Anniversary of Topsy’s Electrocution by Edison

They say an elephant never forgets. But there is one elephant who we should remember every time we turn on the light. Her name was Topsy. She was electrocuted by Thomas Edison in New York on January 4, 1903 before a crowd of 1,500 spectators, who each paid 10 cents to watch. Why electrocute an elephant? Edison wanted to prove that alternating current was safer than direct current (the alternative promoted by his rival, George Westinghouse) and thereby win the battle to electrify America. Topsy was an Asian elephant who became a dangerous embarrassment to one of America’s first amusement parks on Coney Island. Tormented and abused, she killed people through no fault of her own. Topsy was murdered because expediency and spectacle conspired with power and profit.

This entry was posted in Animal Rights and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *