Now mostly phased out as a means of execution in our country, the electric chair was once the most commonly used. In 1881, the state of New York made a committee to come up with better alternatives to hanging. Alfred P. Southwick, a member of this committee, presented the idea of death by electric current, allegedly after seeing how quick and painless it had happened to another man who accidentally died from electrocution.
The running theory is that because Southwick was a dentist, and used to working on people in chairs, the idea naturally came to him as being in the form of a chair. Harold P. Brown, who was an employee of Thomas Edison, and Arthur Kennelly, produced the first electric chair.
Because Brown and Kennelly worked on the chair under the supervision of Edison, the invention is often named Edison's. Today, most states execute people by means of a series of lethal injections, as it is viewed more humane than the electric chair.