Atlantic Monthly Press, 369 pages, $27. This morning we will be remembering the sad fate of Topsy the Elephant, who was put to death by electrocution for the murder of three. Topsy the elephant, here as well, was embroiled in several widely reported error incidents, mainly attributed to the inhuman actions meted out by either her unruly drunken handler or the park’s public attention-grabbing owners. Relying on information from previous animal electrocutions using alternating current, they decided electrocution would be a more humane way to kill Topsy. (www.metrolic.com / Wikimedia Commons). But was Edison really that dastardly? “Topsy had,  in fact, killed a man, but her execution was ordered only later, after she proved unmanageable at the hands of a trainer who savaged her with a pitchfork,” writes Vicki Constantine Croke in a review of Daly’s book for The New York Times. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. A site called The Oatmeal accused him of kidnapping household pets and shocking them to death. And, if she was really a ferocious, unmanageable beast, Topsy unquestionably didn’t demonstrate it on her last day. But it hardly made any impact. As the electrocution of an elephant was hitherto unknown, Topsy’s executioners made sure to complete the act successfully through a technique that combined all; electrocution, poisoning and strangulation. California Do Not Sell My Info The War of the Currents had been lost, and Edison's opponents, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, had won. On this day in 1903, Topsy the elephant died of electrocution on Coney Island. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. The film was Edison's "opportunity to demonstrate the deadliness of the damnable current on the largest of land animals,” he writes, “a creature so much bigger than any mere man, big enough to vent a great man’s fury and frustration at being bested, to show who is truly boss.” But it didn't matter. One of the victims was J. However, writes Rutgers, it’s unlikely that Edison was a direct part of Topsy’s execution or even saw it. 1903 was a landmark year for the inventive folk of the USA. Many people trust that Topsy was a casualty of the purported “War of the Currents” the scientific battle that was fought between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla over the concepts and viability of alternating and direct currents. Topsy the elephant was innocent! Finally, the elephant was executed on January 4, 1903, at the Luna Park construction area in Coney Island. This is the story of an elephant, electrocuted 100 years ago. Save to Suggest Edits. A sad part of history. Topsy (elephant) - Video Learning - WizScience.com - YouTube The fact that any of the extant correspondence of Edison doesn’t mention about Topsy or an electrocution incident of an elephant at Luna Park is also worth noting. Topsy was fed carrots laced with potassium cyanide, and her feet were placed in conductive copper sandals so she could be electrocuted. 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. On January 4, 1903 Topsy the elephant was executed through a combination of strangulation, poison, and a liberal application of the new technology of electric current. His presence isn’t mentioned in newspaper accounts of the execution, and none of Edison’s correspondence that can be found now mentions Topsy in any way. (www.timetoast.com / Wikimedia Commons). She used to be tormented no ends during the course of her training and performances. However, there is a lack of corroboration in this matter and contemporary historians have put this information away as a grossly fallacious one. The Luna Park Zoo at Coney Island decided that Topsy the Elephant was a danger to visitors after the 10-foot-high Indian elephant killed three trainers in three years. Their ranks include Michael Daly, the author of Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. After this much-hyped incident, Topsy was disposed of Coney Island’s Sea Lion Park. 24.107.181.169 (talk) 04:06, 17 March 2013 (UTC) Abstract. BY Namrata Naha • November 2, 2018 Topsy the elephant being electrocuted in Luna Park. But after a number of other near-death incidents caused by Topsy’s drunk handlers, Topsy’s owner realized he couldn’t keep her. It was produced by the Edison film company (part of the Edison Manufacturing Company) and is believed to have been shot by Edwin S. Porter or Jacob Blair Smith. View Source: Share. It sent shivers of 6,600 volts through Topsy’s body. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Namely, the elephant killed three people in the last three years, including her abusive coach who allegedly tried to give her a lit cigarette to eat. This chapter explores the biography of Topsy as an individual elephant whose life and death played a prominent role in the development of the animal industrial complex and the USA as an industrial, capitalist empire. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. It has been conjectured that Topsy the elephant was not a pawn of the war of the currents, but of the “elephant wars” among the circus proprietors. A year later, when the park was distressed with bankruptcy, its proprietor Paul Boyton leased it out to Frederic Thompson and Elmer Dundy who were then developing the Luna Park. Topsy the elephant was electrocuted at Luna Park Zoo on Coney Island in 1903. Jun 29, 2013 at 10:01 PM Topsy the elephant is electrocuted at the new Luna Park at Coney Island in 1903. Topsy the Elephant gained notoriety in America as part of the Forepaugh Circus when she killed a spectator in 1902 and was subsequently sold off to Luna Park. Hugh Thomas, who was the chief electrician of Luna Park, performed the electrocution. According to a rumour, an entire part of the persistent propaganda to devalue AC and foster Edison’s own predilection, direct current. The elephant traders in Southeast Asia seized the baby elephant weighing 200 pounds. On this day in 1903, Topsy the elephant died of electrocution on Coney Island. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Give a Gift. And for Topsy, a member of a deeply intelligent and emotive species who was kept in captivity for so much of her life, Edison's feud couldn't have mattered less. Topsy elephant death electrocution at luna park 1903 Are elephants executed still today? Her life represents the treatment of animals exploited by the entertainment industry and symbolises America’s industrial empire. A terrifying film made the event infamous, leading to confusion over whether this was part of the epic battle between Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla known as the "War of the Currents" . Apparently, he couldn’t forgo the opportunity to electrocute Topsy and prove the heightened perils of AC once more. Topsy, the elephant Thomas Edison killed, got her death sentence after killing three people, including her very abusive trainer. She was killed on January 4, 1903, with the whole thing filmed by Edison, which you can view here if you for some odd reason have a hankering to watch an elephant … “Captured on film by Thomas Edison, the event was one of a string of animal electrocutions Edison staged to discredit a new form of electricity: alternating current,” writes Tony Long for Wired. The identity of a certain individual who apparently filmed the electrocution and consequent death of Topsy the elephant could not be revealed. After they decided they could no longer handle … But opting out of some of these cookies may have an effect on your browsing experience. But as is so often the case, that tale is not quite so simple. If there’s one thing you can say/About Mankind/There’s nothing kind about man — Tom Waits. She is probably best known for her sad and untimely death by execution on Coney Island by Thomas Edison. 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