Well, people today certainly understand more about technology - because it didn’t exist when Tesla, Edison, and Westinghouse were around -
If they knew less technology than a typical person today, then why would one need to write and sell lots of books about them? Certainly not to educate the readers about technology, perhaps to inspire readers with some industrial sucesses or failures.
... but I doubt, with sadness, that most people know more of the science that produces those technologies than did those men.
Edison knew science, I doubt that, he was a tinkerer. Tinkering is foundational and important, its hands-on learning, but it is merely tinkering.
Said Francis Upton
Upton ... promised his mother that working for Edison would
help him “learn how to earn money.” “Everyone must work and
it is not always the most agreeable thing in the world,” he
confessed to her.
Unlike most inventors, Edison depended upon dozens of “muckers”
to build and test his ideas. In return, they received “only
workmen’s wages.” However, the inventor said, it was “not
the money they want, but the chance for their ambition to
Edison didn’t appreciate science enough to study it neither at school or on his own, he didn’t even know Ohm’s law V = IR, until his science workers told him about it.