Why Nikola Tesla’s Greatest Achievement may be in Niagara Falls

Why Nikola Tesla Greatest Achievement may be in Niagara Falls 6Some brilliant people among us are able to see what the ordinary eyes and minds cannot. When inventor Nikola Tesla thought of the Niagara Falls, he saw it not just as a stunning display of nature’s might and majesty but as a way to create energy for human endeavors.

In 1895, Tesla and industrialist George Westinghouse created the world’s first hydroelectric power plant at the Niagara Falls, beating out Tesla’s rival Thomas Edison and changing the way we look at such powerful natural forces.

Caught up in what was dubbed by the press “the War of the Currents,” Tesla and Edison were competing against each other’s system of transmitting electricity. Tesla’s was called “alternating current” (AC) while Edison invented the “direct current” (DC).

The “war” involved public competitions and demonstrations of the technology, trying to assuage concerns over commercial applications and safety.

The AC system used a transformer that was able to regulate voltage in different situations like long-distance transmissions or indoor lighting and proved to be more efficient and less expensive.

As part of this competition, Tesla and Edison were involved in the proposals to develop a plant at the Niagara Falls.

They were both considered in the 1893 contest organized by the international Niagara Falls Commission, but the pitch based on Tesla’s approach that was submitted by the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company was awarded the contract.

Led by the famous British physicist Lord Kelvin, the commission thought that the AC-based system proposed by Tesla via Westinghouse was a stronger bet than the scheme blessed by Edison, which utilized DC electricity.

Kelvin was convinced of the superiority of Tesla’s approach during his visit to the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, which was powered by Tesla’s polyphase AC system, again under a deal with Westinghouse. It was also doubtful that Edison’s direct current system could be transmitted over long distances.

Why Nikola Tesla Greatest Achievement may be in Niagara Falls 1
Workmen putting Edison DC power lines underground in New York City in 1882. This was an expensive practice that helped Edison in public perceptions following a few deaths that were caused by overhead high voltage AC lines. Credit: W. P. Snyder – June 21, 1882 Harper’s Weekly.

For Tesla, being involved in the Niagara Falls project was a lifelong dream. In his biography, Tesla remembered how the giant falls excited his mind as a kid.

As he was playing with some mechanical models from his instructors, he considered the idea of water turbines. Hearing Niagara Falls described, Tesla “pictured in my imagination a big wheel run by the Falls.” He even told his uncle that someday he would “go to America and carry out this scheme.”

Once completed, Tesla’s generators produced 50,000 horsepower, a tremendous amount of power for that time. Finally, on November 16th, 1896, the switch was thrown, sending power to Buffalo, NY. The Niagara Falls Gazette reported that “The turning of a switch in the big powerhouse at Niagara completed a circuit which caused the Niagara River to flow uphill.”

Tesla’s own words at the opening of the Niagara Falls hydroelectric power station considered their achievement from a historical perspective, calling the station “a monument worthy of our scientific age”:

“We have many a monument of past ages; we have the palaces and pyramids, the temples of the Greek and the cathedrals of Christendom,” said Tesla.

“In them is exemplified the power of men, the greatness of nations, the love of art and religious devotion. But the monument at Niagara has something of its own, more in accord with our present thoughts and tendencies. It is a monument worthy of our scientific age, a true monument of enlightenment and of peace. It signifies the subjugation of natural forces to the service of man, the discontinuance of barbarous methods, the relieving of millions from want and suffering.”

How does the plant actually generate electricity? As historian David J. Kent writes, to tap into the kinetic energy generated by the rushing Niagara, some of the water going over the Falls was sent through a long tunnel where it turned a series of turbines, which converted energy into mechanical energy that created electricity.

Why Nikola Tesla Greatest Achievement may be in Niagara Falls 2
One of the reactors designed by Tesla. ca. 1890s.

In a few years following the opening of the plant, its electricity was ordered by thousands of residents and businesses, with the number of generators increasing to ten.

The power then flowed to New York City, electrifying Broadway, street railways, and subways. Other power stations were also built on the Niagara and elsewhere in the U.S. By 1920, hydroelectric plants provided 25% of all electricity in the U.S.

Suffice it to say, no die-hard Tesla fan’s life would be complete without a visit to the Niagara Falls. Here’s a monument that honors Tesla’s contribution that looks over the falls now:

Why Nikola Tesla Greatest Achievement may be in Niagara Falls
Tesla’s monument overlooking the Niagara Falls. Credit: Duncan Rawlinson


Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Could the US win World War III without using nuclear weapons?

As the US, Russia and China test each other’s patience and strategic focus, speculation about the chances of a world war has hit a new high....

The 5 Cartels that Rule America and the World

Americans have been programmed to fight amongst themselves along partisan political lines, always pointing the finger at the other side of the phony left-right...

Now We Know Who Trump Really Is

You need know only two things about the Trump presidency to understand what kind of man he is. We learned fairly early on that...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...


What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

Could the US win World War III without using nuclear weapons?

As the US, Russia and China test each other’s patience and strategic focus, speculation about the chances of a world war has hit a new high....

18 Facts About China You Might Be Shocked to Know

Despite all the wild stories you have already heard about China, expect the nation to keep blowing your mind. That's because not only is China...

The CIA Has A Long History Of Helping To Kill Leaders Around The World

Some of the most notorious of the CIA’s operations to kill world leaders were those targeting the late Cuban president, Fidel Castro. Attempts ranged from...

Culture is not your friend

“What civilization is, is 7 billion people trying to make themselves happy by standing on each other’s shoulders and kicking each other’s teeth in....

Media Manipulation – Are Your Thoughts Your Own?

The media is manipulated in all manners, for example through professional public relations (PR), and covert and overt government propaganda which disseminates propaganda as...

It’s Been 49 Years, and Most Don’t Know the FBI & Police Admitted Their Role in the Assassination of Dr. King

It’s been 49 years since the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the FBI and Memphis Police Department have sparingly released information implicating...

Dear Elon Musk: “We’re Already On Mars,” Claims Alleged SSP Whistleblower Corey Goode

If you haven’t already heard, Elon Musk is planning to colonize Mars. Recently announced at the 67th annual International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, he...

One Of The Most Life-Altering Realizations A Human Can Ever Have

We wake up, we get ready, eat our breakfast and go to work or school. In our travels we might get annoyed at the...