21 The Edison company submitted the film to the library of Congress as a " paper print " (a photographic record of each frame of the film) for copyright purposes. 22 This form of submission may have saved the film for posterity since most films and negatives of this period decayed or were destroyed over time. Media and culture edit Electrocuting an Elephant does not seem to have been as popular as other Edison films, and could not even be viewed at Luna park because the attraction did not have the coin-operated kinetoscopes needed to view. 5 The film and Topsy's story fell into relative obscurity in the intervening years, showing up as an out-of-context clip in the 1979 film. 23 In 1991 documentary maker Ric Burns made the film Coney island which included a segment recounting the death of Topsy, including clips from the film Electrocuting an Elephant. In 1999 Topsy was commemorated in the coney island Mermaid Parade in a parade float by artist gavin Heck. In 2003 Heck and a local arts group held a competition to select a memorial arts piece to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Topsy's death. The chosen piece, created by new Orleans artist lee deigaard and exhibited at the coney island usa museum, allowed the public to view Electrocuting an Elephant on a hand-cranked mutoscope while surrounded by hanging chains and standing on a copper plate.
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At 2:47, topsy was pronounced dead. 18 An aspca official and two veterinarians employed by Thompson and Dundy determined that the electric shock had killed Topsy. During the killing the superintendent of the coney island station, joseph Johansen, became "mixed up in the apparatus" when he threw the switch sending power reviews to the park and was nearly electrocuted. He was knocked out and left with small burns from the power traveling from his right arm to his left leg. 19 In popular culture edit Electrocuting an Elephant edit main article: Electrocuting an Elephant Electrocuting an Elephant, a 1903 film of the electrocution of Topsy shot by the Edison Manufacturing. Amongst the press the day topsy was put to death was a film crew from the Edison film company, possibly directed by Edwin. Porter or Jacob Blair Smith. 20 The rajguru film they created of the death of Topsy was 74 seconds long and shows just the electrocution. It was released to be added to the lineup of films viewable in Edison kinetoscopes within a few weeks under the title Electrocuting an Elephant. 16 This was one of many short "actuality" films shot by the Edison Manufacturing Company from 1897 onwards at Coney island depicting rides, bathing scenes, diving horses, and even a film of elephants in 1903 "Shooting the Chutes at Luna park".
Newspaper accounts of the events noted that Topsy refused to cross the bridge over the lagoon, ignoring prodding by goliath and even bribes of carrots and apples. 14 The owners of Luna park then tried to get William Alt, who would not watch the killing, to lead Topsy across the bridge, but he declined an story offer of 25 to coax her to her death 5 saying he would not for 1000. 5 They finally gave up trying to get Topsy across the bridge and decided to "bring death to her". 15 The steam engine, ropes, and the electrical lines were re-rigged to the spot where topsy stood. The electricians attached copper-lined sandals connected to ac lines to topsy's right fore foot and left hind foot so the charge would flow through the elephant's body. 16 With chief electrician Sharkey making sure everyone was clear, topsy was fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide by press agent Charles Murray who then backed away. At 2:45pm Sharkey gave a signal and an electrician on a telephone told the superintendent at Coney island station nine blocks away to close a switch and Luna park chief electrician Hugh Thomas closed another one at the park, sending 6,600 volts from bay ridge. According to at least one contemporary account, she died "without a trumpet or a groan". 17 After Topsy fell, the steam-powered winch tightened two nooses placed around her neck for 10 minutes.
Thompson and Dundy allowed 100 spectators into the park although more climbed through the park fence. Many more were on the balconies and roofs of nearby buildings, which were charging retrolisthesis admission to see the event. 10 The Electric Tower had been re-rigged with large ropes set up to strangle the elephant, which were inspected by travel the aspca agents to make sure they conformed to what had been agreed. The details of the electrocution part of the execution were handled by workers from the local power company, edison Electric Illuminating Company of Brooklyn, under the supervision of chief electrician. 12 They spent the night before 12 stringing power lines from the coney island electrical substation nine blocks to the park to carry alternating current they planned to redirect from a much larger plant in bay ridge, brooklyn. At bay ridge the staff was told to "get an engine ready and clear a feeder and bus to coney island Station". 13 A press photograph of the electrocution of Topsy with the unfinished "Electric Tower" in the background. Topsy was led out of her pen into the unfinished Luna park by carl Goliath, an expert on elephants who formerly worked for animal showman Carl Hagenbeck.
