19 Totally Mind-Blowing Facts
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The electric chair was invented by a dentist.


A DENTIST invented the electric chair.

Dentist Alfred P. Southwick watched a drunk man accidentally shock himself to death in 1881. This inspired him to come up with a new method for executing people on death row. He figured this would be a good alternative to hanging because it would be quick and painless (unlike going to the dentist, which is often long and painful).

Employees of Thomas Edison's company designed the first electric chair. They used a generator from the rival Westinghouse Corporation to power the chair so that customers will think that Westinghouse's products were deadly. They even tried to popularize "westinghouse" as a word to describe using the chair, but the word "electrocute" (electric+execute) became more popular. In response, George Westinghouse funded the appeals of inmates so that they wouldn't be killed by his technology.

The first ever use of the electric chair in an execution in 1890 hardly proved to be quick and painless. The inmate had to be shocked two times, his body caught on fire, and he started bleeding.
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