Search: edison elephant
Why: When Rachel said someone spoiled The Usual Suspects for her, Jeff said:
I hope it wasn't me.Don't tell him, but he just spoiled it for me, too.
I recently spoiled Edison's Electrocuting an Elephant for the wife.
Answer: He electrocuted it to death! Oh god...
BUT it turns out this was a very mean elephant who had already trampled to death 3 handlers (one of whom was trying to feed her a lit cigarette) and was scheduled to be euthanized. So it's OK then.
He did it as a demonstration about the dangers of alternating current, which Westinghouse and Tesla were touting. Edison had established direct current at the standard for electricity distribution and was living large off the patent royalties when these guys showed up.
Edison's aggressive campaign to discredit the new current took the macabre form of a series of animal electrocutions using AC (a killing process he referred to snidely as getting "Westinghoused"). Stray dogs and cats were the most easily obtained, but he also zapped a few cattle and horses.So he found this elephant. A news report:
Topsy, the ill-tempered Coney Island elephant, was put to death in Luna Park, Coney Island, yesterday afternoon. The execution was witnessed by 1,500 or more curious persons, who went down to the island to see the end of the huge beast, to whom they had fed peanuts and cakes in summers that are gone. In order to make Topsy's execution quick and sure 460 grams of cyanide of potassium were fed to her in carrots. Then a hawser was put around her neck and one end attached to a donkey engine and the other to a post. Next wooden sandals lined with copper were attached to her feet. These electrodes were connected by copper wire with the Edison electric light plant and a current of 6,600 volts was sent through her body. The big beast died without a trumpet or a groan.Yuck!
Is it weird that we have pictures of these guys? Or is it weirder that I don't think I had any idea what Thomas Edison looked like until right now?
Source: Wired.com, Railway Bridge
The More You Know: I was thinking the other day about how funny it is that my cat and dog just walk on and over me as though I'm not even there. I wish we had some giant animals to just walk and climb on all the time without being afraid they would bite me. Baby elephants climb like puppies.