Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Luna Park

Female ♀ Asian elephant (<em>Elephas maximus</em>) Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) at Luna Park

☨ Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy)
ID nr:
Species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 28 years old
Dead date: 1903-01-04
Death reason: euthanised: electrocution with 6,600 volts by Thomas Edison
People killed:3
Location:Luna Park
ArrivalLuna Park 1902-00-00
from Forepaugh-Sells Show
Born:* 1875 wild
Document updated2013-07-01: book
Records about Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) from William "Buckles" Woodcocks Blog at
Early the following season in Brooklyn, "4-Paw Topsy" killed a man named Fielding Mount who was visiting the show. She was donated to nearby Coney Island Park but after a futile attempt to handle her, she was executed by electrocution, an event filmed by the Thomas Edison Movie Co.

Topsy (born circa 1875, died January 4, 1903), was a domesticated elephant with the Forepaugh Circus at Coney Island's Luna Park. Due to her having killed three men in as many years, Topsy was deemed a threat to people by her owners and put down via electrocution on January 4, 1903. Inventor Thomas Edison captured the event on film. He would release it later that year under the title, Electrocuting an Elephant.

An initial means of execution discussed was hanging. However, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals protested and other ways were considered. Edison then suggested electrocution, in order to discredit the use of AC electricity that was cutting into the market for his DC electricity. Edison then convinced the ASPCA that this would be more humane.

To augment the execution, Topsy was fed carrots laced with 460 grams of potassium cyanide before 6,600 volts of electricity were sent coursing through her body. She was dead in well under a minute. The event was witnessed by an estimated 1,500 people and Edison's film of the event was seen by audiences throughout the United States.

Luna Park burned down in a spectacular fire in 1944.

On July 20, 2003, a memorial for Topsy was erected at the Coney Island Museum.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL).
It uses material from the Wikipedia article " Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Luna Park ".

Videofilm: Electrocuting an Elephant, Thomas Edison

Reference list

Koehl, D., (2020). Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy), an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at Luna Park in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 23 October 2020 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:

Internal relevant links

External relevant links (Opens in new window)


Search more on the web for Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy)

Elephant Encyclopedia and database

Established 1995
Established 2006
Search for keywords

Locations of visitors to