Nikola's Memorable May

On May 1, 1888, Nikola Tesla was issued seven patents that literally made our world. Together with an eighth patent issued two weeks later, Tesla laid the foundation for an alternating current-based electric grid.

His triumph was celebrated on May 16 in his landmark speech before the American Institute of Electrical Engineers:

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"In the presence of the existing diversity of opinion regarding the relative merits of the alternate and continuous current systems, great importance is attached to the question whether alternate currents can be successfully utilized in the operation of motors ...

The transmission of power ... has been almost entirely confined to the use of continuous currents, and notwithstanding that many efforts have been made to utilize alternate currents for this purpose, they have, up to the present, at least as far as known, failed to give the result desired ...

The subject ... is a novel system of electric distribution and transmission of power by means of alternate currents, affording peculiar advantages, particularly in the way of motors, which I am confident will at once establish the superior adaptability of these currents to the transmission of power and will show that many results heretofore unattainable can be reached by their use; results which are very much desired in the practical operation of such systems and which cannot be accomplished by means of continuous currents."

George Westinghouse bought Tesla's patents soon after. And the rest is history. If not for Nikola's memorable May, would there be RTOs, AFUDC, DCF, FERC, etc.?