Western parts of the world: was the "War of the Currents" strictly a North American dispute?) --Wtshymanski (talk) 02:41, 19 February 2014 (UTC)