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Which famous inventor electrocuted an elephant to discredit its competitors?




Answer: Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was a brilliant and prolific inventor. He was also a damned businessman, fighting filthy to protect his patents and subsequent royalty. His many accomplishments – the invention of a long-life incandescent filament lamp, carbon microphones, and the first commercial fluoroscope – included the promotion of early DC (DC) electrical distribution networks.

Unfortunately, DC is a relatively poor candidate compared to AC when it comes to long-range distribution, as transmission over long distances is more difficult. Alternating current can be brought to high voltages with transformers, transmitted over thinner and less expensive lines and then regulated at the destination. In contrast, direct current can only be economically transferred within a radius of about one and a half miles around the point of production.

In the United States, Edison was a strong supporter of DC over AC distribution. Opposite him stood George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla (the inventor and inventor of the AC distribution system), who promoted AC electricity as a more economical and practical way of achieving a large-scale electricity grid. Edison, who could not easily be dissuaded (and was in no hurry to lose his fee money), started the so-called War of Currents.

How would things escalate in the War of Currents? Edison tried to convince the public that AC is more deadly than DC. Technically, there is a slightly higher chance of cardiac arrest when exposed to AC power. But the whole thing is as if he's arguing that drinking between two types of poison is more advisable than the other ̵

1; direct contact with an electrical distribution system is never advisable. To do this, Edison instructed technicians to kill animals with AC to show how dangerous it was. Initially, the animals were small, stray cats and dogs, but escalated rapidly.

In 1903, Edison found a perfect candidate to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current. In Coney Island's Luna Park, there was an elephant named Topsy, who was supposed to be executed for the deaths of three people – fair enough, one of Topsy's killed people was his most abusive handler. Edison instituted a public execution of the beast in which 6,600 volts of AC were passed through the elephant's body, killing him within seconds. It was a gruesome scene. Decades later, Luna Park burned to the ground, an event popularly known as Topsy's Revenge.

Animal cruelty was not the only component of Edison's widespread trade off against AC (and against Westinghouse itself). Although Edison was against the death penalty, he helped build the first widely used electric chairs to get the engineers to use AC instead of DC. He then went on to try to put "Westinghoused" in popular use to refer to electrocution. In the end, his efforts failed to discredit his opponents. Although tiny pockets of DC distribution were not enforced until 2005 (in the form of a small business district in New York City that relied on DC power), even these tiny distribution centers have disappeared and the entire United States has AC power. 19659003] Image public domain.


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