War of the Currents

Thomas Edison vs Nikola Tesla

From the Series Scientific Rivalries and Scandals

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12   ·  
  • Reading Level: Grade 8

In the early 1880s, only a few wealthy people had electric lighting in their homes. Everyone else had use more dangerous lighting, such as gas lamps. Eager companies wanted to be the first to supply electricity to more Americans. The early providers would set the standards—and reap great profits.

Inventor Thomas Edison already had a leading role in the industry: he had invented the first reliable electrical lightbulb. By 1882 his Edison Electric Light Company was distributing electricity using a system called direct current, or DC. But an inventor named Nikola Tesla challenged Edison. Tesla believed that an alternating current—or AC—system would be better. With an AC system, one power station could deliver electricity across many miles, compared to only about one mile for DC.

Each inventor had his backers. Business tycoon George Westinghouse put his money behind Tesla and built AC power stations. Meanwhile, Edison and his DC backers said that AC could easily electrocute people. Edison believed this risk would sway public opinion toward DC power.

The battle over which system would become standard became known as the War of the Currents. This exciting book tells the story of that war, the people who fought it, and the ways in which both kinds of electric power changed the world.

Format List Price Your Price Qty
978-0-7613-5487-1
$33.32 $24.99
978-1-4677-0140-2
$50.65 $37.99
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 8
Genre Nonfiction, Young Adult
Subject Science
Copyright 2013
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Twenty-First Century Books ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2012-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 9.5
BISACS YAN050120, YAN050000, YAN050110
Dewey 333.793'2
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 6 x 8.5
Lexile 1060
Features Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Photo captions, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Websites, and eSource

Reviews

School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

“These books showcase major scientific developments and the brutal competition behind the scenes. They are highly engaging accounts of researchers resorting to cheap shots, spying, and double crossing to take credit for pivotal discoveries. But they are also disturbing documentation of how ego can trump the greater good… Written cleanly and fluidly, these titles let the drama and occasional absurdity of the players’ actions speak for themselves.” —School Library Journal, Series Made Simple

Author: Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Stephanie Sammartino McPherson, a former teacher and freelance newspaper writer, enjoys writing about science and the human interest stories behind major discoveries. Stephanie and her husband Richard live in Virginia but also call California home.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Scientific Rivalries and Scandals

Bribery. Theft. Betrayals and lifelong feuds. Intense competition leading to bitter disputes has characterized the relationships among some of the world’s greatest scientific innovators. This one-of-a-kind series combines math, science, history, and biography to expose the rivalries… View available downloads →