Episode: Electric Chair | War of the Currents | 1

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Electric Chair | War of the Currents | 1

On August 6, 1890, a prisoner named William Kemmler became the first man executed in the electric chair. It was designed to be a more humane form of execution, but the gruesome scene in the death chamber that day revealed the device to be anything but. 

Still, the chair stuck around. And Kemmler’s execution proved to be a pivotal moment in the history of capital punishment. But if you pull back just slightly, you’ll see that the story of the electric chair was just one small chapter in another story — a much larger story — that would come to define the world we live in.

This other story involved three titans of innovation—Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse — locked in a desperate fight for control of the future of electricity.  Their conflict would take lives, spark scientific advances and revolutionize human existence. And it would come to be called the War of the Currents. 

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