edison

More proof Thomas Edison was a dick

When Thomas Edison wasn’t running around stealing inventions that weren’t his own, he was publicly electrocuting defenseless animals. He was trying to make Nikola Tesla’s Alternating Current (AC) look somehow more dangerous than his own Direct Current (DC). He would normally electrocute stray dogs and cats, but one time he got to fry an elephant.

Boing Boing has a link to a YouTube video of Edison’s elephant electrocution. I’m not into animal cruelty so I’m not posting a link to the video.

Not only was Thomas Edison a major asshole, he was wrong. AC voltage is no more dangerous than DC. It’s the current that is deadly. High voltage normally means high current. It doesn’t matter what version of voltage it is.

The worst I’ve ever been shocked was not with AC, but good old DC. I once accidentally brushed up againstĀ  high-current 28 volts and it felt like I was hit with a baseball bat. I’ve done the same with AC voltage as high as 460 volts and it didn’t hurt nearly as bad. Current kills, not voltage.

I think most people associate DC voltage as being safer than AC voltage because most of the DC they are familiar with is the low voltage, low current variety. For instance, the voltage found on a computer’s USB bus. It’s normally at around 5 volts with around 500 mA in current. Wall socket AC voltage on the other hand is around 120 volts with around 10 to 20 amps on each circuit.

Comments

  1. says

    I agree with your sentiments. I just watched an awesome episode of Modern Marvels detailing the life of renowned genius Nicola Tesla. Did you know that he went to work for Edison right after his arrival here in the U.S. from Croatia? Edison promised him a $50,000 bonus if he redesigned and made his generators more efficient. Tesla did so, only to have Thomas “The Dick” Edison turn around and say “Boy, you have a lot to learn about the American sense of humor!” Tesla was rightly pissed and quit “GE” immediately. The experiments with animals you describe were part of a propoganda campaign launched by “The Dick” to discredit AC current. In the end, Tesla was redeemed at the first electricly powered & lighted World Fair when his alternating current was showcased instead of direct current. The world went on to use the more efficient alternating current. Edison’s legacy is of invention stealer and of course GE. But now they’ve had to sell off their appliance division so here’s to hoping they get theirs in the end. Screw Edision, Tesla was the man!

    • says

      Right on, my feeling exactly and the Modern Marvels about Nicola Tesla was the best Modern Marvels I have ever seen. Not only was Tesla not electrocuting defenseless animals, he even nursed injured pigeons back to health in NYC. Wow! he was the best.

  2. Felix says

    Tesla’s biggest mistake was trusting Morgan the greedy banker who blackballed Tesla when he discovered Tesla’s plan to provide electricity wirelessly on a global basis.
    As soon as he realised he [Morgan] couldn’t put a meter on it he stopped all financial assistance making sure that no one else would finance his projects. The FBI grabbed all of his notes after his death and to this day much of his work is still classified.

    • Jeremy says

      @Felix: Those documents also were for the most part practically impossible to decode because Tesla had his own cypher for his notebooks, I was once told.

  3. Bob says

    I have often thought that Edison was a dick! Also, DC is inherently more dangerous than AC as the current causes your muscles to clamp, meaning that if you grab a live wire with DC in it, the current will cause your hand to clamp down on it, and not allow you to let go. AC will allow you to let go as the voltage drops to zero, and the current reverses 120 times per second (twice per cycle, 60 cycles per second)!

  4. Nikola Tesla says

    Defenseless animals? The fucking elephant was a man killer, and once done it would always be a killer. I hate Edison as much as Ford, believe me, just read what you write ffs.

    • Jasmine says

      The reason the elephant killed her trainer was because he tried to feed her a lit cigarette. So, do your research! That trainer deserved to die.

    • yessy says

      That elephant was also abused. It was well known that one of its main trainers would commonly miss treat it and at one point attempted to feed it a lit cigarette. Many animals that are treated poorly lash out.
      Its unfortunate that they had to put it down when the people themselves had a hand in neglecting proper training for a dangerous (and ANY elephant can be dangerous) animal. What’s worse is that Edison used the situation for his own means AND filmed it.

    • Heather says

      Look the animal was abused it was fed a lit cigerret and reacted get a grip people are the ones who teach animals how to act when they abuse them that elephant was so abused your an idiot

  5. Gary says

    animals are great, in captivity to entertain people, fuck that shit, put yourself in that place, you want to be in cage-did you know the Bronx Zoo once displayed a human being, an African, at the time, certain people were denied human status.
    Animals,savages as the native americans are even today commonly referred to as.
    It’s time to reclaim, all the crime and stealing perpetrated by corporate america, GE, JP Morgan, everyone who ever got rich fucking someone and the majority of us over, is out-in prison, or dead.
    Tesla is not innocent, he was greedy and war mongering, coming up with weapons to sell to the military, fuck him for that. Fuck scientists alive today providing the ruling class with such fucked up weapons as elector magnetic pulse waves, all that shit, fuck you

  6. Darin says

    You’re right, Tesla was cool, Edison was a dick. But you don’t know a thing about electricity, and should have cut your story about 3 paragraphs short before you sounded like an ignorant idiot.

  7. Dawn says

    Edison was a sicko!! He did this to this poor abused elephant and used cats and dogs too!! Very sad no one cared back then!! I hope he is burning in hell right now and who ever else was responsible!! And I read he had a religious wife did she condone this treatment of living creatures?!

  8. karlInSanDiego says

    Unless she was Buddist, her religion would have taught her that Man has domion over all animals. Christians were notorious for teaching a disrespect for animals.

  9. Sarabear says

    Wow :( I went through school being taught that Thomas Edison was this awesome guy, and did all these great things, and invented great things. I always imagined him working in this cool lab working on things and tinkering away. How was I fooled :( I’m 16 years old, and I’m glad I didn’t live the rest of my life thinking he was this amazing American icon. I’m glad I found out hes a psychotic coward of a scientist. F.U. Thomas Edison, you suck!!!

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