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NYC unplugs Edison's direct current service

New York City
November 15, 2007


The city that Thomas Edison electrified 125 years ago has completed the transition from direct to alternating current, helping to finally erase a feud between three giants of invention. In the so-called "war of currents," Edison feuded with Tesla and George Westinghouse over which transmission method to adopt.

The Consolidated Edison utility pulled the plug of direct current service with electric operations manager Fred Simms, a Con Ed employee for 52 years, cutting a ceremonial cable at 10 East 40th Street, NYC.

The change means that Con Ed now exclusively uses the alternating current system invented by Nikola Tesla. The utility is named for Edison, whose Pearl Street Station in Manhattan was the nation's first central electrical power plant, serving 59 customers with direct current beginning in 1882.

Alternating current proved superior as transformers allowed electricity to travel over long distance wires. Direct current has taken decades to faze out of Manhattan because the early backbone of New York's electricity grid was built by Edison's company, which had a running head start in the first decade before Tesla and Westinghouse demonstrated the potential of alternating current with the Niagara Falls power project.

As AC gained prevalence over DC worldwide, Con Ed froze the development of the DC system in 1928, but until now, continued to supply New York's major DC customers with the existing system.

More more information, please visit the following websites:

AC, DC and Electrical Signals

War of Currents
from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Electricity and its Development at Niagara Falls

PBS: Tesla- Life and Legacy- Harnessing Niagara

George Westinghouse Museum- The man, inventor and entrepreneur

George Westinghouse- The history of electricity

Nikola Tesla: The Genius Who Lit the World- from the Tesla Memorial Society of New York

Nikola Tesla Museum

The Edison Papers

Thomas Edison: Scientist and Inventor

 

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