who killed topsy the elephant

Even though she attacked and killed people, I believe she’s innocent of any guilty act. In an attempt to discredit Westinghouse and Tesla by showing how dangerous AC electricity is, Thomas Edison electrified an elephant named Topsy.Find me … Summaries The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. 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. Very likely the film company decided to document the electrocution of Topsy because it was of interest to the public. Topsy the Elephant belonged to the Forepaugh Circus and spent the last years of her life at Coney Island's Luna Park. 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. Edison had Topsy fitted with copper-wire sandals, and before a crowd of thousands, an AC current of 6,000 volts was sent coursing through the elephant until she toppled to her side, dead. Edison’s cameraman filmed the entire scene, and the motion picture, titled Electrocuting an Elephant, was released later in 1903. Edison's DC method was badly defeated. Since no one had electrocuted an elephant before, they decided to do so, with a combination of execution of poisoning, strangulation, and finally, electric shock. Electricians from the local electric company fitted two of the elephant’s feet with electrodes to administer the shock.  To meet these objections, park officials, with the approval of the SPCA, subsequently decided to use a combination of poisoning, strangulation, and electrocution. 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. But because Topsy has a bad reputation as a dangerous elephant, no zoo or show will buy it. 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 quickly grew to be ten feet tall and weigh over four tons. Edison's direct current (DC) method was widely used at the outset. Trying to maintain his good name and standards, Edison became involved in a propaganda war. No, the owners of the Coney Island Luna Park, messers Frederick Thompson, and Elmer Dundy Did. The incident wasn’t entirely Topsy’s fault; the patron in One of them was his trainer named James Fielding Blount, who was drunk. 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 … Her life represents the treatment of animals exploited by the entertainment industry and symbolises America’s industrial empire. Topsy the Elephant. In most cases, Edison had no personal role in the formation or direction of these companies. 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. 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. Topsy (circa 1875-January 4, 1903), was a circus elephant killed by electrocution on January 4, 1903. Thousands of people gathered in the half-finished courtyard of Luna Park to witness Topsy's execution. One day Blount went to the elephant's tent and tried to give Topsy a whiskey. Chuny travelled to England from Kolkata on board an East India Company ship in 1811, and, after a brief stint … Topsy, one of which was pushed with a sharp hook between the eyes and on the head. But was Edison to blame? A memorial for Topsy The silent black and white documentary was also the first animal death to be filmed in history. Learning from the past is not erasing history! Topsy was later sold to entertainment entrepreneur Paul Boynton, owner of Sea Lion Park on Coney Island. A terrifying film made the event infamous, leading to confusion over whether this was part of the epic battle between Thomas Edison and Nicola … Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. Thomas Edison, one of the giants of American history, is often credited (or more accurately, maligned) with using electricity to … An illustration of Topsy, a female Asian elephant killed at a Coney Island, New York park by electrocution on January 4, 1903. They get information about alternating electric shocks and decide that electric shock execution will be a more humane method of killing Topsy. 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. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to … Apparently, Edison realized that AC generators were more widespread throughout the country than DC. He said that Westinghouse would kill their customers within six months of having the system installed in their homes. This incident was widely publicized. 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. Topsy’s true crime, if indeed it was an offence, is to be an elephant. The owner of Luna Park then turned to the latest electric current invention at that time. 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. The elephant was then executed ruthlessly. 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. The industrial giant, George Westinghouse, was also supported this discovery, which was then immediately used widely. Topsy belonged to the Forepaugh Circus and spent the last years of her life at Coney Island's Luna Park. TOPSY THE CIRCUS ELEPHANT (PART 2) In 1883, as part of his ongoing rivalry with Adam Forepaugh, P.T. Forepaugh Circus gave a false statement stating that Topsy was the first elephant born in America. At the end of 1902, the Sea Lion was apparently auctioned off and remodeled into Luna Park. It is arguably the most famous animal execution ever—the killing of Topsy the elephant at Luna Park on Coney Island in January 1903. Did he have anything to do with the execution of Topsy? 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. While there, the elephant, which was turned into a circus animal, was involved in several incidents, one of which killed a… She, in turn, killed him. A baby elephant from Southeast Asia was brought secretly to America. Not wanting to keep a “bad elephant,” the Forepaugh circus, which was then owned by James Bailey, sold Topsy to a group that helped He played down the use of air conditioning, lobbied congress, and spread false rumors surrounding Tesla's findings. The fire also destroyed Lorenzo Shaw’s Channel Chute, a wooden roller coaster built in 1895 that encircled the hotel and was often called the Elephant Scenic Railway. Abstract An Asian elephant called Topsy was electrocuted in front of 1500 spectators by Thomas Edison in New York on January 4, 1903. 