Thursday, March 7, 2013
High Tech Week continues with this picture of Thomas Edison in his lab. Edison is remembered by many as a man who helped usher in the present era of High Tech development. Actually I have never been a Thomas Edison fan, and believe his popularity is due to a great public relations department at General Electric, a company he started. During the early days of electricity, Edison sponsored a traveling road show in which stray animals would be brutally electrocuted on the public square to frighten people, and to discredit his competitors, a team made up of George Westinghouse and Nicola Tesla. Edison even invented the electric chair, and gave them to prisons to execute criminals with Tesla's competing AC electricity. When the animals were killed, or someone was executed in the electric chair, Edison used a term he had coined, and said that they had been "Westinghoused". In the arena of technology, Edison was neither a brilliant nor creative mind. He simply solved problems with brute force trial and error, and bought himself time by viciously attacking his competitors. It is funny that Edison is remembered as the father of electricity, when in the end, we all use AC electricity, which was the type he fought so ruthlessly against. Nicola Tesla worked out all the math and technology needed to make practical AC motors, generators, and the means to practically transport electricity to people's homes.