Modern Marvels

Wednesday 10:00 PM on The History Channel Premiered Jan 01, 1995 In Season


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Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/17/2005

Season 12 : Episode 42

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AIRS ON 6/21/2018

Season 12 : Episode 42

Episode Guide

    • Banks
      Season 7 - Episode 21
      They have been the backbone of the world's economy for centuries, but they have also been constantly reinvented over that time. And recent technological innovations promise to continue that trend, possibly revolutionizing the banking industry. From the influence of men like Alexander Hamilton to the creation of the FDIC, this is a fascinating chronicle of the institutions at the backbone of the world's economy. This show ventures back to the days of the Medicis and inside the mysterious workings of an ATM in this comprehensive look at the banking industry. We'll get the complete story behind such institutions as the Federal Reserve and the FDIC, and examine the influence of such notable figures as Alexander Hamilton, Henry Wells, Aaron Burr, William Fargo, A.P. Giannini, Andrew Jackson and J.P. Morgan. And experts and insiders consider the impact of comparably recent developments like the credit card and electronic banking, as well as the changes that the future may hold. More than just the storehouses of wealth, they have created fame and fortune and shaped the course of history.moreless
    • World Trade Center
      World Trade Center
      Season 8 - Episode 19
      World Trade Center from the show Modern Marvels is a documentary on the two World Trade Center towers that previously stood in the heart of New York City. The in-depth documentary covers everything from the planning, to the construction, and even to the jobs that people would have inside the newly built towers.moreless
    • Train Wrecks
      Train Wrecks
      Season 8 - Episode 43
      Throughout railroad history, disasters lay at the heart of progress, since expansion and profit proved the main goals of management. In 1875 alone, an average of 22 train accidents happened daily; in 1890, over 6,000 people were killed. We'll examine how safety, once a secondary consideration, became a primary goal.
    • Times Square
      Times Square
      Season 8 - Episode 36
      New York City's Times Square is the city's most vibrant area.
    • Presidential Movers
      Season 11 - Episode 53
      The vehicles that transport the President of the United States aren't your ordinary planes, trains, and automobiles. They are top-secret. And for your Average Joe, there's only two ways to find out what they're really like inside--either get elected or stay tuned...
    • Super Steam
      Season 16 - Episode 16
      It's full steam ahead when we drop in at Jay Leno's garage as Jay fires up two of his classic steam cars and takes viewers for a couple of rides. Jay also shows off his 11-ton steam engine built in 1860, back when pigs had to be slaughtered to keep it lubricated. In northern Nevada, fire up a coal burning boiler and get a 100-year-old steam locomotive chugging across the rugged landscape. In New Orleans, board an authentic paddlewheel steamboat. Trek to the Southern California desert where geothermal steam rushes up from the ground and drives electricity producing turbines, powering over 300,000 homes. In New York City, find out why manmade steam surges into some of the world's most famous skyscrapers. Steam clean some very dirty machines, and do a little laundry, too. And ride a steam-driven carousel and play with some strange, steam-powered robots that are part of a movement called--what else--"steampunk."moreless
    • Da Vinci Tech
      Da Vinci Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 61
      Modern Marvels takes a look at the incredible works of Leonardo da Vinci.
    • Walt Disney World
      Season 12 - Episode 66
      In this two-hour special, journey underground and backstage at Wald Disney World, a make-believe world spanning some 27,000 acres, brought to life by cutting-edge technology.
    • Rubber
      Season 11 - Episode 22
      The story of rubber is more than tires, toys, gloves, and gum--it's imbedded in modern life, from the controversial Challenger O-rings to seals on hydrogen fuel cells. A gigantic worldwide synthetic rubber industry creates exotic elastomers for high-tech applications, while China's rapid industrialization plays havoc with the world's natural rubber supply. From the ancient Olmecs of Yucatán, who knew the secret of vulcanization, to modern processing plants, we trace rubber's history and future.moreless
    • Star Wars Tech
      Star Wars Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 32
      Take a look at the technology shown throughout the six Star Wars films and examine their viability through the eyes of cold hard science.
    • Bible Tech
      Bible Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 12
      Arguably the most influential book ever written, the Bible provides a glimpse into the origins of ancient technology and its use to withstand the elements, build great structures, wage war, and conserve precious water. We examine the technological plausibility of biblical structures and machines--including the Tower of Babylon, the Temple of Jerusalem, ancient bronze and iron forging, and shipbuilding skills that might have been employed to build Noah's Ark.moreless
    • The Telephone
      The Telephone
      Season 4 - Episode 2
      Undeniably essential to modern life, the telephone is the most important, influential, and effective communication tool ever developed. Stay on the line with THE HISTORY CHANNEL to witness this invention's unbelievably dramatic true story-one of false starts, close calls, and a bitter rivalry. All his life, Alexander Graham Bell was driven by a desire to create a machine that would make it easier for the deaf to speak and hear. Using an actual human ear from a cadaver to understand the nature of sound, Bell even enlisted a young Thomas Edison to help invent what would become the telephone. Exploring how one man's speaking device has grown into the technological web that links humankind, this thrilling program also revisits the race between Bell and rival Elisha Gray—who was building a similar design but ultimately filed the history-changing patent just two hours after Bell.moreless
    • The Tool Bench: Power Tools
      The Tool Bench: Power Tools
      Season 6 - Episode 37
      The history of civilization could easily be measured in terms of our ability to make, use, and improve tools--an activity that is at least 4-million years old! At the tip of our toolmaking timeline are power tools. We'll examine today's power tool industry, which is booming thanks to more powerful, lighter, and quieter cordless tools.moreless
    • Fireworks
      Season 6 - Episode 34
      Since the invention of gunpowder, fireworks have thrilled audiences around the world. We'll review highlights of fireworks exhibitions throughout history, and go behind the scenes to explore how science and art mingle in this unique, ancient craft. The world's preeminent fireworks families explain how they create their spectacles.
    • Front Line Reporting
      Front Line Reporting
      Season 11 - Episode 10
      From Matthew Brady's chilling images of the Civil War to the scripted briefings in the first Gulf War and the "embedded" reporters of the second, we examine the uneasy nexus of war and journalism. Learn the stories of pioneers like William Russell, head to Vietnam with Walter Cronkite, and get an up-close look at the technology that lets audiences thousands of miles away see pivotal engagements as they unfold.moreless
    • Extreme Aircraft
      Season 11 - Episode 29
      Join us for a supersonic look at some of the most cutting-edge aircraft ever developed--from the X-1 that first broke the sound barrier to the X-43 Scramjet that recently flew at Mach 7. These extreme aircraft have made their mark on aeronautical history, and sometimes on political history as well. The U-2 and SR-71 spy planes played a crucial role in the Cold War, and now Lockheed Martin's top-secret "Skunkworks" division is touting the new "air dominance" fighter plane-- the F/A-22 Raptor.moreless
    • Muscle Cars
      Muscle Cars
      Season 9 - Episode 40
      Pop open the hood, check out the carbs, and hear the engines roar as we journey back to a time when gas was cheap, emission controls non-existent, and all that mattered was acceleration and speed. During the 1960s and '70s, GM, Ford, and Chrysler competed to create high-performance cars at prices teenage baby boomers could afford. Featuring interviews with John DeLorean, creator of the Pontiac GTO, and his marketing partner Jim Wangers, we go behind the scene of the muscle-car wars.moreless
    • Super Guns
      Super Guns
      Season 9 - Episode 26
      An examination of guns that exist on the cutting edge of firearm technology. Fighting battles on computers decades before an actual shot is fired, these super guns may make the world safer...or more dangerous than ever before.
    • Mackinac Bridge
      Mackinac Bridge
      Season 10 - Episode 7
      Until recently, the Mackinac Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the top engineering marvels of the 20th century, the bridge spans the 4-mile wide straits of Mackinac, where Lakes Huron and Michigan come together. The Mighty Mac connects the pastoral northern mainland of Michigan with the state's heavily forested Upper Peninsula and stands as a testament to the dreams, determination, and hard work of a small few who created a true masterpiece of modern engineering.moreless
    • Truck Stops
      Season 14 - Episode 21
      Catering to more than twenty million truckers, truck stops are bigger and better than ever. These mega-pit stops are essential to the trucks and truckers that haul eight billion tons of freight annually.
    • The Tool Bench: Hand Tools
      The Tool Bench: Hand Tools
      Season 6 - Episode 38
      Well over 2-million years before modern man evolved, his primitive ancestors were making tools. The ability to extend the hand and strengthen the arm is considered one of the keys to human evolution. Join us as we nail down the history of hand tools, and look at a new generation of computer-designed, high-tech hand tools.moreless
    • Empire State Building
      Season 1 - Episode 2
      The Empire State building rose to become the world's tallest man-made structure at a time when dreams were in short supply. Planned during the 1920s, construction was almost grounded by the Depression until the "Cathedral of Dreams" came to symbolize the indomitable American spirit.

      "Two stories a day" became the mission. Up went the rivets, the steel and the fearless men. In just two years the miracle of engineering was finished, justifying a nation's belief in itself. Here is the colorful story of this beloved building, including the innovations it inspired, and its enduring popularity today. From the first plans to the final rivet, explore the incredible story of the EMPIRE STATE BUILDING.moreless
    • Brewing
      Season 12 - Episode 59
      It's one of the world's oldest and most beloved beverages, revered by Pharaohs and brewed by America's Founding Fathers. Today, brewing the bitter elixir is a multi-billion-dollar global industry.
    • Oil
      Season 3 - Episode 7
      From the first well in Pennsylvania to the gushing Spindletop and modern supertankers, the story of oil is the story of civilization as we know it. We'll take a look at the ingenious and outrageous men who risked everything for "black gold" and unimaginable wealth.
    • Horsepower
      Season 13 - Episode 40
      Buckle up for a rip-roaring ride through the world of extreme horsepower. Experience the fastest accelerating cars on earth. Find out how horsepower was first coined as a marketing tool for the steam engine in the early 1800s and meet the horsepower police--the Society of Automotive Engineers who test today's most powerful car engines. Feel the amazing power of Unlimited Hydroplane racing as 3-ton boat-beasts careen across water at speeds of over 200 miles per hour. Journey to the bowels of an enormous container ship where the world's most powerful diesel engine provides over 100,000 horsepower. At the Hoover Dam, watch as it harnesses the enormous power of water. Explore the 80,000 horsepower pumping units at the Edmonston Pumping Plant that delivers 2-billion gallons of water a day to thirsty Californians. And sit behind the steering wheel of a new generation of hybrid cars that boast 400-horsepower yet get 42 miles per gallon of gas.moreless
    • World's Biggest Machines 5
      World's Biggest Machines 5
      Season 13 - Episode 25
      Join us for another look at big machines. At NASA's Ames Research Center, we visit the world's biggest wind tunnel, part of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, and one of the biggest and most complex flight simulators, NASA's Vertical Motion Simulator, or VMS. At the Joy Mining Machinery plant in Franklin, Pennsylvania, giant machine tools form, cut, and measure the enormous individual parts that make up a Continuous Miner, the biggest underground mining machine in the world. But big machines aren't limited to science and commerce. Ride with us on the biggest observation wheel in the world, the London Eye, which stands 443 feet high and provides a 360 degree unobstructed view of London. And we take a look at IMAX technology. The film, cameras, projectors, and theater screens are the largest in the world. Finally, we take a ride on every lawn tender's dream machine--the Claas Cougar, the world's biggest lawnmower.moreless
    • Inviting Disaster #1
      Inviting Disaster #1
      Season 10 - Episode 50
      They make our lives more comfortable, more rewarding, and more secure. They are the magical machines that have brought us to the edge of the new frontier of limitless possibilities. But it is a hinterland filled with dangers and demons of our own creation. Based on the popular book Inviting Disaster by James Chiles, in this episode we explore the nuclear nightmares of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.moreless
    • Buses
      Season 7 - Episode 19
      On this episode of Modern Marvels, we show you the ins and outs of the booming bus industry. From the construction process of an M.C.I. Renaissance Coach Bus, which uses a state of the art truss structure, to the daily operations of L.A. city buses. When combined, L.A. city buses average a total of over one hundred million miles a year in travel! All this and more on Modern Marvels: Buses, brought to you by The History Channel.moreless
    • Shotguns
      Season 13 - Episode 38
      The first specialized gun, the British upper-class used it to shoot birds and small game for sport. The shotgun took on a variety of roles, used by hunter and warrior alike.
    • Money
      Season 13 - Episode 19
      How does America make money--literally? We visit the United States Mint and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving to see the secretive government facilities where our legal tender is generated. With a storied past as tantalizing as the wealth they create, these mints can spit out fortunes in an hour and keep our economy flowing.moreless
    • Gas Tech
      Gas Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 54
      Gas--it makes a balloon go up, cooks our food, and fills our lungs. But this invisible state of matter does far more, and has a very visible impact on the world. We follow natural gas from well tip to stove top and trace its use from 3rd century BC Chinese salt producers to modern appliances. Next, we investigate the most plentiful gas in the universe--hydrogen--which may also prove to be the most powerful. We also experience the cryogenic world of industrial gasses--what they do and where they come from--as we travel to the British Oxygen Company's Braddock Air Separation Plant to see how they freeze millions of tons of oxygen and nitrogen. And at the Bush Dome Helium Reserve in Texas, we learn why the US government sits atop 36-billion cubic feet of the stuff. Finally, we look inside the colorful world of gas and neon lights. So lay back, breathe deep, and count backwards from 10...moreless
    • Rocks
      Season 14 - Episode 41
      From the Stone Age to the Space Age, our world has been built from rocks.
