Edison's DC actually changed what women wore. Corsets in the 1880s used steel "bones" to form the hourglass curve. (actually they are needed for proper support of the bosom.)
DC current causes steel or iron moving through it to become magnetically polarized. Since most of his installations were in upper class houses, this had the effect of magnetizing the corsets.
Pins and other objects would stick to these society ladies mid sections. About this time rubberized elastic was being developed, which allowed us to no longer need steel, whalebone or reeds for support.
SpeedEvil --The amount of current needed to magnetise, even when very close to a DC wire is really quite high.
The story actually came from a magazine for watch collectors. I do not have a copy on hand so can not look up the actual reference. Most of the article was on the effects the direct current had on watches, which are sensitive to small amounts of magnetism. It could be that the pins were becoming magnetized.
Edison's system must have had high currents. I think it ran about 80 or 90 volts. There was a lot of line loss. Reports also indicated that the ground returns in earth were actively charged. That walking over such could cause a tingling sensation. None of this was regulated, so practices in the 1880s may have been quite different than they are now.
Many of early electrical items were used for therapeutic purposes. See the film _Road to Wellville_ for examples.
My personal take on the corset story is that it is much like cellphone radiation exposure. There was a propaganda war over which system was the least leathal.
@Sheepdoll...I never thought that I would be learning about the history of women's undergarments on EETimes! But then I forgot, you're an "Active historical costumer" to quote your profile. Thanks for the insights :-)
This is a charming, quick read about Tesla and Van Gogh; interesting premise. You could go back to school and use it for your thesis (if you are studying history). I didnt realize the mental health issues with Tesla. Has anyone read a good biography of Tesla they can recomment?
It is well documented that Nikola Tesla suffered from OCD (numbers, utensils when eating, etc.). OCD can be very easily controlled (ERP method) but -- left untreated it can mushroom completely out of control. An example is Howard Hughes whom reportedly personal physicians escallated into full insanity to grab his wealth. A blemish forever on Mormon church infrastructure which reportedly hugely benefited.
Interesting. I'm guessing doctors probably did not have very good treatments for OCD back in Hughes' day and no treat in Tesla's. It's wierd how the mind "malfunctions" -- it's a wonder it works at all.
I am not sure OCD requires treatment...according to some estimates 10-15% people have it...mild forms of OCD are not hurtful, quite teh opposite, my desk at home and at work is the most organized and cleanest, and I tend to be very efficient in what I do!
Susan said: It's wierd how the mind "malfunctions" -- it's a wonder it works at all.
Well, for me OCD is a feature, not a bug. I think it makes me a better engineer since I obsess about details and unlikely failure modes and "nice to have" options that marketing hasn't specified yet but may some day.
@Bert....that's easy. From your point of view, most people are careless slobs. From THEIR point of view you have OCD.
As others have pointed out, mild OCD is a very desirable quality in an engineer. So as long as you associate with like minded people, your OCD traits don't get you down, and you don't allow the slobbiness of others to get you down too much, you're doing good. And that's all that matters.
Yes David - you are correct. The problem is when the affliction escalates out of control - for example Howard Hughes would repeatedly wash hands until they started to bleed.
Until recently there was very little understanding of OCD with a lot of quckery and nonsense "treatment". A very simple and effective is the ERP methos (exposure - response prevention). For example, the sufferers have to three times check a lock to make sure that a car, house door is locked. With great discipline and initial effort you check it only twice or only once -- and that particular obssessive "need" dissipates and goes away.
Left untreated it can completely escalate -- as in poor Tesla and Hughes....
Sometimes I myself wish I would have some of it. When we have been much smaller animals and sitting on a branch during the night I bet these with OCD had a much higher survival rate.... ;-))