Not infrequently, she was also beaten and threatened with dangerous objects. TOPSY THE CIRCUS ELEPHANT (PART 2) In 1883, as part of his ongoing rivalry with Adam Forepaugh, P.T. TOPSY THE CIRCUS ELEPHANT (PART 3) The opening pages of the Adam Forepaugh Route Book for 1889, featuring Adam Sr. (right) and son Addie (left). A favorite was Topsy, a three-ton tusker whose great strength had been put to use building the attractions that made … The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Apparently, Edison realized that AC generators were more widespread throughout the country than DC. Unaware that the elephant was terrified of the glaring stage lights, deafening crowd noise, and constant beatings, Phil Wingren, who brought his family to the circus, remarked that Topsy must relish being a star. Edison's experience in this matter then prompted Thompson and Dundy to contact him. An electric current of 6,000 volts then flows into her body. Luna Park management initially planned to hang Topsy.  But the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals objected, claiming that this method of execution was unnecessarily cruel. The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. Topsy quickly grew to be ten feet tall and weigh over four tons. For decades as a performing elephant, Topsy got the title as a dangerous elephant, especially after killing a circus audience in 1902. 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. To prove this, Edison then began conducting a series of trials and demonstrations for AC currents using a variety of animals ranging from dogs to horses as experimental objects in his laboratory in West Orange. Did he have anything to do with the execution of Topsy? Trying to maintain his good name and standards, Edison became involved in a propaganda war. About 10 minutes later, Topsy fell to the ground and died. But the film could have borne no relation to this so-called “Battle of the Currents,” which had ended more than a decade earlier. They get information about alternating electric shocks and decide that electric shock execution will be a more humane method of killing Topsy. Her dangerous nature was none other than the result of training and the cruel treatment she often received over the years. It is also unlikely that he was personally involved in producing the film “Electrocuting an Elephant,” even though the title bears his name. Topsy was later sold to entertainment entrepreneur Paul Boynton, owner of Sea Lion Park on Coney Island. Topsy's feet were then placed in a conductive copper sandal so that she could easily be electrocuted. After killing a spectator in 1902, she was sold to Coney Island. 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. She, in turn, killed him.  To meet these objections, park officials, with the approval of the SPCA, subsequently decided to use a combination of poisoning, strangulation, and electrocution. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. A Tale of Two Islands: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. However, the efforts by Edison and his company to disparage the Westinghouse system failed as a competitive strategy because AC proved to be more efficient for transmitting electricity over large distances. Barnum obtained a young elephant with white patches on its face and trunk and exhibited it as Toung Taloung, "Gem of the Sky," a sacred white elephant he supposedly purchased in Burma for $200,000. While there, the elephant, which was turned into a circus animal, was involved in several incidents, one of which killed a… Topsy's old trainer Whitey Ault was offered a sum of $ 25 to do it. The owner of Luna Park then turned to the latest electric current invention at that time. Very likely the film company decided to document the electrocution of Topsy because it was of interest to the public. A baby elephant from Southeast Asia was brought secretly to America. Nor is there any evidence that officials of Luna Park, the SPCA, or the Brooklyn Illuminating Co. consulted him on the case. Edison’s cameraman filmed the entire scene, and the motion picture, titled Electrocuting an Elephant, was released later in 1903. The trainer back then was strict and cruel to control circus animals. Both are competing between the DC ( direct current ) system and the AC ( alternating current ) system introduced by Nikola Tesla. Abstract An Asian elephant called Topsy was electrocuted in front of 1500 spectators by Thomas Edison in New York on January 4, 1903. It is tempting to grant the title of the world’s most intriguing animal to one of the great apes. The newspaper accounts vary from several thousand to 1,500 to “only persons immediately concerned and reporters.”  Had Edison been present, the newspapers would certainly have made note of it, but none even mentioned him at all. Myth Buster-Topsy the Elephant Did Edison really electrocute Topsy the Elephant? Due to high maintenance costs and nothing to handle Topsy, Thompson and Dundy tried to eliminate her. These experiments were also undertaken at the behest of a commission established by the State of New York to find a more humane method of executing criminals and led to the institution of the electric chair as a common method of execution in the United States. But he refused. As the 19th century turned into the 20th, one of the biggest attractions at Coney Island's "Luna Park" was its private herd of elephants, which roamed freely. Because she killed … It is sometimes said that Edison had the film made to further dramatize the dangers of the alternating current system.  It was, according to this canard, all part of the longstanding publicity campaign to discredit AC and promote Edison’s own preference, direct current. Topsy's bent tail was evidence of the result of a severe beating. Once the switch was flipped, it took just ten seconds before Topsy fell over and died. Like so many local illuminating companies across the United States, the Brooklyn company used the Edison name because it originally employed the Edison system of electric power generation under license from the Edison Electric Light Co. of New York. Thousands of people gathered in the half-finished courtyard of Luna Park to witness Topsy's execution. Not satisfied with all of that, he also staged a public demonstration about the dangers of using AC currents. She was later smuggled into America by Adam Forepaugh, the owner of Forepaugh and Sells Circus, who dishonestly used to bill her as the first elephant born in America. Learning from the past is not erasing history! But the elephant refused, which then made Blount furious. 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. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to … Wired magazine’s online edition, for instance, ran a story on Topsy with the headline “Edison Fries an Elephant to Prove His Point.” The point ostensibly was that the Westinghouse AC electrical system was much more dangerous to consumers than Edison’s DC system. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. Edison is not mentioned in any of the numerous contemporaneous newspaper accounts of the killing of Topsy. The film was released and watched on the kinetoscope under the title " Electrocuting an Elephant. " Among the press that arrived at the time, one of them was a crew from the film company Edison Manufacturing who filmed the execution. A baby elephant from Southeast Asia was brought secretly to America. While there, the elephant, which was turned into a circus animal, was involved in several incidents, one of which killed a spectator. Even though she attacked and killed people, I believe she’s innocent of any guilty act. Because she had killed Edison was prompted to conduct experiments on animals after SPCA founder Henry Bergh, Jr., contacted him to ask whether electrocution might provide a humane way of killing unwanted animals. The question of Edison then began to carry out propaganda that discredited Tesla’s findings. In fact, the correspondence between Edison and Gilmore during January and February 1903 (there is none from December of the previous year) chiefly concerns patents for phonograph speakers. Chuny travelled to England from Kolkata on board an East India Company ship in 1811, and, after a brief stint … Topsy, a circus elephant that had killed 3 people and was “condemned” to die by execution and the circumstances of her death later became an apocryphal legend of the Current Wars, though a false one. 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