    • Star Trek Tech
      Star Trek Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 8
      For forty years Star Trek has engulfed our imagination and sent us on voyages across the galaxy. Take a look at the technology behind the gadgets used in the series.
    • Mount Rushmore
      Season 1 - Episode 4
      Towering over the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was the vision of Gutzon Borglum, a combative and fiercely talented young sculptor. To elicit public support for his dream, Borglum whipped American patriotism into a frenzy, finally securing the financing he needed to embark on the creation of his awe-inspiring monument. Over the course of 15 years, 350 men poured their sweat into Borglum's vision, using drills and explosives to chisel Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt into the massive granite cliff. Here is the controversial history of this unorthodox masterpiece, including the remarkable design specifications, the tragedies and setbacks that marred its construction, and the awe it inspires to this day.moreless
    • Stealth & Beyond: Air Stealth
      Stealth & Beyond: Air Stealth
      Season 13 - Episode 45
      They are the swarthy eagles of the sky: Past, present, and future advances in stealth military aircraft
    • 90's Tech
      90's Tech
      Season 15 - Episode 3
      The decade opened up the information superhighway and for the first time, people could shop, search, and surf online with the click of a mouse. Take a trip to the end of the 20th century and the beginning of today technologies.
    • Mega Meals
      Season 15 - Episode 43
      Explore the complex logistics behind creating feasts for the largest and most ravenous crowds. At the U.S. Naval Base in Bangor, Washington, hop aboard a nuclear submarine stuffed with enough food for a 120-day mission. At the U.S. Marine Corps' base in Twentynine Palms, California, follow a brigade of cooks as they prepare their "Victory Meal" for more than a thousand Marines. At the Philadelphia Eagles' football stadium, see how a major food supplier satisfies 69,000 fans during an NFL game. Watch a team of experts rapidly assemble a remote kitchen as they prepare to cater the official after party of the American Music Awards. In Las Vegas, the cooking team at Planet Hollywood's Spice Market Buffet will show viewers what it takes to feed a never-ending line of gamblers. And at Gate Gourmet kitchen in New York, watch as thousands of airline meals are whipped together in just one day.moreless
    • Bombs
      Season 6 - Episode 9
      Bombs...the most feared and powerful weapon in any nation's arsenal. What began as incendiary devices in the 7th century has evolved into weapons that can literally blow the human race off the face of the earth! From the use of diseased carcasses flung over castle walls to Greek Fire to today's smart bombs, we review the evolution of bombs.moreless
    • The John Hancock Center
      The John Hancock Center
      Season 12 - Episode 28
      A steel giant standing 1,107 feet high on broad shoulders, this vertical city houses 1,200 people. Join us as we explore how a young architectural team from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill conceived of an innovative 100-story, multi-use tower. A construction crisis halted the project for six months, but once it resumed, it took just four years and 50 million man-hours to complete the John Hancock Center. In the heart of Chicago, the John Hancock Center rises 100 stories above the luxury shops and restaurants that line the famous Magnificent Mile. It opened on May 5, 1970 with 237,657 square feet of retailing, 812,160 square feet of offices, 703 rental apartments (converted to condominiums in 1974), 507-car parking garage, and an ice skating rink! There are 1,250 miles of wiring and 11,459 panes of glass. Nicknamed "Big John", it cost $100-million and took 46,000 tons of steel to build.moreless
    • Environmental Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 2
      From the prairies of Saskatchewan to a Manhattan skyscraper we'll see the 21st Century's cutting-edge "green" technologies in action. New technologies such as carbon sequestration and bioremediation take on our most daunting environmental crises, from global warming and deforestation to nuclear waste and resource scarcity. See how blue-green algae are converted into automotive biofuel and methane from decomposing garbage is turned into clean-burning natural gas. Finally, see how trees and other natural environments can be used as engineering materials to control flooding and rejuvenate dying rivers.moreless
    • Axes, Swords and Knives
      Axes, Swords and Knives
      Season 9 - Episode 16
      Blade implements have been a part of civilized man's arsenal since the Paleolithic Age, when sharp tools were chipped off of flint or obsidian. But with the discovery of metallurgy, people were able to forge stronger, more versatile blade implements. We visit an axe-throwing contest in Wisconsin for an introduction to the least subtle of the blade tools. Then we visit a swordsmith and an experienced swordfighter who work in traditional methods from ancient sources, and review the history of knives.moreless
    • The Erie Canal
      Season 7 - Episode 22
      It was a 363-mile highway linking the western frontier to the Atlantic seaboard. It shaped the history of the nation and transformed New York City from a minor seaport into a commercial capital. THE ERIE CANAL was as important an engineering project as has ever been undertaken. MODERN MARVELSTM ventures back to the early days of the 19th century to tell its complete, captivating story. Despite its ambitious intent, it was originally derided as "Clinton's Folly," referring to New York governor Dewitt Clinton, who spearheaded efforts to create the canal. Just eight years later, in 1825, newspapers declared the recently completed canal "The Eighth Wonder of the World." It immediately proved its worth, generating millions of dollars in tolls, opening up the interior of the state to development and spurring the creation of new towns. For years, it remained the commercial backbone of the region, and today, it is a treasure house of history, an invaluable reminder of a vanished era. From the first shovel of dirt to its survival into the 21st century, this is the extraordinary story of THE ERIE CANAL.moreless
    • Ben Franklin Tech
      Ben Franklin Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 16
      One of the most prodigious American inventors, Ben Franklin is credited for creating things like the lightning rod, the armonica, the Franklin stove, bifocal glasses, and the flexible urinary catheter. In this episode of Modern Marvels, we examine how Dr. Franklin's inventive genius extended to things like Daylight Savings Time and the voluntary fire department.moreless
    • Pirate Tech
      Pirate Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 23
      Bold, cunning, and audacious, pirates are a breed of fighting men and women who have terrorized the high seas since before recorded history. At the height of their power in the 1700's they literally influenced the fate of nations when they became embroiled in the rivalry between England and Spain. This special will visit maritime museums and shipwreck sites, utilize walk-and-talk demonstrations of fire arms, swords, and navigation instruments to help spotlight the innovations pirates brought to maritime technology. Includes a look at how many pirates modified their ships to make them faster and more powerful.moreless
    • Edison Tech
      Edison Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 33
      He was the father of the future...electric lights, power systems, motion pictures, recorded sound--even the tattoo pen. Life as we know it would be inconceivable without the prodigious output of the Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Alva Edison. His intense focus on his work came with a hefty personal price, but his reward was a world forever changed by his genius. Years after his death, Edison's effect is seen, heard, and felt everywhere. We follow descendants of his motion-picture camera to the tops of Earth's highest mountains, to the bottoms of its deepest oceans, and even into outer space. We track his innovations in recorded sound to CDs, iPods, sophisticated movie sound, and satellite radio. And we illuminate his world of electric light, powering the world and turning night into day. Along the way, we discover a little Edison in corners of modern life less well-known and even look at his failures. From the Internet to the stock market to pay-per-view; the Wizard is everywhere.moreless
    • Tomcat Sunset
      Tomcat Sunset
      Season 13 - Episode 50
      Hosted by Terry Deitz, a former Tomcat pilot, this special explores the legacy of one of the greatest fighter jets ever built. Witness first hand the last F-14 catapult launches and arrested trap landings aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Hear what the aviators and sailors who have flown and maintained this iconic aircraft over the years have to say about its long lived active duty career. Deitz will ride shotgun one last time before the F-14 is retired. Then reflect with veteran pilots, Navy brass, and airplane enthusiasts as the world bids farewell at the F-14 Memorial and Final Flight Ceremony at the Naval Air Station in Oceana, VA.moreless
    • Freight Trains
      Freight Trains
      Season 13 - Episode 42
      Explore the history of freight transportation from its humble beginnings as tramways in mines to complex system of rails that stretches to every corner of the nation.
    • Secrets of Oil
      Secrets of Oil
      Season 15 - Episode 25
      Rubber, plastic, nylon, aerosols, resins, solvents, & lubricants; none can exist without oil. If we stopped driving our cars tomorrow, America would still need 5 million barrels of oil a day.
    • The World's Fastest
      The World's Fastest
      Season 12 - Episode 44
      Perhaps no field has experienced this revolution in velocity more acutely than transportation. We look at five blazingly fast technological marvels that have pushed the speed limits to the very edge, each with its own unique and dramatic history: the world's fastest production car (Sweden's Koenigsegg CCR); the world's fastest train (the Maglev in Shanghai); the world's fastest boat (The Spirit of Australia); the world's fastest roller coaster (the Kingda Ka) and the fastest thing on earth (the Holloman High Speed Test Track), used to test highly sensitive equipment for many branches of the government and commercial clients.moreless
    • Christmas Tech
      Christmas Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 59
      Christmas is observed by nearly one-third of the world's population and probably more if you count the non-Christians who incorporate the more secular traditions into their winter season. Every year, revelers go all out with trees, ornaments, lights, window displays and Christmas treats. Technological advancements have made them cheaper, easier and safer.moreless
    • Toys
      Season 10 - Episode 65
      All aboard the nostalgia express as we take a trip through the past to enjoy toys of our youth--the ones we can't forget and those that some of use never gave up! This is the real toy story! We take a look at five categories of boys' toys and see what relationship they have had on the development of young minds; talk with collectors of antique and specialty toys; and visit companies that make electric trains, Matchbox Cars, GI Joe action figures, and LEGO Bricks, among others.moreless
    • Washington Monument
      Washington Monument
      Season 11 - Episode 65
      The U.S. capital boasts many memorials, but none with a more bizarre history than the obelisk erected to America's first president. Over 55 stories high and weighing over 90,000 tons, the Washington Monument stands stalwart in the city's center. From concept to completion, it took 100 years--years filled with mystery, ceremony, conflict, government action, and inaction. Proposed in the late 1700s by a group of prominent citizens and finished in the late 1800s by the Army Corps of Engineers, the exterior is mainly Maryland white marble, while the interior is made of granite, iron...and a few surprises. How did it come together and why did it take so long? Historians tell stories of stalling bureaucracy, secret societies, and triumphant engineering. Stark and daunting on the outside, we let viewers know what's inside.moreless
    • Bullet Trains
      Bullet Trains
      Season 10 - Episode 8
      Traveling between 135 and 190 miles per hour with an astonishingly high safety record, bullet trains can be found throughout Europe, Japan, and on the U.S. eastern seaboard. How high-speed trains are propelled is rooted in fundamentals that haven't changed since the first electric trolleys appeared in the 19th century. We see how scientists are looking at new alternatives to electricity, including magnetic levitation that can move passenger trains 345 miles per hour and beyond!moreless
    • Apollo 11
      Season 11 - Episode 28
      As mankind's greatest achievement of the 20th century, Apollo 11 stood as the apogee of science, exploration, flight, and technological prowess. In scarcely 10 years, America went from rocketing monkeys to landing a man on the moon. Leaving Earth on July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Mike Collins pushed the limits of skill and endurance. See and experience the flight of Apollo 11 through the eyes of the astronauts, mission controllers, engineers, and designers who made it happen.moreless
    • Las Vegas
      Season 2 - Episode 3
      Born on a patch of desert sand, it's now a neon oasis where nothing is ever what it seems. Its grand hotels and casinos tower over the horizon and prove that size really does matter in Sin City, and the more spectacular the better. Uncover the secrets behind this man made Mecca for gamblers.moreless
    • BBQ Tech
      BBQ Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 20
      An old-fashioned style of cooking, barbecue has evolved into a modern food craze and spawned a multi-billion dollar industry. We digest famous barbecue cook-offs and visit long-established barbecue restaurants like Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, where the huge grills and taste thrills of true barbecue are more popular than ever. At home, three out of four US households own a grill. After WWII's end, the phenomenon of backyard barbecuing swept the nation, thanks to inexpensive and mass-produced grills, including the kettle-shaped Weber. Our tour of Weber's modern factories shows how they keep pace with demand by manufacturing more choices than ever, including portable mini-grills. We also examine the variety of fuels available for the savory selection of spicy sauces and rubs. Join us as we devour the mouthwatering flavors of BBQ in this episode.moreless
    • Silver Mines
      Silver Mines
      Season 3 - Episode 3
      It was called the "mother lode", a deposit of silver so massive that it would produce $300-million in its first 25 years of operation, establish Nevada as a state, and bankroll the Union Army in the Civil War. Named after an early investor, we'll see how the Comstock Lode, discovered near Virginia City, proved to be a scientific laboratory from which vast improvements in mining technology and safety were pioneered, including innovations in drilling, ventilation, drainage, and ore processing.moreless
    • More of the World's Biggest Machines
      More of the World's Biggest Machines
      Season 11 - Episode 45
      On land, in the air, or on the sea--we examine some of the biggest machines ever built, including: the Antonov AN-225, the world's biggest aircraft; the GE 90-115B jet engine; the Sikorsky CH-53E helicopter; the Union Pacific's biggest steam locomotive, the "Big Boy" 4000 and GE's AC 6000; the Discoverer Enterprise, the world's largest oil-drilling ship; the RB 293 bucket-wheel mine excavator; and the LED Viva Vision, the world's largest printing screen, which stretches 4-blocks long in Las Vegas.moreless
    • Trucks
      Season 7 - Episode 23
      They are the backbone of the transportation and construction industries. Versatile, vital and ubiquitous, trucks perform jobs from carting off mountains to keeping nations fed. TRUCKS drives through a century of history to deliver the goods on this all-important vehicle. Visit museums and collections where the very first trucks are on display--bizarre machines with steel, tireless wheels, open cabs and tillers! See how war and the changing face of industry spurred remarkable proliferation and technological advancement, leading to everything from 165-foot-long "Road Trains" in the Australian Outback to two-story high super trucks capable of carrying 320 tons of earth in a single load. Explore the role of legendary names like Mack, Kenworth and Peterbilt and see what may lie in store for the next generation of heavy haulers. MODERN MARVELS takes to the road for the ultimate examination of, arguably, the most important vehicles ever made.moreless
    • World's Strongest III
      Season 15 - Episode 5
      Witness some mind-blowing feats of strength starting with the world's most powerful elevators. Discover the world's strongest tire, the strongest mountain bike, the world's strongest land transport vehicle that carries the Space Shuttle & strongest home blender.
