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In regards to Thomas Edison, various places online (and admittedly the original version of this very article) have stated that he was involved with the electrocution personally.

Did Geomagnetic Storms Play A Role In the Titanic Tragedy? Once Luna Park officials had decided that electrocution would be used on Topsy, they required the cooperation of the local electric power company— the Edison Electric Illuminating Co. of Brooklyn, which under the supervision of electrician P. D. Sharkey provided technical assistance and 6,600 volts of power relayed from new General Electric AC generators in nearby Bay Ridge. Then, they flipped the switch, and 6,600 volts of alternating current flooded through her body. She performed at the Forepaugh Circus for 25 years, and after killing a spectator in 1902, she wound up at Coney Island. Born in Southeast Asia around 1875, Topsy was secretly brought into the United States soon thereafter and added to the herd of performing elephants at the Forepaugh Circus, who fraudulently advertised her as the first elephant born in America. After killing a spectator in 1902, she was sold to Coney Island. Here’s a video of the film, but fair warning: While it’s old and grainy footage, if you don’t want to see a poor elephant get electrocuted, don’t watch.

They at first considered hanging, but outcry from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prevented that.

It received national coverage in the newspapers, and the Edison Manufacturing Co. sent a film crew to document it. Wiz Science™ is \"the\" learning channel for children and all ages.SUBSCRIBE TODAYDisclaimer: This video is for your information only. While Edison had nothing to do with the decision to euthanize Topsy and took no part in the proceedings, the SPCA’s understanding of electrocution as a humane means of dispatching animals was certainly influenced by experiments Edison and his associates had made at his West Orange Laboratory during the late 1880s. Some claim that Thomas Edison himself was personally involved, but this wasn’t actually the case.

That doesn’t, however, change the unfortunate events that day. The New Bedford Mercury reported that the SPCA officers present had said that “they had never seen a more humane manner of causing death,” though they likely had very little real understanding of the effects of electrocution in spite of the experiments Edison had done. But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals objected, claiming that this method of execution was unnecessarily cruel. Edison is not mentioned in any of the numerous contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the killing of Topsy. These days it is usually erroneously portrayed as a key moment in the so-called “Battle of the Currents” between Edison’s direct current system and the Westinghouse-Tesla alternating current system, the outcome of which (a victory for Westinghouse) would determine the course of electrification world-wide. It is arguably the most famous animal execution ever—the killing of Topsy the elephant at Luna Park on Coney Island in January 1903. As American society has become more sensitive to the suffering of animals, the execution of Topsy has also been portrayed in the popular media as an example of animal cruelty. Edison has therefore been accused of torturing Topsy in order to satisfy his ego and further his commercial interests. January 4, 2017 On this day in 1903, Topsy the elephant died of electrocution on Coney Island. Topsy the elephant was innocent! Their end-of-the-year plans to hang Topsy at the park in a public spectacle and charge admission were stopped by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The execution took place on a dreary Jan. 4. So, on January 4, 1903, a large group gathered at the park and chained Topsy to a post. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Nor is there any evidence that officials of Luna Park, the SPCA, or the Brooklyn Illuminating Co. consulted him on the case. Topsy (circa 1875 – January 4, 1903) was a female Asian elephant who was killed by electrocution at Coney Island, New York, in January 1903. Electrocuting an Elephant (also known as Electrocution of an Elephant) is a 1903 American, short, black-and-white, silent documentary film of the killing of the elephant Topsy by electrocution at a Coney Island amusement park.

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