Empires of Light Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify the World

ISBN-10: 0375758844
ISBN-13: 9780375758843
Edition: N/A
Authors: Jill Jonnes
List price: $17.00 Buy it from $10.65
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Description: In the final decades of the nineteenth century, three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse—battled bitterly as each vied to create a vast and powerful electrical empire. In  More...

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Book details

List price: $17.00
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/12/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, three brilliant and visionary titans of America’s Gilded Age—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse—battled bitterly as each vied to create a vast and powerful electrical empire. In Empires of Light, historian Jill Jonnes portrays this extraordinary trio and their riveting and ruthless world of cutting-edge science, invention, intrigue, money, death, and hard-eyed Wall Street millionaires. At the heart of the story are Thomas Alva Edison, the nation’s most famous and folksy inventor, creator of the incandescent light bulb and mastermind of the world’s first direct current electrical light networks; the Serbian wizard of invention Nikola Tesla, elegant, highly eccentric, a dreamer who revolutionized the generation and delivery of electricity; and the charismatic George Westinghouse, Pittsburgh inventor and tough corporate entrepreneur, an industrial idealist who in the era of gaslight imagined a world powered by cheap and plentiful electricity and worked heart and soul to create it. Edison struggled to introduce his radical new direct current (DC) technology into the hurly-burly of New York City as Tesla and Westinghouse challenged his dominance with their alternating current (AC), thus setting the stage for one of the eeriest feuds in American corporate history, the War of the Electric Currents. The battlegrounds: Wall Street, the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Niagara Falls, and, finally, the death chamber—Jonnes takes us on the tense walk down a prison hallway and into the sunlit room where William Kemmler, convicted ax murderer, became the first man to die in the electric chair. Empires of Light is the gripping history of electricity, the “mysterious fluid,” and how the fateful collision of Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse left the world utterly transformed.

List of Scientific Diagrams
Introduction
"Morgan's House Was Lighted Up Last Night"
"Endeavor to Make It Useful"
Thomas Edison: "The Wizard of Menlo Park"
Nikola Tesla: "Our Parisian"
George Westinghouse: "He is Ubiquitous"
Edison Declares War
"Constant Danger from Sudden Death"
"The Horrible Experiment"
1891: "Fear Everywhere of Worse to Come"
The World's Fair: "The Electrician's Ideal City"
Niagara Power: "What a Fall of Bright-Green Water!"
"Yoked to the Cataract!"
Afterword
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
Notes
Photograph Credits
Index

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