    • Mad Electricity
      Mad Electricity
      Season 15 - Episode 13
      Nikola Tesla's bizarre vision of the future brought him failure, but his genius electrified the world.
    • Mega Movers
      Mega Movers
      Season 12 - Episode 21
      Join us on two treacherous trips as we follow two separate structural moving families in their struggles to relocate and save a 100-year-old homestead and an 1890 Queen Anne Victorian house. In Colorado, a father and son have to fight fierce weather and the fragility of a purported haunted log cabin and decaying barn to move them two miles across a rugged mountainside. In Illinois, three generations of movers are pushed to their limit when they are hired to transport a 180-ton monster house across town. Will these historic homes reach their final resting places in one piece and find peace?moreless
    • Mountain Roads
      Mountain Roads
      Season 12 - Episode 35
      Join our journey along monumental feats of engineering that preserved America's natural wonders while paving the way towards her future. Travel the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, site of a dark chapter in US history. Today, crews use the latest technology to keep I-80 open during the worst winter storms. Enjoy the view while traveling to the summit of Pike's Peak in Colorado, inspiration for America the Beautiful. The "Going-to-the-Sun-Road" slices through Montana's majestic Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide and allowing motorists unsurpassed views of mountain scenery. Outside Denver, the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel, carved through mountain rock, united eastern and western Colorado. And the Blue Ridge Parkway, which took 52 years to complete, snakes through large, scenic swatches.moreless
    • Apollo 13
      Apollo 13
      Season 8 - Episode 3
      They really shouldn't have survived. When an oxygen tank exploded in the command module of Apollo 13, the prospects for the three astronauts aboard were exceedingly grim. But they defied the odds. Under even the best circumstances, a space mission is an extraordinary accomplishment. But the conditions faced by the crew of Apollo 13 make the story of their survival one of the most memorable By interviewing space agency veterans and using NASA's own mission records, APOLLO 13 brings this inspiring story to life. See how scientists and engineers on the ground pored over every detail of the spacecraft's electrical, navigational and propulsion systems to devise a workable way to save the crew, and how the daring and skill of the astronauts made the scheme a success. Faced with the prospect of an unmitigated disaster, NASA rallied and forged an unlikely triumph that, many feel, stands as their finest hour.moreless
    • Nature Tech: Hurricanes
      Nature Tech: Hurricanes
      Season 12 - Episode 67
      Explore how hurricanes start, how scientists track them, and how if at all possible they can be stopped.
    • Tobacco
      Season 13 - Episode 51
      Discovered around 18,000 years ago, tobacco was first cultivated in the Andes between 5000 and 3000 B.C. At a modern tobacco farm in North Carolina, a farmer will show how the crop is harvested and cured and visit the Fuente cigar plantation in the Dominican Republic. While tobacco has brought pleasure to countless smokers the world over--it has sent millions to an early grave. In an interview with the Surgeon General, explore this leading public health issue. The show will also look at smokeless methods of consumption as well as explore the use of nicotine replacement therapy.moreless
    • Canning
      Season 14 - Episode 3
      It's the unsung essential of modern life. Canning is the method of a preserving and packaging food, without which civilization would never have ventured beyond the local food supply. It changed the way the world eats and revolutionized the food industry.
    • More Earthmovers
      More Earthmovers
      Season 6 - Episode 39
      Join us for a second look at the big earth-moving machines used to tackle the most challenging jobs on, under, and off Earth! We'll ride on specialized behemoth dump trucks, delve below sea level to view dredging equipment, and leave the planet altogether to explore earthmoving equipment in space.
    • Engineering Disasters 13
      Engineering Disasters 13
      Season 11 - Episode 61
      In this hour, death seeps out of the ground into a neighborhood sitting on a toxic waste dump at Love Canal in New York; soldiers die during Desert Storm in 1991 when software flaws render Patriot Missiles inaccurate; on September 11, 2001, World Trade Center Building #7 wasn't attacked, but seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed, it too is mysteriously reduced to a pile of rubble; a night of revelry in Boston turns the Cocoanut Grove nightclub into an inferno that kills over 400 people in 1942; and the science of demolition is put to the test and fails when a building in Rhode Island, the "Leaning Tower of Providence", stands its ground.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters
      Season 6 - Episode 18
      Throughout history, the builders and engineers who paved our way out of the caves and into the modern world have also caused some of our worst disasters. What happens when their calculations prove wrong and it all comes tumbling down? From Hammurabi's days, when the first building laws were instituted, to today's potential nuclear or chemical disasters that can spell death for thousands, we'll take a harrowing tour through some of history's greatest engineering mistakes.moreless
    • Cranes
      Season 9 - Episode 41
      One of the most useful machines ever created, the crane is a simple but important combination of the pulley and the lever. Though cranes have been helping us build civilization from at least the time of the Egyptian pyramids, the modern steel-framed construction cranes are a relatively recent development. Put on your work boots as we ride through the history of cranes from ancient days to skyscraper construction sites, ocean-freighter docks, and the International Space Station.moreless
    • Locomotives
      Season 15 - Episode 11
      Race through the French countryside at nearly 300 MPH on the fastest locomotive in the world. Ride on the little engines that could as they guide giant ships through the Panama Canal. Watch two locomotives crash head-on as the federal government monitors safety. Descend 700 feet below the earth's surface where mining locomotives move miners through a maze of tunnels. Then, it's a "jiffy lube" for locomotives inside America's largest maintenance shop. Finally, glide into the future with a locomotive that levitates on a cushion of air.moreless
    • Extreme Aircraft II
      Season 14 - Episode 33
      Take a supersonic flight through a world of flying machines that are redefining our skies.
    • Engineering Disasters 9
      Engineering Disasters 9
      Season 11 - Episode 50
      What happens when the calculations of builders and engineers prove wrong and their constructs come tumbling down? In this episode, we examine the 1987 failure of the Schoharie Creek Bridge in New York; the partial destruction by a runaway freighter of the Riverwalk Marketplace in New Orleans in 1996; the roof collapse of the Rosemont Horizon Arena in Illinois in 1979; the deadliest grain-dust explosion on record in Westwego, Louisiana, when a grain elevator exploded in 1977; and the crash of the British R101 airship in the 1920s.moreless
    • Corn
      Season 14 - Episode 39
      Why is corn the largest agricultural crop in the world? Corn has fed the masses from ancient times to this day. Corn is not only a vegetable and a cereal grain; it is a commodity as well.
    • Whiskey
      Season 15 - Episode 7
      Visit some of the world's finest distilleries to see how each country brews this thousand-year old spirit. Go behind the scenes at Jim Beam, Jack Daniels and Canadian Club Whiskey.
    • World's Strongest
      World's Strongest
      Season 13 - Episode 49
      Strength...a powerful word, but what does it mean? How is it measured? Why are some things simply stronger than others. How strong is a rope, a tractor, a diamond, a tugboat or even plastic. How and why strength matther to us every day.
    • Containers
      Season 13 - Episode 1
      Modern Marvels examines how we use containers for shipping, storage, housing, and everything between.
    • Secret Allied Aircraft of WWII
      Secret Allied Aircraft of WWII
      Season 12 - Episode 57
      At WWII's outset, US and UK military aircraft designs were woefully behind Germany's and Japan's technologically superior planes. But the genius and ingenuity of innovators on both sides of the Atlantic closed the gap. For America, it was a handful of visionaries and their teams; for Great Britain, a creative and thoughtful spirit emanated from the top leadership on down. In this hour, we recount the untold stories of their cutting-edge designs and solutions, some of which proved decades ahead of their time.moreless
    • Secret Japanese Aircraft of WWII
      Secret Japanese Aircraft of WWII
      Season 12 - Episode 30
      In the 1930s, Japanese designers created a range of warplanes, culminating in the legendary Ki-43 Oscar and the A6M Zero. As the war turned against Japan, designers created the rocket-powered Shusui, the Kikka jet fighter, and the experimental R2Y Keiun. We also disclose frantic preparations to assemble a secret airforce of jet and rocket planes to counter an anticipated US invasion in1945, and chronicle post-war aviation and the birth of the Japanese rocket program in the 1950s and '60s.moreless
    • Distilleries
      Season 11 - Episode 27
      From water and mash...still...vat...barrel and bottle--the distilling of alcoholic spirits is a big business and near-sacred religion. Its acolytes eye the color, swirl the glass, inhale the bouquet, sip, then ponder their ambrosia. What's your pleasure? Bourbon, Scotch, Rum, Gin, Vodka, or Tequila? We trace the history of distilling from the one-man/one-still tradition to the Voldstead Act of 1920 that devastated American distilleries to the mega-sales and high-volume distillery of today.moreless
    • Gangster Guns
      Gangster Guns
      Season 11 - Episode 5
      During the 1920s and '30s in big cities and small towns alike, they earned a fierce reputation in a blaze of bullets. They were the best friends of criminals such as John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, Al Capone, and Bonnie and Clyde. Handle their Colt 45s and 38s, Tommy guns, Whippets, and Browning automatic rifles as we uncover the stories of gangster guns.moreless
    • Greatest Movies Gadgets
      Greatest Movies Gadgets
      Season 11 - Episode 24
      Cars that fly and drive themselves. Spiffy spy tools that see under doors and through walls. Water "Harleys" that fly above and below the surface. Only in the movies, right? Hollywood may have dreamt these things up, but regular guys are making them for real as we see in a 2-hour special combining clips of recent blockbusters and hilarious old movie serials, along with a look at real-life creations, including intelligence-gathering "insects" and undersea robots. Gadgets lovers beware your bank accounts!moreless
    • A-10 Tankbuster
      A-10 Tankbuster
      Season 11 - Episode 21
      The most feared aircraft in the Air Force arsenal, the A-10 Tankbuster was the first aircraft in U.S. aviation history designed specifically for Close Air Support. From its first taste of battle in Desert Storm to the recent assault on Baghdad, the A-10 carries enough weaponry into battle to disable 16 main battle tanks, and with its amazing 30 millimeter 7-barrelled cannon, the "Flying Gun" dominates the skies. Features interviews with A-10 pilots, many of whom flew in Operation Iraqi Freedom.moreless
    • Statue of Liberty
      Season 5 - Episode 19
      It started as an idea at a French dinner party and became the symbol of the free world. The story of France's gift to the U.S. reveals a 20-year struggle to design and build the world's largest monument--using paper-thin copper sheets.
    • Jet Engines
      Jet Engines
      Season 9 - Episode 31
      Strap on a parachute and soar through the saga of jet propulsion, which radically transformed our world since inception in WWII--from the Nazi's first jet-powered aircraft to the US F-22 jet fighter, from the Concorde to tomorrow's scram-jet, a hypersonic transport plane that switches to rocket power outside earth's atmosphere!
