Transcript: Nikola Tesla | Jul 24, 1999

(music plays)

Against a purple background, animated letters read “Blast from the past.”

A caption appears on screen. It reads “Nikola Tesla.”

A black and white drawing of Nikola Tesla appears. He wears a jacket and a moustache.

The Narrator says NIKOLA TESLA WAS AN
INVENTOR WHO DREAMED
OF A MORE EFFICIENT
ELECTRIC MOTOR.
PURSUING HIS DREAM, HE BEGAN
WORKING FOR THOMAS EDISON.
THE TWO FOUGHT LIKE
CATS AND DOGS.
EDISON WAS A STRONG
PROPONENT OF DIRECT CURRENT.
WHILE TESLA CHASED HIS
DREAM OF THE MORE EFFICIENT
ALTERNATING CURRENT.

In split screens, the pictures of Edison and Tesla appear.

The Narrator continues TESLA EVENTUALLY LEFT EDISON'S
EMPLOY TO DIG DITCHES
AND DO OTHER ODD JOBS.
THEN, IN 1887, THE WESTERN
UNION TELEGRAPH COMPANY
BANKROLLED HIM TO FORM
A NEW BUSINESS.
IN THE FOLLOWING TWO YEARS,
TESLA REFINED DESIGNS
FOR GENERATORS, TRANSFORMERS,
AND OTHER ELECTRICAL DEVICES
FOR WESTERN UNION.
TESLA FINALLY GOT TO DESIGN A
SYSTEM OF ALTERNATING CURRENT
WHEN PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN
GEORGE WESTINGHOUSE
GAVE HIM FINANCIAL BACKING.
MEANWHILE, EDISON WAS
BUSY DENOUNCING THE WORK
OF HIS COMPETITORS.
HE WENT SO FAR AS TO ARRANGE
GRAPHIC DEMONSTRATIONS
OF SMALL ANIMALS
BEING ELECTROCUTED
TO EMPHASIZE HOW LETHAL
ALTERNATING CURRENT WAS.

Fast clips show female telephone operators, electricity towers, a couple in a house appliances store, Fidel Castro giving a speech and children holding pets.

The Narrator continues AND SUGGESTED THE TERM
ELECTROCUTED BE REPLACED
WITH THE TERM
WESTINGHOUSED.
DESPITE THIS CAMPAIGN,
TESLA'S ALTERNATING CURRENT
REPLACED EDISON'S
DIRECT CURRENT.
IN THE MID-1890s THE FIRST
HYDROELECTRIC GENERATING
PLANT WAS CONSTRUCTED
IN NIAGARA FALLS.
STILL FIGHTING YEARS
LATER, TESLA AND EDISON
WERE RUMOURED TO HAVE TURNED
DOWN THE 1915 NOBEL PRIZE
FOR PHYSICS WHEN THEY
DISCOVERED THEY WOULD BE
SHARING THE AWARD
WITH EACH OTHER.
EDISON SPENT THE REST
OF HIS DAYS INVENTING
BUT LOSING MILLIONS ON
BAD BUSINESS VENTURES.
TESLA EVENTUALLY WITHDREW
FROM PUBLIC LIFE ALTOGETHER
TO LIVE IN A RUNDOWN
NEW YORK HOTEL ROOM
AND CONCENTRATE ON A
SEVERE FEAR OF GERMS.

A person wearing an old diving suit steps into the water.

The caption changes to “Photo of Thomas Edison courtesy of the US Library of Congress.”

A slate reads “A Production of TV Ontario. Copyright The Ontario Educational Communications Authority 1999.”

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