As we explore the mythical rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla the misinformation is not just confined to Tesla's relationship with Edison. We have seen numerous comments on the internet with phrases such as "Tesla got screwed by Westinghouse." It's really a shame the legacy of George Westinghouse is not only getting forgotten, but is being disrespected by clueless Nikola Tesla fanatics .
George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla both believed in the future of AC (alternating current) as the key to delivering electricity to our home.
George Westinghouse believed in Nikola Tesla, when Edison didn't.
Westinghouse was in a race to be the first company to commercially develop AC power, and George Westinghouse saw that Nikola Tesla's U.S. patents for his AC induction motor and related transformer design were the quickest way to make the final push to win the War of Currents. Westinghouse gave Tesla $60,000 in an initial lump sum for his ideas (that's worth roughly $1.4 million in today’s dollars.) Tesla was given a $2000 a month salary to work for Westinghouse, (the equivalent of $48,000 per month today.)
Many stories say that Tesla saved Westinghouse Electric, but that is only part of the story. Westinghouse paid Tesla a $216,000 lump sum for the right to use his AC patents, (worth roughly $5.4 in today’s dollars).
Tesla became a famous man because of his work with Westinghouse. When Tesla walked away from his partnership with Westinghouse, he had built up a nice nest egg. The relative value of money Tesla received from Westinghouse in the 1890s in current purchasing power is over several million dollars. Tesla used the money he made from Westinghouse to set up his own labs.
Nikola Tesla respected George Westinghouse
When George Westinghouse died in 1914, here are a few of the words from Tesla about Westinghouse as they appeared March 21, 1914 in Electrical world.
"His was a wonderful career filled with remarkable achievements. He gave to the world a number of valuable inventions and improvements, created new industries, advanced the mechanical and electrical arts and improved in many ways the conditions of modem life. He was a great pioneer and builder whose work was of far reaching effect on his time and whose name will live long in the memory of men."
Various accounts claim different reasons for the Westinghouse Corporation coming to Tesla's rescue later in his life. Tesla would move to the Hotel New Yorker in 1934, with the room paid for by the Westinghouse Corporation. One story is that Tesla was hit by a taxi on the streets of New York and injured, Westinghouse executives agreed to pay his room and board for the remainder of his life.
We can argue over the myths and legends surrounding the legendary lunatic Thomas Edison, but please don't disgrace George Westinghouse in the name of Nikola Tesla. The more I have studied Nikola Tesla, the more I have come to admire and respect George Westinghouse. He truly is the most forgotten geek.