    • Breaking The Sound Barrier
      Season 10 - Episode 30
      For decades, the sound barrier loomed as an impenetrable wall against manned flight that buffeted planes with shock waves as they approached the speed of sound. Scientists thought the barrier couldn't be breached--until the development of jet technology and rocket fuel at the end of WWII. This is the dramatic story, told through the eyes of many who were there, of the work leading up to October 10, 1947, when 24-year-old test pilot Chuck Yeager smashed through the sound barrier in a Bell XS-1 aircraft.moreless
    • American Steel: Built to Last
      American Steel: Built to Last
      Season 5 - Episode 20
      For over a century, the US steel industry was a powerful symbol of the nation's industrial might. Steel helped explode the stock market into an overnight powerhouse, and transformed a country of farmers and merchants into a nation of visionary builders. But America's domination of the market would meet new challenges in the 1970s.moreless
    • Distilleries 2
      Distilleries 2
      Season 13 - Episode 48
      It's an art, it's a science and it's a marriage of vapor and water. From the elite to the illegal, the banned, to the celebrated, the distillation of spirits is a 50 billion dollar a year business. Visit brandy, liqueur, moonshine, and absinthe distilleries to see how this magic is done.moreless
    • Sugar
      Season 12 - Episode 52
      The sugar industry came of age on the backs of slaves toiling in Caribbean fields, and British desire to control production of sugar and its byproduct, rum. Sugar also played a surprisingly critical part in America's battle for independence. Tour a sugar plantation on Maui, Hawaii to get an inside look at how cane sugar is produced today and learn how the sugar stalks are put through an extensive process of extraction and purification--and how a ton of harvested cane results in 200 pounds of raw sugar. Learn the technology behind creating the sweetener in all of its permutations, including corn syrup, brown sugar, powdered sugar and cube sugar, and how it's used in candies, soda and sauces as well as more exotic uses such as in pipe tobacco and processed meat.moreless
    • Howard Hughes Tech
      Howard Hughes Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 13
      An in-depth look at the technology conceived or developed by America's first billionaire. A passionate aviator, Howard Hughes built and flew planes that broke speed records, and developed war machines, spy aircraft, and commercial airliners. Despite the impressive heights reached by his technological empire, his health and mental well-being were fragile. During his last years, he wasn't seen publicly or photographed, rarely left the hotel suites he occupied, and was terrified of germs. But when Hughes died in 1976, he left a huge legacy in aviation and technology. When we board an airliner, view TV via satellite, or marvel at America's military might, we might do well to remember the risk-taker who flew faster than his peers and was at heart an aviator obsessively dedicated to both the art and science of flight.moreless
    • Engines
      Season 9 - Episode 29
      Electronic motors make appliances run. They are the machines that drive the world, literally. From cars to can-openers, ENGINES are everywhere. MODERN MARVELS stokes the fires and sets off on a whirlwind tour of the world of power, throwing open hoods, peering into the cowlings of jets, and ignoring signs of "no user serviceable parts inside" to expose the secrets of a host of different motors. From the steam engines of the Industrial Revolution to the rockets that propelled man into space, ENGINES concentrates on the power plants that have had a profound effect on the way we live, but that doesn't mean it overlooks the little ones--in fact, the coming micro-technology motors promise to add a jolt of power to a whole new range of devices.moreless
    • The Chrysler Building
      The Chrysler Building
      Season 9 - Episode 37
      The 1,046-foot Chrysler Building in New York City, erected between 1928 and 1930, was the world's tallest edifice--until the Empire State Building eclipsed it in 1931! Since then, this Art Deco masterpiece has become one of the most beloved skyscrapers on the city skyline. Financed by auto tycoon Walter P. Chrysler and designed by architect William Van Alen, the private office building was constructed by more than 2,000 men. Find out why it was the first--and last--skyscraper Van Alen designed.moreless
    • Siege Machines
      Season 9 - Episode 9
      A look at siege machines that convert energy into mechanical force to go over, under, or through fortified or fixed defenses too strong for conventional force. These engines range from man's first long-range missile weapon, the slingshot, to the laser cannons and satellite-destroying robots of the 21st century. All of these machines are designed to breach barriers--castle walls, entrenched troops, even outer space. When the going gets tough, the tough get siege machinesmoreless
    • Pumps
      Season 14 - Episode 4
      Since 200 BC, when the Greek Philosopher Archimedes created a device for lifting water, the pump has been synonymous with transporting Earth's most precious resource. That principle still holds true today. Visit the pumping stations of the Colorado Aqueduct and learn what kinds of pumps are used to quench the thirst of over 16 million residents of Southern California. Learn how electric and diesel power has transformed the simple squirt bottle into a power pump that can cut through steel. A visit to a dairy shows how a new robotic milking pump is pushing the envelope of pump technology. Examine one of the most sophisticated pumps in the world--the one designed to save the human heart.moreless
    • Gadgets 3
      Season 15 - Episode 10
      Explore the hottest trends in gadgets, how they've evolved and where they're going.
    • Bread
      Season 15 - Episode 9
      It's the basic source of nourishment for half the world. Bake it, roast it, slice it, or toast it, it's a wonder with three simple ingredients.
    • Route 66
      Route 66
      Season 12 - Episode 43
      Route 66, encompassing eight states from Illinois to California and 2,400 miles, represented an American myth--that something better lay over the rainbow. Route 66 began in the early 20th century when a confluence of technologies--automotive, steel construction, and concrete paving--merged with population explosion, westward migration, and prosperity after WWI. The federal government responded with highway bills that converted existing roadways into an interstate called Route 66. Later, WWII highlighted the need for a strategic system similar to Germany's Autobahn--wider, safer, and more advanced. As federal and state governments worked on a superhighway, millions sought "their kicks on Route 66." By 1985, the abandoned roadway no longer "officially" existed, yet, it remains a destination for nostalgic travelers wishing to recapture a simpler, more adventurous era.moreless
    • George Washington Carver Tech
      George Washington Carver Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 7
      One of the 20th century's greatest scientists, George Washington Carver's influence is still felt. Rising from slavery to become one of the world's most respected and honored men, he devoted his life to understanding nature and the many uses for the simplest of plant life. His scientific research in the late 1800s produced agricultural innovations like crop rotation and composting. Part of the "chemurgist" movement that changed the rural economy, he found ingenious applications for the peanut, soybean, and sweet potato. At Tuskegee Institute, Dr. Carver invented more than 300 uses for the peanut, while convincing poor farmers to rotate cotton crops with things that would add nutrients to the soil. A visionary, Carver shared his knowledge free of charge, happy in his Tuskegee laboratory where he could use his gifts to help others.moreless
    • Halloween Tech
      Halloween Tech
      Season 15 - Episode 33
      Halloween has become a six billion dollar industry. Go behind-the-scenes at Knott's Berry Farm's 35th annual Halloween Haunt. Learn how to apply Hollywood grade monster make-up, watch scary latex masks cranked out by the thousands and discover which costumes are past and present winners. See the most extreme jack-o-lanterns ever made, find out how hundreds of gallons of fake blood are manufactured and finally visit a haunted house with an annual attendance of over 50,000.moreless
    • Commercial Jets
      Commercial Jets
      Season 8 - Episode 2
      Fasten your seatbelts as we take off on a flight through the history of commercial aviation--from the first jet passenger plane, the de Havilland Comet, to today's wide-body jets and supersonic Concorde. It's a story of high-tech worldwide competition among a field of high-stakes players. Billion-dollar deals ride on cutting-edge designs. Pilots train for hours in ground-based simulators, while computers fly the planes. We also catch a glimpse of the double-decker flying hotels of the future.moreless
    • 70's Tech
      70's Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 20
      The 1970s were a decade of excess. Dust off your mirror ball, put on your leisure suit, and rediscover the gadgets of the era.
    • New York Bridges
      Season 6 - Episode 30
      This episode visits the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges, the Tri-Borough and the 59th Street. In the stone and steel of these edifices the history of modern bridge building can be seen. But they are more than just engineering marvels, and there are many more bridges than most people know. All-told, 18 spans link Manhattan to the mainland and Long Island, and each one has its own tale.moreless
    • Army Corps of Engineers
      Season 10 - Episode 10
      Made up of soldiers and civilians, scientists and specialists in an enormous variety of fields, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was created over 200 years ago by Congressional mandate to respond, in peace and war, to the nation's engineering needs. The world's premier engineering and research and development agency, the Corps has blown up, excavated, grated, dredged, and remolded the shape of our continent as we pushed to expand the nation and harness the forces of nature!moreless
    • Ink
      Season 13 - Episode 47
      Invented by the Chinese in about 3000BC, it spread the word of God and war. It set us free and spelled out our rights. It tells stories, sells products and solves crimes. It's ink and it's everywhere!
    • Runways
      Season 9 - Episode 51
      What do you think about when you gaze out the window as your plane takes off? Probably not about the least heralded part of our infrastructure--airport runways. But runways play a vital role as the backbone of aviation. They're where rubber meets road and land gives way to sky. Did you know that airports like JFK train falcons to keep little birds from becoming a hazard to the big, shiny birds? Join us for an engrossing look at the brawny concrete and asphalt runways that make aviation possible.moreless
    • Fire & Ice
      Fire & Ice
      Season 9 - Episode 15
      Who could imagine life without our "man-made weather"? On cold winter nights and hot summer days, we are forever grateful to the visionaries who took two basic elements--fire and ice--and turned them into true modern marvels. Fire warmed the caves and primitive dwellings of mankind for centuries, yet the technology of keeping cool lagged far behind as we learn in this chronicle of heating and air conditioning that covers advancements from the home and industry to outer space and beyond!moreless
    • Cotton
      Season 13 - Episode 3
      Tune in as Modern Marvels looks into the history of cotton, a product used in hundreds of different products, from clothing to lipstick.
    • World War I Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 29
      The first bombing airplanes and widespread use of chemical weapons...earliest tanks...submarines. When Industrial-Age technology and war first mixed on a large scale, the end result was ruthlessly efficient destruction. World War One epitomized the dark underbelly of the Industrial Revolution. We see how technological achievements that streamlined 19th-century production, improved transportation, and expanded science were used to efficiently decimate a generation of soldiers in the early 20th century.moreless
    • Wine
      Season 13 - Episode 54
      A glass a day is said to keep the doctor away. A defeated Napoleon drowned his sorrows in it; Thomas Jefferson became obsessed with it. Wine is an integral part of our culture and more wine is consumed today than ever before. Supermarket shelves that once carried only box wine and jugs are now lined with wines from Australia, Chile, and South Africa. Aerial imaging and infrared photography once used by NASA to map the moon is now employed by wineries to analyze soil, vine vigor, and even disease. Paying tribute to wine's unique history we will travel the world over to explore wineries, the worlds' most historic wine cellar and the oldest restaurant in Paris.moreless
    • Yard Tech
      Yard Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 12
      In the 21st century, turf grass is the number one crop grown in the U.S. When suburbia exploded after World War II, turf became the defining characteristic of nearly every yard. First, it's off to the research greenhouse facility at The Scotts Company to learn how grass seed is bred for special characteristics. Then pay a visit to the Toro Company, a big name in lawnmowers. The Rain Bird Company and its automatic sprinkler systems is the life giver to thirsty lawns across the country, and The Davey Company specializes in moving trees in excess of one million pounds. Finally, take a trip to California Waterscapes and watch as a crew installs a waterfall and koi pond.moreless
    • Breweries
      Season 9 - Episode 36
      From Pilgrim brew masters to early commercial ventures to today's monolithic corporations, we'll imbibe American beer's long history, focusing on the commercial brewing industry that developed in the 19th century and continues to today. We'll also taste social experiments from the past, like the Temperance Movement and Prohibition, to see how they left scars on the industry and continue to influence sobriety todaymoreless
    • Ice
      Season 14 - Episode 5
      The solid form of life's precious elixir has played a key role in fashioning our history and is making its mark as an unusual tool of technology. Explore how Earth's ice originated and recount how ice age glaciers sculpted North America. Take an inside look at Colorado's National Ice Core Repository to see how ice drilled from Antarctica and Greenland is an invaluable archive of past climate, and at a Canadian research lab experts demonstrate the dynamics and dangers of icebergs. See how Greenland's massive ice sheet may be sliding faster than ever toward the sea. Take a look at how scientists are using Antarctica's ice as a gigantic lens to probe the secrets of the universe.moreless
    • The Maginot Line
      Season 7 - Episode 26
      The Maginot Line, a defensive string of forts with enfilading firepower, was built by France between WWI and WWII. Conceived by Minister of War André Maginot, it was meant to forestall another German invasion until troops could arrive. But the French began to think of the line as a substitute for manpower. When Belgium declared neutrality and exposed France's flank, Germany was able to sidestep the line. We'll visit the "impregnable" line's forts, observation turrets, and underground railroads.moreless
    • Acid
      Season 14 - Episode 35
      It is the most widely produced chemical in the world and possibly the most dangerous. Take a look at the many uses of acid.
    • Bridges
      Season 7 - Episode 6
      Bridges play a key role in the human quest to connect and unify.
    • Bullets
      Season 10 - Episode 40
      From "safe" bullets that stop hijackers but leave aircraft unscathed to bullets that chain-saw through steel and "smart" bullets computer-programmed to hit a target, this explosive hour examines the evolution of bullets from origin in the 1300s--stones and round lead balls shot from iron and bamboo tubes. Lead balls ruled until 1841 when a conical-shaped bullet changed ammo forever. We learn how to construct a modern cartridge, and at pistol and rifle ranges view demonstrations of modern firepower.moreless
    • Glue
      Season 12 - Episode 24
      It's Super! It's Krazy! And it can be found in everything from carpet to computers, books to boats, shoes to the Space Shuttle. It's even used in surgery! Without it, our material world would simply fall apart. In this episode, we'll visit the stuck-up, tacky world of glue. Glue's sticky trajectory spans human history and we'll cover it all--from Neolithic cave dwellers who used animal glue to decorate ceremonial skulls to modern everyday glues and their uses, including Elmer's glue, 3M's masking and Scotch tape, and the super glues. Remember the Krazy Glue commercial in which a man held himself suspended from a hard hat that had just been glued to a beam? Well, that 1970s vintage ad understates the power of glue. With the help of a crane, we're going to hoist a 6,000-pound pickup truck off the ground by a steel joint that's been bonded with glue!moreless
    • Nordhausen
      Season 9 - Episode 32
      It was the world's largest underground factory--seven miles of tunnels built to manufacture Hitler's secret weapons, primarily the V-2 rocket. But Nordhausen kept more than one secret. Technology and torture went hand-in-hand--25,000 concentration camp workers died there--and some of those associated with Nordhausen later helped take America to the moon.