Press agent Murray arranged media coverage and posted banners around the park and on all four sides of the makeshift gallows advertising, "opening may 2ND 1903 luna park 1,000,000 exposition, the heart of coney island". On hearing Thompson and Dundy's plans, the President of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, john Peter haines, stepped in and forbade hanging as a "needlessly cruel means of killing Topsy" and also told Thompson and Dundy they could not conduct. Thompson and Dundy discussed alternatives with haines, going over methods used in previous attempts to euthanize elephants including poisoning, but that, as well as a 1901 attempt to electrocute an elephant named Jumbo ii two years earlier in Buffalo, new York, were botched. 11 After much negotiation, which included Thompson and Dundy trying to give the elephant to the aspca, a method of strangling the elephant with large ropes tied to a steam-powered winch was agreed upon. They also agreed they would use poisoning and electricity as well. 10 The date of Topsy's demise was finally set for Sunday, january 4, 1903. The press attention the event had received brought out an estimated 1500 spectators and 100 press photographers as well as agents from the aspca to inspect the proceedings.
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In December 1902 a drunk Alt rode topsy down the town streets of Coney island and walked, or tried to ride, topsy into the local police station. Accounts say topsy tried to batter her way through the station door and "she set up a terrific trumpeting leading the officers to take refuge in the cells. The handler was fired after the incident. Death edit topsy, standing in the middle of press photographers and on-lookers, refusing to cross the bridge over the lagoon to the spot where she was supposed to be killed. She eventually had to be wired up where she stood.
Without Alt to handle topsy, the owners of Luna park, frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy, claimed they could no longer handle the elephant and tried to get rid of her, but they could not even give her away and no other circus or zoo would. On December 13, 1902, luna park press agent Charles Murray released a statement to the newspapers that Topsy would be put to death within a few days by electrocution. At least one local paper noted that the steady drone of events and reports regarding Topsy from the park had the hallmarks of a publicity campaign designed to get the new park continually mentioned in the papers. 5 8 On January 1, 1903, Thompson and Dundy announced plans to conduct a public hanging of the elephant, 9 set for January 3 or 4, and collect a twenty-five cents a head admission to see yelp summary the spectacle. 10 The site they chose was an island in the middle of the lagoon for the old Shoot the Chute ride where they were building the centerpiece of their new park, the 200-foot Electric Tower (the structure had reached a height of 75 feet.
In June 1902 during the unloading of Topsy from a train in Kingston, new York, a spectator named louis Dodero used a stick in his hand to "tickle" Topsy behind the ear. Topsy seized Dodero around the waist with her trunk, hoisted him high in the air and threw him back down before being stopped by a handler. 5 Because of this attack the owners of Forepaugh sell Circus decided to sell Topsy. 6 sea lion and Luna park edit topsy was sold in June 1902 to paul boyton, owner of Coney island's sea lion Park, and added to the menagerie of animals on display there. The elephant's handler from Forepaugh, william "Whitey" Alt, 7 came along with Topsy to work at the park.
A bad summer season and competition with the nearby Steeplechase park made boyton decide to get out of the amusement park business. At the end of the year he leased sea lion Park to Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy who proceeded to redevelop it into a much larger attraction and renamed it Luna park. 6 Topsy was used in publicity, moving timbers and even the fanciful airship Luna, part of the amusement ride a trip to the moon, from Steeplechase to luna park, characterized in the media as "penance" for her rampaging ways. 6 During the moving of the luna in October 1902, handler William Alt was involved in an incident where he stabbed Topsy with a pitchfork trying to get her to pull the amusement ride. When confronted by a police officer, Alt turned Topsy loose from her work harness to run free in the streets, leading to Alt's arrest. The occurrence was attributed to the handler's drinking.
