History of the Electric Chair
On the morning of August 6, 1980, at Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution in history is carried out against William Kemmler, who had been convicted of murdering his lover, Matilda Ziegler, with an axe.
Electrocution as a humane means of execution was first suggested in 1881 by Dr. Albert Southwick, a dentist and employee of Thomas Edison and his colleague Harold Brown.
Although the majority of Edison’s projects used direct current for the electric chair alternating current was chosen because it had more power and was more efficient, therefore had the perfect ingredients for a “human” execution.
Ans so, Kemmler, the murderer, became he guinea pig of human executions the american style. This procedure should have been an easier way to deal with capital punishments, less suffering and a quicker death, unlike previous methods like hanging and guillotine. But things were not that easy.
First attempt failed. Kemmler survived a first 17 seconds charge of 1000 volts, way over the level agreed upon to be lethal.
So a second charge of 2000 volts, lasting a little over a minute, rendered Kemmler dead and the witnesses horrified.
Some applauded Kemmler’s execution with the declaration, “We live in a higher civilization from this day on,” while American inventor George Westinghouse, an innovator of the use of electricity, remarked, “They would have done better with an axe”.
Shortly after, the execution was all over the news in America, France, Belgium and the UK. Europe was in no hurry to adopt the new, more humane, method for the death penalty”.
Even in the US only some states adopted the use of electric chair because a more modern method would be available soon, the lethal injection.
Today the electric chair is almost obsolete. Actually the idea of lethal punishment is being reconsidered, or even abolished in most developed countries and less practiced in developing ones.
On the 10th of May 2002, in the US, a woman was convicted to death by electrocution for killing a police officer. Since then only 8 executions like this have taken place in the US.
On a happier note
At the beginning of the 20th century the news about the electric chair traveled the world and caught the eye of Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia, who ordered 3 for his kingdom.
When the chairs arrived, Menelik learnt they would not work, as Ethiopia did not yet have an electric power industry. Rather than waste his investment, Menelik used one of the chairs as his throne until 1913.
Chambers’ Electric Chair, the main theme in one of our rooms, is a perfect replica of Texas’ Old Sparky. We called it Fandango’s Electric Chair, like the secret location from our story.
The original Old Sparky was used from 1924 until 1964, on 361 people. Our very own electric chair was very well build by craftsmen so it can out stand any shocks during the executions.
You can visit Old Sparky in a museum in Texas, but that is kinda far away so why not book a game in the Electric Chair, and you can see a real execution chair right here at Chambers in Bucharest near Izvor park.
Short game story: you are being brought to Fandango prison in a secret location to be executed on the electric chair. A member of your team will be tied to the electric chair at the beginning of the game (one of your first goals being to untie him).
You have 60 minutes to escape Fandango prison. Teams can have 3 to 4 people.
Book your game now: Electric Chair.