I remember Tom [Edison] telling them that direct current was like a river flowing peacefully to the sea, while alternating current was like a torrent rushing violently over a precipice. Imagine that! Why they even had a professor named Harold Brown who went around talking to audiences... and electrocuting dogs and old horses right on stage, to show how dangerous alternating current was.
Meanwhile, a murderer was about to be executed in the first electric chair at New York's Auburn State Prison. Professor Brown had succeeded in illegally purchasing a used Westinghouse generator in order to demonstrate once and for all the extreme danger of alternating current. The guinea pig was William Kemmler, a convicted ax-murderer, who died horribly on August 6, 1890, in "an awful spectacle, far worse than hanging." The technique was later dubbed "Westinghousing."
In spite of the bad press, good things were happening for Westinghouse and Tesla. The Westinghouse Corporation won the bid for illuminating The Chicago World's Fair, the first all-electric fair in history. The fair was also called the Columbian Exposition — in celebration of the 400th Anniversary of Columbus discovering America. Up against the newly formed General Electric Company (the company that had taken over the Edison Company), Westinghouse undercut GE's million-dollar bid by half. Much of GE's proposed expenses were tied to the amount copper wire necessary to