Google wasn’t around in the days of Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, but it proves a useful mechanism for telling the two men apart.
In the boringly titled new biopic Tesla, starring a dour Ethan Hawke, the action is occasionally broken up by anachronistic narration from the future. In a couple such instances, the narrator character, Anne Morgan (Eve Hewson), compares the Google search results of the two inventors, with Edison having nearly double the amount of results as Tesla at 65 million. (Double-checking the movie’s findings reveals that Edison has 68 million to Tesla’s 56 million, an impressive edge still, but nowhere near double.)
Considering how much better at self-promotion Edison was than Tesla, it’s something of a surprise that the latter is whom noted egomaniac Elon Musk named his car company after.
“It’s a sociological fact that Elon Musk took the Tesla name and launched Nikola Tesla into the stratosphere,” Marc Seifer, author of Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla told the Seattle Times a few years ago, giving short shrift to the band Tesla, David Bowie’s performance as Nikola Tesla in 2006’s The Prestige, and, you know, the invention of the alternating current motor (which literally puts the AC in AC/DC).