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Creating the Twentieth CenturyTechnical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact$
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Vaclav Smil

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195168747

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195168747.001.0001

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The Age of Electricity

The Age of Electricity

Chapter:
(p.32) 2 The Age of Electricity
Source:
Creating the Twentieth Century
Author(s):

Vaclav Smil (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195168747.003.0002

No other technical innovation had such a far-reaching impact on modern civilization as the creation of an admirably reliable system of electricity generation, transmission, and conversion. Thomas A. Edison was its bold initiator but soon came improvements and extensions, most notably the steam turbine of Charles A. Parsons and electric motor of Nikola Tesla. The system became technically mature within a generation after its introduction and it continues to provide the most versatile, as well as the most convenient form of energy whose conversions range from increasingly efficient lighting to every kind of manufacturing, mass transportation and the vast realm of electronic devices.

Keywords:   electricity generation, transmission, Thomas A. Edison, steam turbine, Charles A. Parsons, electric motor, Nikola Tesla, lighting

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