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Nikola Tesla's technology revolutionized the electrical age of the 20th century. Although eclipsed in fame by Edison and Marconi, it was Tesla's vision that paved the way for today's wireless world. His fertile but undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius but also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator.
American Experience premieres two new documentaries coming to PBS this fall: Tesla on October 18 and The Battle of Chosin on November 1. Looking ahead to April 2017, we take a sneak peek at The Great War.
Regarded by many as an eccentric genius, Nikola Tesla's system of alternating current is the basis of the electrical grid that makes daily life possible in the 21st century. One hundred years ago, he paved the way toward robots, radio, radar, remote control, and the wireless transmission of messages and pictures. He dreamed of harnessing the wind and the sun to make free energy available for all.
During the last part of the 19th century, George Westinghouse had made his fortune through his invention, the railroad air brake. Now a wealthy man, Westinghouse set his sights on the future, and the future was electricity.
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