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. The execution of Topsy, a female elephant, in a publicity stunt advertising the opening of Luna Park on Coney Island. Many believe Topsy was a victim of the Battle of the Current, namely the direct current and alternating current between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. An electric current of 6,000 volts then flows into her body. Once the switch was flipped, it took just ten seconds before Topsy fell over and died.  Elena Holodny, writing in Business Insider, chimed in, too, noting that Edison “sought to prove that alternating current actually can kill quickly.” Holodny then goes on to say that “at a demonstration [Edison] held at Coney Island, he electrocuted and killed a circus elephant named Topsy.” Countless other websites have followed suit, making the same claim against Edison, likely because the film made of this singular event was given the title “Electrocuting an Elephant—Thomas A. Edison.”. Topsy was about 35 years old at the time of her death, which is about half the expected life span for an elephant with a decent life in the wild. The elephant belonged to Forepaugh Circus and was considered too violent, so it was decided to put her to death. The execution date was set, January 4, 1903. Topsy was originally owned by Forepaugh Circus where she killed a drunken spectator who burned the tip of her trunk with a cigar. Some people believe that Topsy's execution using electric shock was carried out to prove the competition's greatness between the two great inventors, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. Topsy the Elephant Topsy the elephant, born in 1875, was a female Asian elephant who had been brought to the United States. Did Edison really electrocute Topsy the Elephant? 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. As if she knew what she was getting into, Topsy had refused the food. In front of a crowd of journalists and guests, Topsy was then fed carrots laced with potassium cyanide. Topsy's feet were then placed in a conductive copper sandal so that she could easily be electrocuted. Because she killed … The answer is an emphatic “no.” Topsy was sentenced to death by Luna Park officials after she had killed three men over a three-month period.  That she had, under the goading of her drunken handler, menaced the local police and some workmen likely also influenced amusement park officials in their decision to rid themselves of the elephant. These experiments at Edison’s West Orange Laboratory did convince SPCA officials that electrocution was a more humane and efficient way of euthanizing animals than either drowning (in the case of dogs) or hanging (in the case of other animals). While there, the elephant, which was turned into a circus animal, was involved in several incidents, one of which killed a spectator. Although he was the president of the Edison Manufacturing Co., which, among other things, oversaw the film company, day-to-day operations were in the hands of the vice president and general manager William E. Gilmore. Let us then examine a species a bit more difficult to anthropomorphize (but hardly impossible, given … For decades as a performing elephant, Topsy got the title as a dangerous elephant, especially after killing a circus audience in 1902. 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 illegally brought to the United States as a baby and made as a stage animal in Forepaugh Circus. 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. It is worth noting that none of Edison’s extant correspondence from the period mentions Topsy or the electrocution of an elephant at Coney Island or in any other way links Edison to the execution.  And none directs Gilmore or the Edison Manufacturing Co. to make a film of the event. And in 1902, Topsy the Elephant made national news when she killed a spectator at Forepaugh’s circus. 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. Topsy then reportedly attacked several trainers until they were reportedly responsible for the deaths of three people. Not satisfied with all of that, he also staged a public demonstration about the dangers of using AC currents. The 10-foot elephant was supposed to hang Topsy in the park, but a community organization for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals objected and said the manner of execution was cruel. But the elephant refused, which then made Blount furious. 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. Just how many people came out to witness Topsy’s execution is a matter of dispute. She was sold to Sea Lion Park in 1902 which was then sold to … On this day the the circus elephant Topsy was killed by electrocution. Chronicles on History, Politics, Feminism, Racism and LGBTQ Take a look. Start by marking “Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked Tailed Elephant, P.T. This is the tragic story of Topsy, which also dragged the names of two of the world's great inventors, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. 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. The film was released and watched on the kinetoscope under the title " Electrocuting an Elephant. " 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. Topsy's old trainer Whitey Ault was offered a sum of $ 25 to do it. She performed at the Forepaugh Circus for 25 years, and after killing a … During these experiments, Edison and his assistants electrocuted a number of animals, chiefly dogs provided by the SPCA. After killing a spectator in 1902, she was sold to Coney Island. But he refused. The precautions were unnecessary, as Topsy was killed nearly instantly. 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). Not infrequently, she was also beaten and threatened with dangerous objects. United States as a dangerous elephant, especially after killing a spectator in 1902 advertising opening... 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