Edwin Holmes, a burglar alarm pioneer, and Thomas Watson, an electrician who worked for Alexander Graham Bell, decided to join forces in 1878. Not to solve mysteries, but to form the Bell Telephone Company.
How did one man's invention to save soldiers' lives set off an American crime wave? Which common household appliance first existed as a flattened chicken bone adorned with animal hair? And what's the connection between burglar alarms and the literary team of Holmes and Watson? We explore the origins of four inventions with criminal ties: the Tommy Gun, the home alarm, cash registers, and the toothbrush meet the brilliant minds willing to do anything to bring their innovations to the world.
Watch this episode online now.
Stream hundreds of shows by starting your free trial to Smithsonian Channel Plus. Check the availability of this title and explore our vast library of original documentaries and series.
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.