Topsy Famous memorial

Death 4 Jan 1903 (aged 27–28)
Coney Island, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Burial Coney Island, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Memorial
Memorial ID 39229488 View Source

Animal Figure. Topsy was a domesticated elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Coney Island's Luna Park. She had killed 3 men in as many years although it was undoubtedly because she was severely abused by her trainers. She was deemed a threat to people by her owners and they discussed several means of execution. It was decided that electrocution would be most expedient and Thomas Edison was more than happy to oblige as he was involved in a War of Currents with George Westinghouse. Edison wanted to show that AC was very dangerous as opposed to his DC system and he hoped to prevent adoption of Westinghouse's system. He created a spectacle which was witnessed by an estimated 1500 people and a film of the event which was shown around the US. She was fed carrots with a pound of potassium cyanide to ensure success and she died within seconds of administering 6600 volts. Portions of the movie have appeared in several recent movies and music videos and the event was the inspiration for several songs and a novel.

Bio by: Big Ern


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Big Ern
  • Added: 8 Jul 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 39229488
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Topsy (1875–4 Jan 1903), Find a Grave Memorial ID 39229488, citing Coney Island Museum, Coney Island, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .