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Edison vs. Tesla

“Who was the better inventor, Edison or Tesla, and why?” In this video, we explore the famous rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. | Video by Matty Greene, Energy Department.

As Edison vs. Tesla week heats up at the Energy Department, we're exploring the rivalry between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla and how their work is still impacting the way we use energy today.

For our latest video, we asked everyday Americans the question: “Who was the better inventor, Edison or Tesla, and why?” We also interviewed Energy Department experts, including Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency, and Rob Ivester, Deputy Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office, to get their thoughts on who was the better inventor. Even Hal Wallace, curator of the electricity collections at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, had a thing or two to say about these great inventors.

Whether you’re on Team Tesla or Team Edison, both inventors were key players in creating things like batteries, power plants and wireless technologies -- all innovations we still use today. And as we move toward a clean energy future, energy efficient lighting, like LED bulbs, and more efficient electric motors not only help us save money on electricity costs but help combat climate change. For this, Tesla and Edison both deserve our recognition.