    • Golden Gate Bridge
      Season 2 - Episode 8
      More than 50 years after its construction, the Golden Gate remains one of the world's greatest engineering marvels. It took 25-million man-hours and 80,000 miles of cable to complete. But the cost in human life proved even greater.
    • Batteries
      Season 13 - Episode 32
      They keep going and going and going, from the smallest to the biggest, see how they're made, what they power and where they're headed.
    • Bricks
      Season 12 - Episode 23
      The history of civilization has been built on the back of brick, and it's been said that "architecture itself began when two bricks were put together well." From great Egyptian temples to the Roman aqueducts, the Great Wall of China, and the dome of the Hagia Sophia, brick is one of the oldest, yet least celebrated, building materials manufactured by man. In this hard-packed episode, we explore brick's past, highlighting defining moments, such as the Great London Fire of 1666, the zenith years of brick in the New York Hudson River Valley, and brick as an essential building block in infrastructure and industry. We'll feature advancements through the ages as well as construction techniques, trends, and the future of brick construction. Essentially, brick is still just burnt has been around for thousands of years, but continues to serve as the backdrop of the modern age.moreless
    • Stealth Technology
      Stealth Technology
      Season 8 - Episode 4
      The Pentagon denied its existence until the President blew the cover. One of the most expensive projects in military history, it was attacked as an extravagant waste. But the billions of dollars and long years of development paid off during the Gulf War. Night after night, F-117 Stealth Fighters performed their deadly missions undetected by Iraq's multi-billion dollar radar system.

      Modern Marvels takes to the skies with the most advanced planes ever built. Learn how the radical design and cutting-edge technology of the F-117 and its larger cousin, the B-2 Bomber, allow these planes to avoid detection by even the most sophisticated radar systems. In exclusive interviews, Air Force officials and company executives recall the long struggle to perfect an "invisible" airplane, and combat pilots reveal what it is like to pilot the most effective strike aircraft ever built.moreless
    • Sticky Stuff
      Sticky Stuff
      Season 14 - Episode 26
      Take a look at the stickiest of the sticky, and see the impact these much needed items have on our daily routines.
    • The Potato
      The Potato
      Season 16 - Episode 3
      It is among the most versatile, nutritious, and varied foodstuffs in the world, the potato is the ultimate comfort food.
    • Transatlantic Cable: 2500 Miles of Copper
      An examination of how one man's vision and the cooperation between the US and England resulted in an instant, reliable transcontinental mode of communication in the mid-1800s. See how wealthy 33-year-old Cyrus West Field endured many failures and lost millions in his attempt to close the communication gap between the Old and New Worldsmoreless
    • Space Shuttle
      Space Shuttle
      Season 3 - Episode 1
      For generations, scientists and science-fiction writers alike dreamed of a reusable "space plane" a durable, maneuverable ship that would make trips to the heavens commonplace.

      Now, Modern Marvels takes a look at how a team from NASA made that dream real by developing the most extraordinary machine in history the revolutionary Space Shuttle.

      This comprehensive program tells the complete story of the Shuttle, from its conception in the 1950s to its triumphant launch in 1981. Expert interviews, computer simulations and spectacular footage from its missions offer an insider's view of its successes and failures, including the devastating Challenger disaster that nearly grounded the Shuttle program forever. Finally, NASA officials offer an exclusive peek at the next generation Space Shuttle, the futuristic X-33.moreless
    • Private Jets Part 1
      Private Jets Part 1
      Season 9 - Episode 3
      From today's ultra chic, state-of-the-art private jets to Lockheed's 1957 Jetstar, this 2-part special investigates the history, the luxury, and technology of America's corporate jets. We meet a few of the men and women who pioneered them--Bill Lear, Clyde Cessna and his nephews, Walter and Olive Beech.
    • Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel
      Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel
      Season 8 - Episode 5
      Named one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern age, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel connects Virginia proper with its easternmost landmass. Stretching 17 miles across the historic Chesapeake Bay, the structure represents a man-made boundary between the Bay and the Atlantic. The structure includes two 2-lane highways supported mostly by trestles, four man-made and one natural island, two truss bridges, and two revolutionary sunken tube tunnels.moreless
    • Breakfast Tech
      Breakfast Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 53
      It slices and squeezes, sorts and sizes, mixes and cooks. Every morning we count on it to keep our orange juice fresh, our eggs whole, our cereals flaked, and our McGriddle syrupy--this is Breakfast Tech.
    • Most Dangerous
      Most Dangerous
      Season 15 - Episode 15
      Discover that the deadliest snakes, sports and weather events are closer and more treacherous than you think.
    • Demolition
      Season 6 - Episode 42
      While a civilization's greatness is reflected in the achievements of architects and engineers, equally impressive are spectacular acts of destruction throughout history. The cycle of construction and destruction reflects the shifting values of any given era. We'll trace the evolution of planned destruction from ancient to modern-day.
    • Cheese
      Season 14 - Episode 23
      Travel through history from the Roman Empire's diversity of cheeses to the 19th Century birth of industrial cheese.
    • Drive-Thru
      Season 8 - Episode 34
      Join us for a ride through the history of car-culture commerce from the first gas station to the drive-thru funeral parlors and wedding chapels of today. We chronicle the birth of the first drive-in restaurants that paved the way for a billion-dollar fast-food dynasty, and feature many lesser-known drive-thru venues, such as dry cleaners, flu-shot clinics, liquor stands, and drug stores. And we'll take a journey to the future to see what products might be passing through the drive-thru of tomorrow.moreless
    • 4x4
      Season 10 - Episode 31
      In this full-immersion journey through the world of maximum off-roading, learn what it's like to blow the carbon out of your system as we trace the history of the four-wheel drive vehicle. From the annual Baja 1000-mile race to the Paris-to-Dakar rally, off-roading has become an international sport for motorized thrill seekers. Drive along in your Jeep, dune buggy, Hummer, or SUV for this high-adrenaline, fun-filled romp as we see why 4x4s go where no one has gone before!moreless
    • Heavy Metals
      Heavy Metals
      Season 13 - Episode 19
      They are elements that occupy a select portion of the periodic table and are so essential to America's economic and military might that they are stored in the National Defense Stockpile in case of all-out war. We plan a riveting visit. Some of the vital heavy metals that we survey include copper, uranium, lead, zinc, and nickel. We also take a look at superalloys--consisting of steel combined with chromium, cobalt, and dozens of other heavy metals--that resist corrosion and perform increasingly elaborate functions. From Earth to space, from cosmetics to vitamins, in a million different ways, heavy metals are here to stay!moreless
    • Winter Tech
      Winter Tech
      Season 16 - Episode 5
      From building cutting-edge competition venues to the latest sports science training, winter sports use more technology than ever.
    • Tuna
      Season 16 - Episode 4
      It's the most popular fish in the American diet. From the school lunch box--to the high end sushi bar--to the outdoor barbecue, tuna crosses all demographic lines.
    • Keep Out
      Season 16 - Episode 15
      Either someone has something to protect, or it's dangerous in there. Challenge the world's best safecracker to defeat a bank vault, and see the methods a bank uses to protect its money and tellers. Travel to New Mexico to find out how the government plans to keep people away from a nuclear waste site for the next 10,000 years. Tour Master Lock to see how padlocks and combination locks are made, as well as how facial recognition, irises, and even vein structure can "unlock" biometric locks. With Customs and Border Protection, watch how officers stop illegals and contraband from entering the U.S. Tour a company that specializes in making products like steel nets to keep out people and vehicles. Visit a command center that monitors all airspace in and around the U.S. Finally, see how cages and other deterrents tell sharks to KEEP OUT!moreless
    • Helicopters
      Season 16 - Episode 11
      In Alabama, fly with the Apache Longbow, the deadliest helicopter in world, and learn how to fly the Blackhawk, one of the most sophisticated and versatile helicopters in world. Then climb aboard a Coast Guard helicopter as a team trains for water rescues in the Gulf. In California, see how the immensely popular Robinson helicopters are hand-made and how the police use them to catch fleeing criminals. In Tennessee, learn how million dollar Bell helicopters are customized with everything from bars and entertainment systems to state of the art navigation. Then it's off to Arizona to see how anyone can build their own affordable helicopter in their garage. Finally, learn how drone helicopters that can shoot a movie or take out an enemymoreless
    • Engineering Disasters 19
      Engineering Disasters 19
      Season 13 - Episode 10
      More engineering disasters are profiled, including the sinking of SS Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975 in Lake Superior; two Boeing 737 crashes; and a diesel-fuel leak.
    • Big & Small
      Season 16 - Episode 13
      Size does matter. We'll size up the biggest of machines, and their smallest counterparts. First we go to France to find out what goes into assembling the world's largest jetliner, the Airbus A380. Then, fly with microjet pilots in the world's smallest jets. Witness a race between a huge Boss Hoss 425 horsepower motorcycle and an 18 inch tall pocket bike. Take the world's smallest production car for a ride and see just how many choir members we can fit into a super-sized limousine. See a mammoth Caterpillar front loader in action, in an open pit coal mine, and dig up the backyard with a loader that's no bigger than a lawnmower. Finally, walk inside an enormous diesel engine powering an 80,000 ton container ship and eyeball a tiny one driving a five pound model airplanemoreless
    • Breaking Point
      Season 16 - Episode 14
      Get ready to examine points of failure in ultra slow motion. Watch drivers crash cars and trucks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find their breaking points, and to find the breaking points of the crash dummies inside. At Underwriter's Laboratories, fire rounds at bullet proof glass until it breaks, and see how long it will take experts to breach a safe using more and more powerful tools. Watch as lithium-ion batteries catch fire and blow up at Sandia National Laboratories. At Arizona State University, find the breaking points of steel, concrete--even Kevlar jet engine containment systems. See how a bike helmet guards against the skull reaching its breaking point, then fire high-speed projectiles at Oakley's sport glasses and military grade goggles to see if they survive. And at Black Diamond, scale a rock face with a professional climber to find the breaking point of the carabineers and chalks upon which his very life depends.moreless
    • Eggs
      Season 16 - Episode 2
      Each year in the U.S., 280 million hens lay 80 billion eggs, one of the world's most affordable sources of protein. Chart the journey of the egg from henhouse to breakfast table, from massive traditional Iowa farms, where millions of eggs move from hens to delivery trucks without being touched by human hands. See how powdered eggs get made and what happens to the billions of whites and yolks that go their separate ways.moreless
    • Super Ships
      Season 16 - Episode 12
      Take a journey into the world of super sized, super strong, super unique ships. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography takes viewers out to sea to see how their FLIP research vessel flips a full 90 degrees, sinking over three quarters of its 355-foot length. In Miami, go behind the scenes of one of the largest cruise ships in the world. In California, step onboard the Navy's newest, most advanced transport ship and take a spin in one of America's strongest and greenest tugboats. In Boston, venture into the frigid world of an LNG carrier, transporting enough natural gas to power a million homes for an entire week. In Maine, hop on "the Cat," the fastest car ferry in North America--it's a huge twin-hulled catamaran. Finally, learn how a ship that looks like an enormous spider on water may someday save livesmoreless
    • SWAT
      Season 12 - Episode 16
      Special weapons and tactics (SWAT) originated in the mid-1960s after several sniping incidents against civilians and police officers nationwide, particularly in Los Angeles during and after the Watts Riots. But on August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman changed the face of police tactics forever, when he randomly killed dozens of people using a high-powered rifle from atop the University of Texas clock tower. We explore the origins, tools, and dramatic stories of LA, Austin, and St. Louis SWAT units.moreless
    • World's Sharpest
      Season 14 - Episode 36
      It's time to slice and dice! Take a cutting-edge look at the most amazing blades in the world.
    • Desert Tech
      Desert Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 10
      It's hot, dry, deadly, and hard to ignore with close to 40% of Earth classified as desert. But in this scorching hour, the desert turns from barren wasteland into an environment rich with hope. In the Middle East, desalination of seawater now fills water needs. Americans have created booming desert communities like Las Vegas, where the Hoover Dam produces hydroelectric power and manmade Lake Mead supplies water. Native Americans farmed the desert on a small scale, but 20th-century technology begot greater opportunity. Once desolate areas of California and Mexico now grow agriculture due to irrigation, and the desert's abundant sunshine allows solar-energy and wind-power production. And in the future, desert technology may enable colonization of planets like Mars. We also take a look at how refrigeration and air conditioning have made life in desert communities tolerable, and examine the latest in survival gear and equipment.moreless
    • Levees
      Season 13 - Episode 34
      From collapsing floodwalls in New Orleans to high-tech mechanical storm surge barriers in Europe, we'll explore the 2,500-year history of keeping rivers and tides at bay by erecting levees.
    • Trans-Siberian Railroad
      Trans-Siberian Railroad
      Season 10 - Episode 1
      It's the longest, most expensive and complicated railroad ever built. Ordered by the Tsar in an effort to save his empire and unify his country at the twilight of the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian Railroad nearly tore Russia apart. Intended in part for defense, the railroad provoked a war, crossed great lengths over treacherous terrain, and encountered logistical and economic failures. Ironically, "enemies of the state" built the railroad--men sentenced to hard labor in Siberian prisons.moreless
    • Traps
      Season 14 - Episode 30
      Traps are a device designed to capture and kill, but they don't always harm their prey.