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At maturity, topsy was 10 ft high, 20 ft long, with claims she weighed between 4 and 6 tons. Over the years, topsy gained a reputation as a "bad" elephant. In 1902 another event brought her again to prominence: the killing of spectator James fielding Blount 3 in Brooklyn, new York at what was then the forepaugh sells Brothers' circus. Accounts vary as to what happened but the common story is that on the morning of may inventory 27, 1902, a possibly drunk Blount wandered into the menagerie tent where all the elephants were tied in a line and began teasing them in turn, offering them. He reportedly threw plan sand in Topsy's face and then burnt the extremely sensitive tip of her trunk with a lit cigar. 4 Topsy threw Blount to the ground with her trunk and then crushed him with her head, knees, or foot. Newspaper reports on Blount's death contained what seem to be exaggerated accounts of Topsy's man-killing past, with claims that she killed up to 12 men, but with more common accounts that, during the 1900 season, she had killed two forepaugh sells Brothers' circus workers, one. Journalist Michael Daly, in his 2013 book on Topsy, could find no record of anyone being killed by an elephant in Waco, and a handler attacked by topsy in Paris suffered injuries but there is no record of him dying. 5 The publicity generated by topsy's man killing brought very large crowds to the circus to see the elephant.
At the time forepaugh Circus was in competition with the. Barnum bailey circus over who had the most and biggest elephants. The name "Topsy" came from a slave girl character in Uncle tom's Cabin. Forepaugh announced to the press in February 1877 that his circus now boasted "the only baby elephant ever born on American soil". The elephant trader who sold Topsy to forepaugh also sold elephants. Barnum and tipped Barnum off about lab the deception. Barnum exposed the hoax publicly and Forepaugh stopped claiming that Topsy was born in America, only advertising that she was the first elephant born outside a tropical zone.
of Topsy fell into obscurity for the next 70 years but has become more prominent in popular culture, partly due to the fact that the film of the event still exists. In popular culture Thompson and Dundy's killing of Topsy has switched attribution, with claims it was an anti- alternating current demonstration organized by, thomas. Historians point out that Edison was never at Luna park and the electrocution of Topsy took place ten years after the war of Currents. 1 2, contents, forepaugh Circus edit 1899 poster for the combined Forepaugh sells Brothers Circus featuring acrobats' "Terrific flights over ponderous elephants". Topsy was born in the wild around 1875 in southeast Asia and was captured soon after by elephant traders. Adam Forepaugh, owner of the forepaugh Circus, had the elephant secretly smuggled into the United States with plans that he would advertise the baby as the first elephant born in America.
During her summary 25 years at Forepaugh, topsy gained a reputation as a "bad" elephant and, after killing a spectator in 1902, was sold to coney island's. When sea lion was leased out at the end of the 1902 season and redeveloped into. Luna park, topsy was involved in several well-publicized incidents, attributed to the actions of either her drunken handler or the park's new publicity-hungry owners, Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy. Their end-of-the-year plans to hang Topsy at the park in a public spectacle and charge admission were stopped by the. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The event was cut back to invited guests and press only and Thompson and Dundy agreed to use a more sure method of strangling the elephant with large ropes tied to a steam-powered winch with poison and electrocution planned for good measure. On January 4, 1903, in front of a small crowd of invited reporters and guests Topsy was fed poison, electrocuted, and strangled, the electrocution ultimately killing her.
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Topsy in a june 16, 1902. Paul Globe illustrations for a story about the elephant killing spectator Jesse Blount. The martingale harness was intended to partially restrain the elephant. Topsy (circa 1875 january 4, 1903) was a female. Asian elephant put to death at a, coney island, new York amusement park by electrocution in January 1903. Born in, southeast Asia around 1875, topsy pelleas was secretly brought into the. United States soon thereafter and added to the herd of performing elephants at the. Forepaugh Circus, who fraudulently advertised her as the first elephant born in America.