018 – Tesla – The Greatest Show On Earth (1891)

Tesla the Showman knocks ’em dead at the AIEE with a lecture for the ages and a breathtaking demonstration of high frequency AC. It was his ticket to fame and celebrity. 

Show Notes for Episode 17 – The Biggest Mistake Nikola Tesla Ever Made (1890-1891)

As mentioned in this week’s episode, to get a good visual sense of how Tesla would use the ‘skin effect’ of his oscillating transformer to wow Gilded Age audiences, you need look no further than David Bowie’s portrayal of Nikola Tesla from the Christopher Nolan movie, The Prestige (if you haven’t seen it–seriously, do so right away):

And while there are apparently no photographs of these moments, Tesla would also create a glowing halo of energy around himself at his demonstrations, as illustrated here:

Tesla saturated with electricity glowed with a halo

(Source: New York World, 09 Dec 1906)

017 – Tesla – The Biggest Mistake Nikola Tesla Ever Made (1890-1891)

Fresh from his return from Europe, Tesla goes on an inventing spree and dabbles in high-frequency currents. But when George Westinghouse comes calling and pleads poverty, Tesla makes a fateful and costly mistake…

016 – Tesla – War of the Currents Part 4: The Executioner’s Current (1889-1890)

The War of the Currents enters its most ghoulish and macabre phase: when the combatants were willing to play with a man’s life. William Kemmler became the first person put to death by deliberate electrocution. Viewer discretion is very much advised.

015 – Telsa – War of the Currents Part 3: Shock & Awe (1888-1889)

When New York became the first state to execute people using the electric chair, Edison and his DC supporters would do anything to ensure it was alternating current that powered “Old Sparky”…