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Edison and 'the chair' [legal electrocution, history]

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2 Author(s)
Reynolds, T.S. ; Michigan Technol. Univ., Houghton, MI, USA ; Bernstein, T.

Although Thomas Edison had little knowledge of the biological effects of electric currents on humans, he exerted a pivotal influence on the early history of legal electrocution, from the decision to substitute electrocution for hanging in 1888 to the actual design of an electric chair in 1892. The authors suggest he was able to play a pivotal role because of his status as an electrical wizard, demonstrating how largely nontechnical, nonscientific factors like status can have an important impact on the way seemingly scientific and technical problems that impinge on society are resolved.<>

Published in:

Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 1 )