Why do different countries use different mains voltages?

The biggest disparity is between the USA
on 110V and most of the rest of the world on
230V. America’s lower voltage goes all the
way back to Thomas Edison, who introduced
direct current (DC) mains electricity at 110V.
Edison’s rival Nikola Tesla showed that long
power lines transmitted alternating current
(AC) more efficiently than DC. His AC
approach won out, but he stuck with
Edison’s 110V. It’s been that way in the US,
Canada and parts of the Caribbean ever
since. But by the time electrification spread to
Europe early in the 20th Century, lamps had
filaments that could give out more light and
handle greater power loads. So the Berliner
Elektrizitätswerke company in Germany
established 230V as the standard.


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