Happy Birthday Thomas Alva Edison

edisonThomas Alva Edison/Public Domain

Thomas Edison is a controversial figure these days; all the nerds (and TreeHugger Mike) love Nikola Tesla, who was not treated well by old Tom. One could make the case that Tesla won the battle over direct vs alternating current, but that ultimately, Edison is winning the war, as I tried to do last year in Happy Birthday Thomas Alva Edison. You Were Right About Direct Current After All. More on Edison coverage in honor of his 166th birthday:

Edison Has Last Laugh in Current Wars

See, I am not giving up.

It is clear from all of this that transmission of electricity by high voltage direct current is cheaper, uses smaller wires, has lower line losses and is safer.

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niagaraNiagara Falls generating/Public Domain

Big Steps In Building: Change Our Wiring to 12 Volt DC

Edison was right; direct current is better than alternating current. Tesla and Westinghouse won the current wars, because it was easy to transform into different voltages without electronics, and they needed high voltages, which travel longer distances in smaller wires than low voltage.

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Thomas Edison, Off-Grid and Solar

One does not think of Thomas Edison as a "green pioneer" but oil was expensive at the turn of the century, and he worried that it might be running out. According to Heather Rogers in the New York Times, Edison was also eager to sell his light bulbs and phonographs to people far away from the electrical grid, and developed alk>aline batteries for electric cars.

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edison with bulbEdison would be appalled; He liked progress./Public Domain

Thomas Alva Edison Makes You Fat

When Thomas Edison tested the first light bulb in 1879, he could never have imagined that his invention could one day contribute to a global obesity epidemic. Electric light allows us to work, rest and play at all hours of the day, and a paper published this week in Bioessays suggests that this might have serious consequences for our health and for our waistlines

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Happy Birthday Thomas Alva Edison
We round up some of our best posts about the inventor.

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