    • Engineering Disasters of the 70's
      Engineering Disasters of the 70's
      Season 14 - Episode 19
      To err is human... But when the error results in the loss of life, it's a disaster. Learn about one of the most mysterious maritime disasters of the decade--the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Was it possible that the nation was on the brink of war due to a faulty circuit board? What caused the Buffalo Creek Dam disaster in West Virginia? Delve into the explosion of a super tanker in Los Angeles harbor.moreless
    • U.S. Guns of World War II
      U.S. Guns of World War II
      Season 10 - Episode 16
      An examination of the weapons that battled through surf and snow, dense jungle and choking dust...the guns of the American GI. Though WWII introduced instruments that pierced the dark and weapons that released the power of the atom, the infantryman's guns were designed decades before--but in dependability they were unequaled.
    • Inviting Disaster 4
      Inviting Disaster 4
      Season 10 - Episode 55
      Based on the popular book, this episode explores historical building collapses--from ancient pyramids to the Cathedral at Beauvais to Kansas City's Hyatt Regency--and demonstrates that clear warning signs often existed, but were ignored. We also examine the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York. Author Jim Chiles believes that designers and engineers must better prepare for all potential disasters--by understanding existing risks, they can prepare for the unknown, like terrorism.moreless
    • Top Ten
      Season 16 - Episode 19
      We can't live without them and yet they didn't even exist a couple of decades ago. We'll count down our list of the top ten technological innovations of the last generation. Have they made human existence exponentially better, or more fragmented and precarious? Tune in to find out what they are, and how they've impacted our lives.moreless
    • Environmental Tech II
      Environmental Tech II
      Season 14 - Episode 38
      Take a look at the innovations designed to hold off a global warming meltdown.
    • Deliver It
      Season 16 - Episode 10
      Got something strange to deliver? From pizza to packages, we'll show you how it's packed, labeled and shipped. Head down the highway carrying gigantic wind turbine blades. See how UPS got China's invaluable terra cotta warriors to a Los Angeles art museum. Deliver luxury yachts aboard a submersible carrier ship. Ride to the track with prized thoroughbreds on their own special jet. Want dinner and a movie? Sounds like a visit to Netflix headquarters and Papa John's Pizza. Ride radical with bike messengers in New York City, and deliver a donor kidney to a waiting hospital. Take a tour of the UPS Worldport hub in Louisville, Kentucky, a mammoth center with delivery docks for 100 jets, and handles 1.2 million packages a day.moreless
    • Supersized Food
      Supersized Food
      Season 17 - Episode 2
      The US has become the culture of BIG--just look at the importance of size and how it has been infused into the lifestyle we choose to live, whether it's our homes, our appliances such as large screen TVs or even eccentric stretch limos. But big has also affected what we eat. This episode explores America's growing obsession with plus-sized meals and how we cook them! Discover the largest everyday offerings of gargantuan portions--from the biggest stacked burger in the world (at almost 250 pounds), a plus-sized Sicilian pizza that feeds almost 75 people, a 72-ounce steak no real cowboy can resist, and the seven-pound hot dog that's too big for a bun. Top it all off with a giant cupcake, humongous cinnamon roll or a five pound gummy bear... and chase it down with a monster bottle of beer that holds over 101 ounces of brew.moreless
    • Superhighways
      Season 15 - Episode 4
      Millions of drivers travel the world's superhighways each year. See a multi-billion dollar expansion project in Houston where a stretch of superhighway is being widened to 20 lanes & Take a ride atop the High-Five, a 12-story, five-level interchange that's become the latest Dallas tourist attraction. Then it's off to China's 28,000-mile National Trunk Highway System.moreless
    • Strange Weapons
      Season 15 - Episode 6
      Discover microwave-like rays that make the enemy flee,laser weapons mounted on trucks & planes that can blow missiles out of the sky, non-lethal weapons include a B.B. machine gun and a flashing device nicknamed that may make you lose your lunch.
    • Snackfood Tech
      Snackfood Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 67
      Extruders, molds, in-line conveyor belts. Are these machines manufacturing adhesives, plastics, or parts for your car? No, they're making treats for your mouth--and you will see them doing their seductively tasty work in this scrumptious episode. First, we visit Utz Quality Foods in Hanover, Pennsylvania, that produces more than one million pounds of chips per week, and Snyder's of Hanover, the leading U.S. pretzel manufacturer. Next, we focus on the world's largest candy manufacturer, Masterfoods USA, which makes Milky Way, Snickers, Mars, and M&Ms, and take a lick at the world's largest lollipop producer, Tootsie Roll Industries. And at Flower Foods' Crossville, Tennessee plant, an army of cupcakes rolls down a conveyer belt. The final stop is Dreyer's Bakersfield, California plant, where 20,000 ice cream bars and 9,600 drumsticks roll off the line in an hour.moreless
    • Baseball Parks
      Baseball Parks
      Season 6 - Episode 28
      Take me out to the ballpark. The crack of the bat. The cries of the peanut vendor. The incredible engineering? To those who consider baseball a religion, the stadium is the temple at which they worship. But the modern park is also a marvel of design and construction. This episode traces the development of the old ballpark from the days of sandlots and bleachers to the retro stadiums with up-to-the-minute features that are bringing fans back to the game. Visit some of baseball's greatest shrines, including Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium and Camden Yards, and see how the years have changed the way they were conceived and built. Get a behind-the-scenes look at how they work and tour areas off-limits to the public. Hear from the men who built them and play in them, and get an early glimpse of what the 21st stadium may look like.moreless
    • Paving America
      Season 3 - Episode 6
      The story of the construction of our grand national highway system, from its beginnings in 1912 (it was conceived by auto and headlight tycoons) to its completion in 1984 (when the last stoplight was removed--and buried).
    • Renewable Energy
      Renewable Energy
      Season 13 - Episode 41
      Take an in-depth look at the most proven and reliable sources: solar, wind, geothermal, biofuels, and tidal power. From the experimental to the tried-and-true, renewable energy sources are overflowing with potential... just waiting to be exploited on a massive scale.
    • Ice Cream
      Ice Cream
      Season 15 - Episode 19
      From the gelato of Italy to the French Pot process of the 1800s to numerous assortments of frozen delights being served up today, learn the history of this delicious dessert.
    • Future Tech
      Future Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 32
      A paper-thin, wall-sized holographic television...a car that runs on processed army of robotic killing machines...outer-space luxury resorts and a cleaning droid controlled by your mind? Buckle-up for safety as we race into the near future--where fantasy becomes fact. There have always been visionaries, futurists, and dreamers predicting the world of tomorrow--flying cars, space-station colonies, and android personal assistants. But time has proven the fallacy of many of their predictions. So what future technology can we realistically expect? With the help of 3D animation, we present some pretty far-out predictions and take you to various research labs to see working prototypes of these technologies in their infancy. Join us on a rollicking ride through the entertainment room, down the road, over the battlefield, through the mind, out in space, and into the future, where science fiction becomes science fact.moreless
    • Car Tech of the Future
      Car Tech of the Future
      Season 12 - Episode 2
      Engage the satellite navigation, fire-up the fuel cell, and activate the radar-guided cruise control! You're in for the joyride of your life as we investigate what drives and will drive our vehicular destiny. In this 2-hour special, we talk to auto industry engineers, designers, historians, and futurists, and meet carmakers standing at the threshold of a brave new automotive world and on the verge of technical innovations that might prove as far-reaching as the switch from horses to horsepower.moreless
    • Boneyard: Where Machines End Their Lives
      Where do machines go when they die? From B-52 Bombers to massive aircraft carriers, from passenger cars to Cold War cruise missiles and remnants of the Twin Towers, all that we manufacture has a lifespan. But reaching the end of their original purposes can be just the beginning.
    • The Alaskan Oil Pipeline
      The Alaskan Oil Pipeline
      Season 5 - Episode 18
      In 1973, a desperate America, starved by an OPEC embargo, began construction on an 800-mile lifeline for its insatiable oil hunger. We'll examine this technological triumph, built over impenetrable mountains and tundra, where temperatures drop to 75 below zero. We also study its impact on a fragile ecological system.
    • Great Inventions
      Great Inventions
      Season 7 - Episode 9
      Wheel; steam engine; railroad; automobile; airplane; printing press; electric light; wireless telegraph; telephone; television; computer.
    • Coffee
      Season 12 - Episode 51
      Traces the origins of this tasty drink from Ethiopia over 1,000 years ago to the espresso-fueled explosion of specialty coffee stores like Starbucks today. Along the way, we'll see how American companies like Hills Brothers, Maxwell House, Folgers and MJB grew to be giants. Discover how billions of coffee beans make their journey from coffee farms and plantations, and are processed in gigantic roasting and packaging plants before showing up in coffee cups all over the world. Details the invention and production of instant coffee, decaffeinated coffee and freeze-dried coffee, and the espresso machine. Also, we explain how coffee made shift work in factories possible, while coffeehouses provided a creative cauldron that brewed political and artistic progress in the 18th and 19th centuries. And, we also provide tips on how to make a better cup at home!moreless
    • Magnets
      Season 9 - Episode 35
      We played with them as children, but the world of magnets isn't kid's stuff! The pervasive magnet serves as the underpinning for much of modern technology. They can be found in computers, cars, phones, VCRs, TVs, vacuum cleaners, the washer and dryer, the ubiquitous refrigerator magnet, and even in an electric guitar! On the cutting edge of technology, scientists experiment with a variety of magnets. Magnets' amazing forces of attraction and repulsion may some day take us to the far reaches of outer space.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 21
      Season 14 - Episode 37
      A steam pipe explosion rocks New Yorkers one summer day in midtown Manhattan. Boston's Big Dig highway project receives a major setback when sections of a tunnel ceiling fall onto the roadway. An air show in Mannheim, Germany comes to a tragic end when a Chinook helicopter crashes along the Autobahn. A tanker truck explodes on an Oakland freeway overpass, causing the structure to collapse. And oil workers hit a real gusher: a mud volcano, which has left some villages buried 16 feet deep, and may continue to spew mud for years, or even centuries.moreless
    • Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
      Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
      Season 13 - Episode 44
      The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway is comprised of a system of canals, land cuts, and a series of natural and artificial barrier islands, which provide a protected passage for low-draft vessels wishing to avoid the tumultuous currents of the Atlantic Ocean
    • Water
      Season 13 - Episode 35
      Water, the most needed substance for life, so powerful it can carve our landscape, yet so nurturing it can spawn life and support its intricate matrix.
    • Plumbing: The Arteries of Civilization
      Each day, billions of gallons of water flow through cities into homes and back out again in a confusing mess of pipes, pumps, and fixtures. The history of plumbing is a tale crucial to our survival--supplying ourselves with fresh water and disposing of human waste. From ancient solutions to the future, we'll plumb plumbing's depths.moreless
    • Guns of the Civil War
      Guns of the Civil War
      Season 11 - Episode 51
      It was a war in which brother fought brother and battlefields became slaughterhouses. During the Civil War, the country was in the midst of an industrial revolution and developed the most destructive killing machines the world had ever seen. Join us for a test fire of Civil War guns--the first truly modern weaponsmoreless
    • Inventions of War
      Inventions of War
      Season 7 - Episode 39
      Arising from the horrible carnage, deprivation, and suffering caused by war is a countless array of everyday items--from hairbrushes to microwaves--that directly descend from wartime innovations. Wartime research and development have revolutionized communication, transportation, and medicine. From Spam to nuclear power to hairspray and cell phones, life as we know it ironically owes a lot to war. We'll follow the day-to-day life of an ordinary woman and see the influence of war on her life.moreless
    • Machine Guns
      Machine Guns
      Season 10 - Episode 14
      A machine gun puts the power of 20 men into the hands of one. We review the history of the machine gun from the first Gatlings in the Civil War to today's high-speed automatic rifles.
