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Audio of Stuff You Missed: The Electrocution of William Kemmler

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station description Stuff You Missed in History Class
Stuff You Missed in History Class
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Duration: 36:41
William Kemmler was the first man to be put to death in the electric chair, at a time when a great deal of conflict and controversy swirled around the death penalty.
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After committing a brutal murder, William Kemmler was the first man to be put to death in the electric chair, at a time when a great deal of conflict and controversy swirled around the death penalty.
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modified into being an official means of death in a death sentence. It's a lot to take in. But as part of the commission's investigation into the matter, Southwick who, of course, already was into this idea of electricity for it sent Thomas Alva Edison a letter. That letter was dated November 8th, 18 87 and it asked Edison for his thoughts as an expert on the best way to execute a human using electricity, and Edison wanted no part of it. He was against capital punishment, and he certainly did not want his knowledge about electricity used to end a human life. But South like, wasn't dissuaded. He continued his correspondence with Edison requesting again in December any insights that the famous inventor had about how one might put a man to death using electric current South Look made the case that he was trying to find something more humane than hanging and that Edison's expertise could help get that needed Legislation passed. So a month after Southwick had initially reached out to Edison, he finally got the information that he desired from the inventor who wrote quote. The most suitable apparatus for this purpose is that class of Dynamo Electric Machinery, which employs intermittent currents. The most effective of these are known as alternating machines, manufactured principally in this country by George Westinghouse. The change of heart was born of a desire to end this rivalry with one swift blue if Westinghouse's company and its alternating current became associated with execution covered by the
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