On the day after Thomas Edison’s death on October 18th, 1931… the New York Times ran extensive coverage on the life and accomplishments of the fourth most prolific inventor in the history of the world. One of the great American pioneers of electricity, invention and industrialization was lauded for his contributions to society by all… except one.
The single negative opinion given about the life of Thomas Alva Edison came from one Nikola Telsa… his former colleague, turned arch-rival. He was quoted as saying of Edison
“He had no hobby, cared for no sort of amusement of any kind and lived in utter disregard of the most elementary rules of hygiene … His method was inefficient in the extreme, for an immense ground had to be covered to get anything at all unless blind chance intervened and, at first, I was almost a sorry witness of his doings, knowing that just a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor. But he had a veritable contempt for book learning and mathematical knowledge, trusting himself entirely to his inventor’s instinct and practical American sense.”
What would lead Tesla to condemn a man the day after his death?
Find out this week on HINDSIGHT, as Tom and Matthew discuss the epic clash of two electrical titans… Tesla and Edison. Their rivalry… which could be argued was started thanks to a very bad joke on Edison’s part… spanned decades, bankrupted their companies, and had widespread effects on everything from the Nobel Prize to the entire course of electrical and industrial development in the world. Beyond that, it has become a legendary example of both the destructive and creative powers of ambition and competition.
Tom and Matthew will also mention strange and oft overlooked facts about the two great men. Also… stick around later in the show for another timely tale of ambition gone awry as they remember the real story of infamous railroad engineer John Luther Jones… whom you may know as “Casey.”
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