    • Engineering Disasters 16
      Engineering Disasters 16
      Season 11 - Episode 73
      Chaos in Guadalajara, Mexico, when the city streets explode; an airplane crash outside of Paris that ranks as one of the worst in history; two mining dams in Italy collapse engulfing a village in a tidal wave of sludge; a generation of children in a small Texas town are entombed in the rubble of their school; an oil tanker runs aground off the coast of England and introduces the world to the devastation of the first super spill... Engineering Disasters 16 delves into the shocking chain of events leading up to each of these horrific catastrophes and examines resulting technological improvements designed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.moreless
    • Combat Training
      Season 7 - Episode 35
      Sign up at the ultimate survival school, where soldiers learn to kill or be killed, and learn how 21st-century warriors are training today for the battlefields of tomorrow. We follow combat training throughout history, reviewing survival skills and psychological tools--from ancient Rome to World Wars One and Two--and learn how modern training is enhanced by advanced technology and computer simulation.moreless
    • Alcan Highway
      Alcan Highway
      Season 10 - Episode 5
      In the world of road making, THE ALCAN HIGHWAY is a feat worthy of comparison to the legendary byways of ancient Rome. Stretching 1,500 miles from British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, the Alcan traverses incredibly difficult and hostile territory, crossing the Canadian Rockies, raging rivers and dense forest. Remarkably, it was built in just eight months. MODERN MARVELS® ventures back to the uncertain days of World War II to tell the story of the Alcan's construction. Fearing a Japanese invasion of Alaska, the military brass decreed that a better connection between the remote territory and the lower 48 states was essential, and the Alcan was the solution. Through the recollections of workmen and extensive photos and footage taken all along the route, THE ALCAN HIGHWAY documents how 11,000 soldiers--nearly 4,000 of them black--bulldozed their way into engineering history.moreless
    • Spy Technology
      Spy Technology
      Season 6 - Episode 20
      In the name of national security, the governments of the world have developed devices that could render privacy a quaint anachronism. But could this Orwellian nightmare ever really come to pass? Spy Technology traces the evolution of the tools of espionage over the past century, from drop boxes and rudimentary codes to the tiny, high-tech devices that are already far more prevalent than most people imagine. Get an up-close look at some of the most important spy equipment ever made, and hear James Bond-esque stories of their use in the Cold War and afterwards. And find out why there is no technical reason why the lessons learned spying on other countries might soon be put into use internally. It is no longer a question of feasibility, but of ethics?moreless
    • The Arch
      The Arch
      Season 12 - Episode 3
      Join us as we explore the vast and varied world of the arch, one of the strongest and most versatile structures made by man. Deceptively simple, an arch can support tremendous weight because its structure is compressed by pressure, and it provides a much more spacious opening than its predecessor--post and lintel construction. Although ancient Egyptians and Greeks experimented with the arch, the Romans perfected it. Medieval Arabs incorporated it into stunning mosque architecture, soon followed by Europe's great medieval churches. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the steel arch became a favorite of architects and structural engineers. Dam builders employed it horizontally, using the water behind the dam to provide the pressure to compress it. And tomorrow, the arch will continue to serve mankind in every form--from nanotechnology to domes on Mars and beyond.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 14
      Engineering Disasters 14
      Season 11 - Episode 63
      In this hour, we examine a massive oil tanker explosion that killed nine; a subway tunnel cave-in that swallowed part of Hollywood Boulevard; a freighter plane crash that destroyed an 11-story apartment building; an historic molasses flash flood; and a freeway ramp collapse that buried construction workers in rubble and concrete. Investigators from NTSB, Cal/OSHA, and Boeing, structural and geo-technical engineers, and historians explain how so much could have gone wrong, costing so many lives. And aided by computer graphics, footage and photos of the disasters, and visits to the locations today, we show viewers what caused these catastrophes and what design experts have done to make sure they never happen again.moreless
    • The Autobahn
      The Autobahn
      Season 9 - Episode 38
      Imagine a superhighway designed for speed...thousands of miles of roadway unhindered by limits of any kind. Buckle up for safety as we take you for the ride of your life when we explore the fascinating history and current reality of the world's fastest freeway. The number-one works project of the Third Reich, the Autobahn was known as Adolf Hitler's Road until Germany's defeat in WWII. Reconstructed and extended to more than four times its original size, it became a symbol of the New Germany.moreless
    • The Lumberyard
      The Lumberyard
      Season 12 - Episode 60
      At the center of the American Dream is the home, and at the center of its creation or renovation is the lumberyard. We'll explore the options lumberyards provide for builders and renovators, from natural to engineered woods.
    • Insulation
      Season 13 - Episode 11
      Although quite simple in nature, insulation is a very important component in keeping our homes a comfortable temperature. In this episode, we'll find out the history of insulation and then visit manufacturing plants to find out how insulation is being made today.
    • '80's Tech
      '80's Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 15
      Modern Marvels takes a trip back in time, all the way back to the 1980s, to examine some of the most popular gadgets and fads. This includes Sony's Walkman, Rubik's Cube, DeLorean DMC-12, and of course the microchip which changed electronics forever.
    • More Snackfood Tech
      More Snackfood Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 65
      They crunch; they ooze; they crackle; they pop--mmmmm, yeah! Soft drinks, donuts, meat snacks, popcorn, and gum. What's your weakness? From the handmade treats of the earliest civilizations to hi-tech mass production, these snacks are borne of man's need to feed his cravings. Join us for an hour-long tasty treat as we examine the history of snackfoods and check out how they are made today.moreless
    • The Railroads That Tamed the West
      The Railroads That Tamed the West
      Season 3 - Episode 9
      The year was 1869 and America had just completed the greatest building achievement in its history--the Transcontinental Railroad. A thin ribbon of steel and wood now connected East and West. But the fledgling country now faced an even greater challenge--how to harness the awesome potential of the railroad to tame the still wide-open and wild West.moreless
    • Iron
      Season 15 - Episode 26
      From the spear, axe, and sword to today's high tech arsenal, iron weapons have revolutionized warfare. Discover how iron ore is extracted and made into steel, how military-metallurgists create the latest weapons. Discover iron super magnets, and study the biggest iron magnet of all: the Earth! See how iron oxide plays a significant role in creating paints for cars and houses and ink for tattoos and the dollar bill.moreless
    • Rats
      Season 15 - Episode 12
      Feared by millions worldwide, rats are some of the most dangerous, destructive and useful animals on Earth.
    • The Doomsday Clock
      The Doomsday Clock
      Season 12 - Episode 18
      Scientists develop the Doomsday Clock as an image to symbolize urgency in the Cold War and the threat of nuclear disaster.
    • World's Biggest Machines 3
      World's Biggest Machines 3
      Season 12 - Episode 5
      Giant robots on the factory floor and in outer space. A floating fortress that's home to 6,000 military personnel, which is almost as long as the Empire State Building is tall. And a diesel engine with 108,000 horsepower. (You read that right.) These giants must be seen to be believed! In this episode, we travel over land and sea to find these and more of the biggest, baddest, most audacious feats of engineering in the world.moreless
    • Fertilizer
      Season 14 - Episode 22
      Fertilizer--without it two thirds of the world would starve. It makes our lawns grow greener and our crops grow taller. Take a tour of the places where the essential nutrients that feed the soil are harnessed.
    • George Washington Bridge
      George Washington Bridge
      Season 11 - Episode 34
      When opened on October 25, 1931, the George Washington Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world. At 3,500 feet in length, the main span was more than double the distance of the previous record holder. Today, standing as a main traffic artery between Manhattan and New Jersey, the bridge referred to by locals as the "GW", is the busiest in the world carrying nearly 320,000 cars every day. We'll examine the construction methods employed that made the bridge an anomaly, coming in both under budget and ahead of schedule, and see why the GW is distinguished in a city of great bridges.moreless
    • Saws
      Season 14 - Episode 24
      Sink your teeth into the razor sharp world of saws.
    • Edwards Air Force Base
      Season 12 - Episode 14
      Examine the colorful history of the premier flight test center, and America's most important aviation facility for more than 60 years, Edwards Air Force Base in California. Every single aircraft to enter the Air Force's inventory has been put through its paces at Edwards, along with many Navy and Army aircraft as well. With unprecedented access to several forgotten and abandoned facilities on the base, we are guided by Richard Hallion, former chief historian for the U.S. Air Force. Today, Edwards continues to push the envelope. Among the many cutting-edge projects currently being tested is the Airborne Laser, designed to focus a basketball-sized spot of intense heat that could destroy a ballistic missile.moreless
    • ET Tech
      ET Tech
      Season 10 - Episode 58
      In 2003, with Mars closer to Earth than it had been in 60,000 years, scientists launched three life-seeking planetary landers. If the long journeys prove successful, all should be hard at work on the Red Planet's surface by January 2004. NASA's Spirit and Opportunity and the European Space Agency's Beagle 2 represent the pinnacle in the history of the search for extraterrestrial life. Leading scientists, who believe life may exist beyond Earth, explain skepticism about ETs having visited Earth.moreless
    • Alaskan Fishing
      Alaskan Fishing
      Season 15 - Episode 8
      Takes a look inside the amazing ultra-modern world of high stakes commercial fishing where a wrong decision on the captain's part can cost not just the season's catch, but also the lives of his crew.
    • F/A-22 Raptor
      F/A-22 Raptor
      Season 12 - Episode 25
      Built around "first look, first shot, first kill" design, the F/A-22 Raptor, the most advanced aircraft of its breed, is set to become the Air Dominance Fighter of the 21st century. Deadly and undetectable at long-range, this super-jet is the latest in 5th generation fighter technology. Capable of super-cruise and packing an array of deadly missile systems, this stealth jet blends dogfighting skill with precision-strike ground attack capability and can intercept and strike any target with near impunity. In the 1980s, as Cold War tensions heightened and US defense spending increased, the Air Force decided it needed a replacement fighter for its F15 Eagle. The Advanced Tactical Fighter program was born, and the largest, most expensive program of its kind hatched the Raptor. Follow the 25-year development of America's deadliest fighter and see how stealth, super-cruise, and integrated avionics combine to create a fighter without equal.moreless
    • Custom Cars
      Custom Cars
      Season 12 - Episode 62
      For most of us, cars are an ordinary fixture of daily life. But then there are custom cars--literal labors of love. Supercharged hot rods, sublimely sculpted classics, flashy tricked-out lowriders, neon-bright "import tuners"--an eye-popping blend of fine art and mechanical know-how. In this episode, we trace the history, technology, and cultural connections between successive generations who have turned the common car into an American art form. We'll ride with hot rodders and lowriders and visit the speed shops and paint shops where ordinary cars become art.moreless
    • Copper
      Season 13 - Episode 37
      It transports electricity, water, and heat. It brings music to our ears and beauty to our eyes. Copper--its impressive traits, long history, and how it's mined. This versatile metal’s most famous attribute is its ability to conduct electricity.
    • Deep Freeze
      Season 14 - Episode 34
      Take a look at the technology of cold.
    • Dangerous Cargo
      Season 10 - Episode 24
      Toxic traffic is everywhere! An average of 800,000 shipments of hazardous materials hit our highways and railways daily. From Wild West wooden crates filled with explosives to HAZMAT containers of nuclear waste, we shadow dangerous cargo. We ride shotgun on a hazardous material shipment that's tracked by satellites; hunt down the hush-hush "ghost fleet"--trucks carrying classified government materials; and board a Con-Air flight moving another kind of nasty stuff--dangerous felons!moreless
    • Doomsday Tech 1
      Doomsday Tech 1
      Season 11 - Episode 74
      Doomsday threats range from very real (nuclear arsenals) to controversial (global warming) to futuristic (nanotechnology, cyborgs, and robots). Despite the Cold War's end, we live under the shadow of nuclear weapons, arms races, and accidental launches. Next, we stir up a hotter topic--the connection between global warming and fossil fuels--and ask if they're cooking up a sudden, new Ice Age. And we examine 21st-century technologies that typify the dual-edged sword of Doomsday Tech with massive potential for both creation and destruction--nanotechnology (engineering on a tiny scale), robotics, and cybernetics. We witness amazing applications in the works, wonder at the limitless promise, and hear warnings of a possible nano-doomsday, with tiny, out-of-control machines devouring everything around them.moreless
    • Weird Weapons: The Allies
      Weird Weapons: The Allies
      Season 12 - Episode 64
      Modern Marvels takes a look at some of the strangest weapons used by Allied forces in WW II.
    • The F-14
      The F-14
      Season 9 - Episode 11
      The U.S. Navy's most lethal fighter soars at supersonic speeds. This episode tells the complete story of this legendary aircraft, following it from the initial design sessions to its most recent missions. Find out how its sweep-wing technology works and why it was developed, and track the innovations that have kept the F-14 effective for nearly three decades. Pilots reveal what it is like to fly the Tomcat in combat, and our cameras capture the action from inside the cockpit as an F-14 soars at supersonic speeds.moreless
    • Military Movers
      Military Movers
      Season 10 - Episode 37
      Military planners move millions of soldiers and tons of cargo halfway around the world and into the thick of action.
    • Salt Mines
      Salt Mines
      Season 9 - Episode 50
      It's in our blood, sweat, and tears. Join us as we dig up salt mining's history--from the "white gold" on the table to the oceanic and underground deposits whence it came. Though today we take salt for granted, most life depends on it. Roman soldiers were sometimes paid in it--hence the word salary. And many slaves died procuring it.moreless
    • The Search for the Polio Vaccine
      The Search for the Polio Vaccine
      Season 5 - Episode 10
      When "poliomyelitis" swept the nation, thousands died or were disabled before American ingenuity, trial and error, and blatant acts of desperation led to one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history. We'll see how polio shaped the vision of FDR, and catapulted the young unknown doctor Jonas Salk to international celebrity.moreless
    • Tea
      Season 13 - Episode 58
      After water, tea is the second most popular drink in the world. It has been around as a drink for 5000 years, and 6 billion pounds of tea are harvested annually.
    • Copper Kings
      Copper Kings
      Season 13 - Episode 17
      More than a century ago two men controlled nearly all of U.S. copper production, transforming Butte, Montana from a washed-up gold-mining camp into a global powerhouse. William Clark, a ruthless banker known for preying on the misfortune of miners and Marcus Daly, a self-made man with a knack for knowing where to dig, created huge empires and lived like kings, while fighting a ferocious, personal, battle that lasted nearly 25 years.moreless
    • Battlefield Engineering
      Season 5 - Episode 21
      Meet some of the most important, yet least-recognized, warriors--the battlefield engineers who lay the groundwork for oncoming conflicts. We'll cover combat engineering from ancient Rome to modern-day Iraq, and take a look at the "Next Big Thing".
    • Nature Tech: Avalanches
      Nature Tech: Avalanches
      Season 13 - Episode 7
      Modern Marvels takes a look at the destruction avalanches can cause.
