War of Currents
War of Currents

What was the "War of Currents?"

The "War of Currents" wasn't really a war, but more of a vehement contest that transpired in the early 1900s between two types of electrical current used to power the cities (and much more). The war sparked a media frenzy of propaganda, public demonstrations, and rules and regulations contrived to make electricity safe for the public.

So, what's the project about?

We want to inform the public about the historical application and implications or views of AC versus DC current. This includes (but is not limited to) the public view of AC and DC current, the advertising and publicity (overall negative or positive adjectives and verbage used to describe them), public demonstrations, contributing figures (and who was the most/least mentioned), areas where electricity was most implimented, and a timeline to represent the dates of major events in the history of AC and DC current. We also aim to calalogue and produce an archive of important source material pertinent to the War of Currents, making it accessible to the internet.

How did we do it?

You can read about how we went about the coding for the project here. The research and main body of work consisted of sifting through hundreds of newspaper articles photographed and hosted through databases. We used an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) machine to help us transcribe these clippings, then transferred them to Oxygen XML Editor to markup by hand. This process took roughly 70% of our total project time and presented a major challenge in collecting the documents themselves.

The Results

The data portion of our project can be viewed here.

You can see our source code and more in our GitHub repository.

Created by: A. Hall, A. Newton, and J. Downey. GitHub. Creative Commons License Powered by firebellies.