In the process of explaining why Steve Jobs, though talented, is no Thomas Edison, Vaclav Smil name-drops a “brief list of the pioneering creators of electric systems”:
This fundamental innovation [the electric power system] was created during a remarkably short period of time—most of it between the late 1870s and the beginning of the 20th century—by a surprisingly small number of inventors, engineers, and scientists. In order to avoid the most obvious exclusionary injustice, even a brief list of the pioneering creators of electric systems must include the names of Charles Clarke, Sebastian Ferranti, Lucien Gaulard, John Gibbs, Zénobe-Théophile Gramme, Edward Johnson, Irving Langmuir, Charles Parsons, Emil Rathenau, Werner Siemens, William Stanley, Charles Steinmetz, Joseph Swan, Nikola Tesla, Elihu Thomson, Francis Upton, and George Westinghouse. But, justly, one name stands above them all, that of Thomas Alva Edison.
I thought I knew a bit about this period, but I credit myself for recognizing only 6 of the 18 names mentioned (Siemens, Swan, Tesla, Thomson, Westinghouse, and Edison).
How well do you know your early electric power industry history?