Richard D. Moran: Executioner's Current Thomas Edison George Westinghouse and the Invention of the Electric Chair

Ebook Online Executioner's Current Thomas Edison George Westinghouse and the Invention of the Electric Chair ß Richard D. Moran –

Current electricity Being a competitive person he was not at all pleased when a former colleague George Westinghouse started lit p Buffalo sing alternating current With competing types of electrical current the rivalry between the two men became bitter and personal Westinghouse was saying that his type of electricity was efficient while Edison contended that DC electricity was safer than AC So as the rivalry became intense Edison persuaded the leaders of New York to se alternating current to execute criminals Westinghouse fought back seeing through Edison s ploy and concerned that his company would forever be associated with the electric chairThis is the story of how that played out in the late 19th century The author discusses in great detail the background of the argument as it plays out to the first electrocution in history The person executed was William Kemmler who was convicted of murdering his live in lover His trial and conviction did not take a long time but his numerous appeals played out for over a year as the various interested parties fought over allowing him to be electrocuted on the new electric chair Some argued that it would be a humane as it would be an instantaneous death and that the convicted criminal would not feel anything because the electricity would pass through the body faster and kill him faster than the nerves could register pain On the other side the argument was that it was a potentially cruel punishment and having never been done before it was also an The Drifter unusual punishment and therefore wasnconstitutional After all the arguments William was electrocuted though Up Close and Personal unfortunately for William it was horribly botchedI really enjoyed this book about the history of the electric chair and electrocution in America It readsickly while staying informative and engrossing I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys American history as well as late 19th century social sc. Dison in order to maintain commercial dominance set out to blacken the image of Westinghouse’s AC by persuading the State of New York to electrocute condemned criminals with AC current Westinghouse determined to keep AC from becoming known as the “executioner’s current” fought to stop the first electrocution claiming that se of the electric chair constituted cruel and nusual punishment The legal battle that ensued ended when the Supreme Court refused to rule The electrocution of William Kemler went

Richard Moran a sociologist and death penalty opponent argues that the electric chair was invented not to provide a humane alternative to hanging but as an attempt by Thomas Edison to gain financial advantage over his business rival George Westinghouse Even if Moran s thesis is a bit overstated his lucid prose reveals corporate machination and biased scientific testimony a plenty Over much of the book is devoted to the life and death of William Kemmler the nfortunate who beta tested the electric chair as well as blow by blow descriptions of all the legal action in his case from jury trial to the refusal of the US Supreme Court to rule that electrocution was cruel and nusual punishment Lots of information on two men that did what they could to control their empires Makes todays news stories look sad and little compared to the degree these two men went at it I found this to be an interesting book discussing the decision to The Cowboys Valentine (Crooked Valley Ranch use electricity as a painless and humane method of executing convicted criminalsDuring the last of the 19th century criminals were executed by hanging them While this was an accepted practice many people started to complain that this method was excessively cruel They felt thatnless the executioner was knowledgeable and experienced the hanging could be botched causing the criminal s execution to take 20 30 torturous minutes As bad as this was it was also a custom for the execution to be carried out in public with the idea that the display would discourage people from committing heinous crimes resulting in execution Along with deciding that a humane and less painful way was needed to execute criminals it was also decided that public displays were not helping to deter criminal activityAround the time that the debate of finding a better way to execute criminals started Thomas Edison brought about the age of electricity when he lit The Billionaires Unexpected Heir (Illegitimate Heirs up Manhattan s financial district with direct. The amazing story of how the electric chair developed not out of the desire for a method of execution humane than hanging but of an effort by one nineteenth century electric company to discredit the otherIn 1882 Thomas Edison launched “the age of electricity” by lightingp a portion of Manhattan with his direct current DC system Six years later George Westinghouse lit p Buffalo with his less expensive alternating current AC They ickly became locked in a battle for market share Richard Moran shows that

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Ience and how heavily it was influenced by businesses Very good account of how the electric chair was developed and initiated as an add for Edison s direct current in opposition to Westinghouse s alternating current It s pretty clear from the start that the author is both anti Edison and anti death penalty and The Change in Di Navarras Plan unfortunately this comes through pretty blatantly and gets in the way of honest historical research It s aick read but I don t feel it is comprehensive to the subject Horrifying yet informative I already kind of disliked Edison now I rather hate him for his role in the electric chair I wish that the book went a little into the electric chair s role in the 20th century but when a book goes into this much detail you can t make the focus too broad The illustrations of the electric chairs may make people sitting next to you on the subway nervous An interesting story but told in incredible detail This is perhaps Tender Love useful for a scholar in this field but if you just want the main story you have to wade through an awful lot of repetition details such as what 10 different newspapers or journalists reported numerous differing opinions from committee members or those called to court I m not sure who this book was aimed at but it s not really for the general reader Main focus is on the legal manuevering around the first execution by electrocution Much of the legal action result of the conflict between Westinghouse Edison Basically Edison stuck with a direct current system that was provingnpopular once people realized that it reuired a generation plant every few miles tried to make the se of alternating current championed by Westinghouse in an execution into a marketing ploy that would show that alternating current was too dangerous to have around the house Edison and cronies killed several animals as well to make the point The result of the legal maneuvering was clarification of cruel nusual. Orward in New York’s Auburn Pen itentiary in August 1890 and was horribly botched Moran makes clear how this industry tug of war raised many profound and disturbing The Bridal Bed uestions not only about electrocution but about the technological nature of the search for a humane method of execution And the fundamentalestion he says remains with s today Can execution ever be considered humane A superbly told tale of industrial and political skullduggery that brings to light a little known chapter of modern American histo.