One of the earliest prototypes of Thomas Edison's electric chair was controversially tested on a number of animals, including a circus elephant named Topsy. This is the footage of that test.
What was Edison's controversial role in the invention of the electric chair? What's the little-known link between the Civil War and the Ouija board, or stockings and roller coasters? And how did an explosive guilt trip lead to the birth of the Nobel Peace Prize? We explore four chilling inventions, and reveal the stories of the inventors whose million-dollar ideas shook the world and created legacies still with us today.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.