Miracles and Massacres: Epic Rivalries

McDonald’s vs. Burger King, Coke vs. Pepsi, Jobs vs. Gates ––all are epic rivalries that almost everyone knows. But here’s another: “Edison vs. Westinghouse”. If we’re judging by the impact it had on our modern-day lives, their rivalry beats all the others, hands down.

And most people today have never even heard of it.

Here’s a quick test: when you hear the name “Tesla,” what comes to mind?

Most of you probably thought right away of the electric car company: Tesla Motors. But I bet that very few of you thought of the man himself: Nikola Tesla, the great Serbian-American inventor that the company is named after.

While Tesla may not have the name recognition of Edison, he was an amazing man and his fingerprints can still be found everywhere. Every time you’ve gotten an X-ray, whenever you use anything with a remote control –– or, for that matter, every time you flip a light switch or plug something into an outlet, your life was made easier by one of Nikola Tesla’s hundreds of inventions.

Even during his time, Tesla was always far ahead of it. So why isn’t he as well known as Thomas Edison—a guy whose reputation as a gentlemanly old inventor is actually laughable once you know the truth? Well, for one, Tesla wasn’t a media darling like Edison. He also had more than a few quirks and phobias, and he was much more comfortable in the company of pigeons than people.

And as for what Nikola Tesla has to do with that bitter, world-changing rivalry between Edison and Westinghouse I mentioned earlier…Well, you’ll have to read the full story in Miracles and Massacres for yourself, but here’s a hint: Edison loses the battle, but he wins the war. While he and George Westinghouse became respected household names, Nikola Tesla died alone in the New Yorker Hotel, deeply in debt and, at least until recently when an American car company adopted his name, in almost total obscurity.


  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    As far as I am concerned, Tesla should be a household name for his success in creating and harnessing the usage of Alternating Current.

    Without that, or if we had to depend solely upon Edison’s Direct Current alone, the nation we have today would be radically different. Edison pulled of more than a few dirty tricks and worse to ensure Tesla would be discredited, but in the end, Tesla has been vindicated.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    Tesla a far better human being than Edison. For Tesla just wanted to improve the world and Edison only cared about cash.

  • nutt

    “… man’s new sense of pity began to interfere with the ruthless
    workings of nature. The only method compatible with our notions of
    civilization and the race is to prevent the breeding of the unfit by
    sterilization and the deliberate guidance of the mating instinct … The
    trend of opinion among eugenists is that we must make marriage more
    difficult. Certainly no one who is not a desirable parent should be
    permitted to produce progeny. A century from now it will no more occur
    to a normal person to mate with a person eugenically unfit than to marry
    a habitual criminal”

    …Nikola Tesla.

    This isn’t an obscure quotation. So ask yourself, why is Glenn happy to overlook the fact that Tesla was a committed proponent of eugenics, particularly when
    that’s always a hammer he hits progressives with? It’s almost as
    though he doesn’t expect you to do your own research… …and judging by snowleopard and Sam F, it’s clear that he’s right to feel comfortable.

  • Anonymous

    He is well known in my house, but, then, I did electrical engineering for many years. I did a lot of work in electrostatic discharge. I have also read a lot on Tesla, Edison, and Westinghouse. The sad part of the story, IMHO, is that Tesla died alone and broke in an apartment hotel.

  • nutt

    “we continue to keep alive and to breed the unfit” – Tesla in 1935 – little clip from his eugenics piece. What a fantastic human being, eh?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    What never heard of it please don’t leave it at that.

  • Jeremiah Nierras

    I’ve read somewhere that while Tesla believed in eugenics, he himself felt that he was unfit to breed. I’m never going to forgive him for his stance on eugenics, but to say that that was the majority of his life is giving disservice to everything else he contributed to.

    Tesla was indeed a tragic figure, a victim of the ‘science’ of his time.

  • Anonymous

    He was also a ranting, assistant beating, contumelious, insufferable, churlish person who was probably very bipolar. In short, If a few rich friends had not liked to show off Tesla’s wild inventions to their friends he would have starved to death. He was a true genius but felt the business-accounting end of taking inventions to market was beneath him.

  • nutt

    Then do as I did, and do a little research. You don’t have to dig deep. In fact, his Wikipedia entry is a reasonable start point – just enter his name, as I did.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    You the one that said it out of the blue you prove it besides you cannot trust Wikipedia for anything.

  • nutt

    So you’d rather think that I made that up rather than google it yourself? I see that this sets up a conflict within you – blind faith in Glenn is a tricky one to crack. Google it yourself – you’ll get something like 86,000 answers to ignore.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    Why don’t you just prove your point instead of hiding it. Oh let me guess Wikipedia is your only proof but leave it to a liberal to trust a website where anyone can rewrite. “The problem with internet quotes is that you cant always depend on their accuracy” -Abraham Lincoln, LOL!

  • nutt

    Quoting from a article he wrote in Liberty in 1935, You’ll have to forgive me for not having the original to send to you, as that seems to be the only proof you’ll accept. But failing that, here’s a ramdonly-chosen link about the quotation http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/paleofuture/2012/11/nikola-tesla-the-eugenicist-eliminating-undesirables-by-2100/

  • Crassus

    I always thought that Tesla was a vampire played by Bela Lugosi. :)

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    Not going to ague with the Smithsonian but tell me why do you liberals support Margret Singer who spoke at Klan rallies and wanted to kill an entire race of people?

  • nutt

    I don’t. Can’t answer for anybody else. Why do you paint with such broad brush-strokes?

    But to get to the crux – don’t you find it a little weird that Glenn chose to give Tesla a pass on this, whilst trumpeting his name for the past few months?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8FvmesaxXg Sam Fisher

    Maybe he did not know about it it happens dude.

  • http://www.MartinLiteraryManagement.com/ Sharlene Martin

    A great new Tesla speculative fiction book from NY Times Bestselling author (and Conservative!) Anthony Flacco here: http://www.amazon.com/In-Matter-Nikola-Tesla-Romance/dp/1626811601/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386110356&sr=8-1

  • nutt

    Seems rather slack for somebody* who proudly announces himself as a great historian, bringing you details you never knew before, don’t you think? Took me all of a minute to spot that detail when looking up Tesla for myself.. (*…and also for whomever it was who wrote ‘his’ book for him)

  • James LaBarre

    The difference was that Thomas Edison (like Steve Jobs after him) was clever at taking other people’s work, sprucing them up, and putting them out as his own product. Perhaps not *entirely* bad if you consider Edison was taking interesting if obscure experiments and making them into everyday products, but at least Steve Jobs was (compared to Edison) more willing to give credit where it was due (at the intro of the iPod, he admitted there were other MP3 players, but the others were “crap”).

  • chagrin.fu

    My guess is nutt didn’t have a clue who Tesla was nor what he contributed to our lives. If nutt would check his hatred of Glen Beck and READ the article without bias Beck says ” Tesla wasn’t a media darling like Edison. He also had more than a few quirks and phobias, and he was much more comfortable in the company of pigeons than people.” more than a few quirks…..so what if Tesla believed in a refined gene pool, his beliefs don’t change the remarkable contributions he gave to society.

    Fantastic human being? doesn’t begin to describe him. If it wasn’t for Tesla, nutt wouldn’t be sitting in front of a computer bashing Tesla !

    I can see how Tesla would be more comfortable in the company of pigeons than people….