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

 ☨ ♀ Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy)  



Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 28 years old

People killed:3
Born:* 1875 wild
Birth place:
Dead: 1903-01-04
Death reason: euthanised: electrocution with 6,600 volts by Thomas Edison
Present / last location:Luna Park, in United States

Date of Arrival
(Presently sometimes errors!)

1902-00-00Luna Park
from Forepaugh-Sells Show

Document updated2013-07-01: book
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† Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) is a dead Female ♀ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died at Luna Park, in United States, from euthanised 1903-01-04. Official death reason described as electrocution with 6,600 volts by Thomas Edison. (see detailed list).


Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy) was born wild 1875.

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

Videofilm: Electrocuting an Elephant, Thomas Edison

Reference listKoehl, Dan, (2021). Topsy (4-Paw Topsy, Crooked-tail Topsy), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) located at Luna Park in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 25 July 2021 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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  • Categories1903 deaths | 1875 births | Elephants from Luna Park | United States | Mankillers | Asian elephants

    This document was updated: 2020-10-18 06:25:24

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