Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing

Tesla Electric Light & Manufacturing

electric light companyIn December 1884, Tesla leaves his position with Thomas Edison due to a disagreement with the company over financial compensation for his work.  He immediately forms a partnership with Benjamin Vale and Robert Lane to manufacture arc lighting that is named Tesla Electric Light and Manufacturing; the company operates in Rahway, NJ, from December 1884 to 1886.  During this time, Tesla receives patents for improved arc lamp designs that implement an automatic adjustment and a fail switch, as well as patents for a dynamo commutator and dynamo regulators. Unfortunately, the company shuts down in the fall of 1886 when Tesla’s partners form a new firm called Union Electric Light & Manufacturing Company, leaving Tesla with nothing but worthless stock.

Tesla briefly describes the experience in his autobiography.

“Immediately thereafter some people approached me with the proposal of forming an arc light company under my name, to which I agreed. Here finally was an opportunity to develop the motor, but when I broached the subject to my new associates they said: ‘No, we want the arc lamp. We don’t care for this alternating current of yours.’ In 1886 my system of arc lighting was perfected and adopted for factory and municipal lighting, and I was free, but with no other possession than a beautifully engraved certificate of stock of hypothetical value.”


Pivotal Moments in Nikola Tesla’s Life

Explore the inventor's most influential moments and discoveries using our interactive Tesla Timeline.