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346 hits since 13 Jan 2020
©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0113 Jan 2020 1:09 p.m. PST

,,, Didn't Electrocute Topsy the Elephant.

"If you're a history buff, you may have heard the story of "Topsy" the Elephant. And the story you know probably goes something like this: Thomas Edison, trying to prove that his rival's "alternating current" was more dangerous than his own form of "direct current," arranged to electrocute an elephant with AC, proving how dangerous it was compared to DC. So poor Topsy, caught in the "War of the Currents" was electrocuted in front of a crowd of spectators to prove a point. It's a good story, but the truth is slightly different.

While there was definitely a "War of the Currents" between famed inventors Nikolai Tesla, George Westinghouse, and Thomas Edison, and while Topsy definitely got electrocuted, there's little evidence to suggest that Edison arranged the spectacle to prove his point. But there is still a lot of historical value in the story. It tells us a great deal about the early period of electricity. And the story of Topsy the Elephant also reflects the casual cruelty to animals that people practiced. So, what can we really learn from the sad fate of Topsy the elephant?…"
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