Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Watched a bit of a film called The Current Wars, about the fight between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to establish the electricity industry. It apparently had a troubled production, being made by Harvey Weinstein‘s company around the time of ‘Me Too’ that he was embroiled in. The film itself has some nice period touches (top hats, Victorian railways stations, walrus moustaches, plush boardrooms) that give it a steampunk vibe. There’s a telling scene where slightly idealistic Westinghouse doesn’t seem to realise how much he can monetise electricity, and the look on the capitalist investor’s face. There’s also some time given to the sad parade of animals that Edison had electrocuted to prove that AC current was deadly, but only a brief reference to Topsy, the elephant he had killed. Nikola Tesla, who is by far the more interesting person in all this, gets fairly short shrift – but then again, he did in life too. It’s amazing to think of all the deals, lies and betrayals we were not witness to at the time, that defined our lives.

Finished watching that film Current WarsGeorge Westinghouse won, sort of. Edison went on to invent the phonograph, for which I think we’re all eternally grateful. Nice one Thomas. I just wish you weren’t such a thieving, greedy, animal-killing bastard.