    • The Manhattan Project
      Season 9 - Episode 20
      At 5:30 a.m., July 16, 1945, scientists and dignitaries awaited the detonation of the first atomic bomb in a desolate area of the New Mexico desert aptly known as "Jornada del Muerto" (Journey of Death). Dubbed the Manhattan Project, the top-secret undertaking was tackled with unprecedented speed and expense--almost $30-billion in today's money. Los Alamos scientists and engineers relate their trials, triumphs, and dark doubts about building the ultimate weapon of war in the interest of peace.moreless
    • Ice Breakers
      Ice Breakers
      Season 9 - Episode 14
      Icebreaker ships plow headlong into one of nature's most formidable barriers. MODERN MARVELS bundles up and goes for a sea tour aboard the toughest ships ever built, the massive icebreakers that can withstand hull pressures of 3,000 pounds per square inch. Experts like Gene Davis, the curator of the Coast Guard Museum NW, detail how these vessels have evolved from the age of sail, and how they have changed the way ships navigate in northern waters. Go on patrol with the USCG Cutter Mackinaw, one of the largest and oldest breakers working the vital North American fresh water shipping lanes, and then see the contrast as the USCG Healy, the newest Polar Class ice breaker in the American fleet, traverses the Northwest Passage on its maiden voyage. This is the story of the specialized ships that have turned the tables on one of the mariners' most ancient and implacable enemies.moreless
    • Commercial Fishing
      Commercial Fishing
      Season 11 - Episode 68
      Battered and fried or simply raw--seafood is a popular dish, no matter how you serve it. Americans consume more than 5-billion pounds yearly, an order that takes more than a fishing rod to fill and worries conservationists. We follow the fish, the fishermen, and the science trying to preserve fisheries for future generations--from ancient ships on the Nile to a modern technologically sophisticated factory trawler on the Bering Sea to the University of New Hampshire's open-ocean aquaculture research project. And we witness a wide variety of fishing methods--from gillnetting and longlining to lobster trapping. Hop aboard and sail through time and around the globe as we explore the harsh conditions of life at sea and experience firsthand one of history's deadliest jobs. Brace yourself and feel the ice-cold, salt spray on your face as we explore commercial fishing!moreless
    • Loading Docks
      Loading Docks
      Season 10 - Episode 34
      Loading docks serve as the connecting point between products coming from the factory to reaching store shelves.
    • Machu Picchu
      Machu Picchu
      Season 10 - Episode 47
      The engineering marvel Machu Picchu sits perched on a ridge in the Peruvian Andes. Originally built by the Incas, this magnificent structure remains a mystery. Was it an observatory? Pleasure retreat? Fortress? This program presents the most current theories.
    • Poison
      Season 12 - Episode 1
      Since ancient times, man has tried to control the "devil's bounty"--deadly substances found throughout nature. Paradoxically, some of these lethal compounds are now found to possess life-giving properties. In this hour, we explore how ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans came to rely on the pernicious power of poisons and learn the physiological action of these potent killers. During the Renaissance, known as the Golden Age of Poison, the deadly practice helped shape European history--most especially that of the Catholic Church. We continue our investigation into the gas attacks of WWI and up to the 21st century, when a new and serious threat of bioterrorism plagues the globe. Finally, we peer into the future with scientists experimenting with poisons and venoms from the plant and animal kingdoms that may play an important part in healing diseases such as arthritis and even cancer.moreless
    • Panzers
      Season 10 - Episode 52
      German tanks revolutionized military doctrine. Their speed and tactical usage, backed up by the Luftwaffe, helped create the Blitzkrieg (lightning war) that stormed over Europe and dominated battlefields.
    • Harvesting 2
      Harvesting 2
      Season 13 - Episode 55
      In America's orchards and farm fields, the constant struggle between hand labor and mechanization has produced dozens of efficient and sometimes bizarre harvesting methods. Learn the secrets of the orchard manager and his ladder crew as they check fruit pressures and barometric readings. Visit California's largest fruit packing house and try to keep up with 10-fruit-per-second conveyors. Then off to the corn fields of Nebraska and the cranberry marshes of central Wisconsin. Finally go underground to the world's largest mushroom farm where the harvest takes place in limestone caverns that run some 150 miles. From fruit tree picking platforms to cranberry beaters and corn pickers, farmers constantly strive to speed the harvest.moreless
    • Air Force One: A History
      Air Force One: A History
      Season 4 - Episode 7
      Until the airplane soared on the scene, the President was mostly Washington-bound; then, in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt took to the sky! From FDR's custom-tailored prop plane to today's technological wonder, the program examines the evolution of the Oval Office in the Sky.
    • More Doomsday Tech
      More Doomsday Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 75
      From the far reaches of space to tiny viruses, doomsday sources are many. But so are technologies used to keep doomsday at bay.
    • Gasoline
      Season 9 - Episode 28
      Traces the history and evolution of the world's most important fossil fuel. Without gasoline, modern life would grind to a halt. Americans use about 360-million gallons of gas every day. And though most of us could not function without gas, very few understand what it really is, how it is made, what all those different octane numbers really mean, and how researchers developed cleaner-burning gasoline. All these questions will be answered as we look at the history of this "supreme" fuel.moreless
    • Pacific Coast Highway
      Pacific Coast Highway
      Season 11 - Episode 4
      For 25 years, construction crews dug, blasted, tunneled, and bridged their way up America's West Coast along the California, Oregon, and Washington shoreline to build the Pacific Coast Highway. Historians, road and bridge engineers, and experts relate this story of perseverance, primal machines, convict labor, and engineering brilliance as we tour its scenic route. And we look at the latest technologies used to keeping it running despite floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and landslides.moreless
    • Paint
      Season 12 - Episode 20
      From the Impressionist canvas to the Space Shuttle...from customized hotrods to the brilliant orange hue of the Golden Gate Bridge or tiny electronic devices--paint is one of our most ubiquitous products. And paint adds more than just pigmentation. It's a crucial engineering element, protecting ships from water corrosion, stovetops from heat, and the Stealth Bomber from radar detection. In homes and businesses, it provides a balanced spectrum of light and protects surfaces from wear. In this colorful hour, we discover how this marvel of chemistry and engineering is made, and how it is applied. Come see what's beneath the surface as we reveal one of man's most ingenious methods of defeating the elements and adding spice to life!moreless
    • B-2 Bomber
      B-2 Bomber
      Season 12 - Episode 45
      In any battle, the key to victory is the ability to strike the enemy without them knowing what hit them. Within the US arsenal one such weapon can go into harm's way, deliver 40,000 pounds of either conventional or nuclear bombs, and slip away unobserved--the B-2 Stealth Bomber. With its origins in single-wing experimentation in Germany in the 1930s, the B-2 was developed under a cloak of secrecy. But when that cloak was lifted, the world was awed by what stood before them. Able to fly over 6,000 miles without refueling, it can reach whatever target the US military wants to attack and deliver its awesome array of laser-guided weapons with pinpoint accuracy. Using state-of-the-art technology, including over 130 onboard computers, and shrouded by a mantle of stealth, it's undetectable by any radar.moreless
    • Stealth & Beyond: Sea Stealth
      Stealth & Beyond: Sea Stealth
      Season 13 - Episode 46
      It's one thing to make a 60-foot-long jet aircraft seem invisible, but quite another to hide a 400-foot-long warship from the prying eyes of an enemy. Explore the challenging world of stealth technology at sea and how modern engineering can make our largest warships appear to be tugboats or fishing vesselsmoreless
    • Coin Operated
      Coin Operated
      Season 15 - Episode 24
      Every 15 minutes, Americans insert over 3.5 million coins into vending machines. What are they buying? How do the machines work?
    • Hoover Dam
      Season 6 - Episode 27
      By any measure, it was a daunting task to tame the Colorado River, the waterway that had carved out the Grand Canyon. To make things worse, the site chosen was in the middle of the desert, far removed from any towns or infrastructure. This episode ventures into the Southwestern Desert to tell the complete story of one of the seven engineering wonders of the world -- Hoover Dam. See incredible footage that documents every step of the monumental work of taming the Colorado to provide water and power to California, Nevada and Arizona. From the blueprints to reality, this is the story of the ingenuity and manpower that literally moved a river and sculpted a mountain of concrete. That it was completed in only seven years is all the more remarkable.moreless
    • Weird Weapons: The Axis
      Weird Weapons: The Axis
      Season 13 - Episode 6
      Modern Marvels takes a look at some of the strangest weapons used by Axis forces in WW II.
    • Overseas Highway
      Overseas Highway
      Season 10 - Episode 45
      A spectacular roadway nearly 120 miles long, the Overseas Highway links mainland Florida with the Florida Keys, and contains 51 bridges, including the Seven-Mile Bridge. A boat was the only mode of travel from Miami to Key West until oil tycoon Henry Flagler completed his railroad line in 1912. After a 1935 hurricane destroyed 40 miles of track, the scenic highway was built using Flagler's bridges. A $175-million refurbishment that ended in 1982 resulted in today's remarkable Overseas Highway.moreless
    • Cowboy Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 36
      Today's cowboy plants one boot firmly in the traditions of the Old West and the other in the world of modern technology. Beginning in the 19th century, the era in which the American cattle industry boomed, we examine cowboy technology. Learn how North American cowboys converted saddles, ropes, spurs, and other equipment originally developed by the Spanish, into tools of the trade perfectly suited for the developing cattle industry. And see how the invention of barbed wire revolutionized the cowboy's world. Step into the 21st century with today's cowboys who use computer chips, retinal scans, DNA evidence to round up cattle rustlers, and high-tech digital-imaging devices to aid in shoeing horses...and ride ATVs as often as their horses. In the world of rodeo, witness today's cowboys as they utilize advanced theories of genetics and artificial insemination in an attempt to breed the perfect bucking bull.moreless
    • Most Shocking
      Season 14 - Episode 42
      It strikes without warning and kills in an instant. We fear its might even as we use it to save a life. Explore the electric shock in its numerous forms.
    • Supermarket
      Season 13 - Episode 52
      Our basic need and desire for food has made the supermarket one of the great success stories of modern retailing. Making customers' visits to the market as efficient as possible has led to bar coding and a scale that recognizes the type of produce placed on it. Explore the psychology of the supermarket including store layout, lighting, music and aromas that trigger the appetite. With a growing percentage of the public interested in eating healthier foods, organic grocers are carving out an increasingly large niche.moreless
    • Non-Lethal Weapons
      Non-Lethal Weapons
      Season 10 - Episode 9
      They stun, debilitate, immobilize--providing police and peacekeepers with options other than shouting or shooting. From the ancient caltrop--a multi-pointed contraption hurled by foot soldiers into a horseman's path--to sting-ball grenades, electrical shock devices, and sound, light, and energy weapons, we examine non-lethal weapons that disperse crowds and take down criminals. And in a whiff of the future, we see why the government thinks stink bombs might prove useful in the war against terror.moreless
    • Nuclear Technology
      Nuclear Technology
      Season 11 - Episode 26
      Nuclear research ranges from well-known applications, such as bombs and reactors, to little-known uses in medicine, food preparation, and radiation detection. It's also spawned ancillary technologies to store nuclear waste and clean up accidents. Despite the risk of use and abuse for destructive purposes, many scientists remain optimistic about what's next for the atom. In an explosive hour, we explore the atom in war and peace, and the latest in nuclear power generation, safety, and security.moreless
    • Car Crashes
      Car Crashes
      Season 10 - Episode 32
      In the mid-1960s, the US lost an average of 55,000 people yearly to car crashes. Since then, the number of cars on the road has doubled, but fatalities have decreased by nearly a third. The dramatic reduction is the culmination of research and development that led to safer roads and cars and quicker emergency response. But car-crash technology's future involves removal of its biggest threat--human drivers! Find out if computers and radar can prevent everything from fender-benders to pile-ups.moreless
    • Offshore Oil Drilling
      Offshore Oil Drilling
      Season 6 - Episode 26
      They are virtual cities stuck in the middle of some of the most dangerous seas on earth. Life on them is hard and fraught with danger from calamitous fires and the risk of storms and natural disasters. But fueled by the endless demand for oil and the unpredictable politics of the global economy, the search for fossil fuel has led to the creation of some of the most incredible structures ever made. This episode takes a fascinating look at how oilrigs are designed, deployed and run. Meet the engineers who must develop structures that can handle waves of up to 50 feet high and 100mph winds while extracting oil from thousands of feet below the seas? surface. Hear from industry insiders like Rich Pattarozzi, CEO of Shell Deepwater, Inc. and Jim Bowles, Vice President of Phillips Petroleum, Inc. See incredible footage of some of the worst disasters ever to strike them. And go aboard rigs worldwide for an up-close look at how they work.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 6
      Engineering Disasters 6
      Season 11 - Episode 15
      AV-8-Harrier jump jet; Ford Explorer-Firestone tire rollovers; offshore oil-rig fire; derailment of a high-speed train; computer errors almost set off nuclear war.
    • It Came From Outer Space
      It Came From Outer Space
      Season 14 - Episode 17
      Discover how essential space travel technologies have journeyed back to Earth with surprising and indispensable commercial applications
    • Disaster Technology
      Disaster Technology
      Season 7 - Episode 12
      Technological tools help science mitigate nature's fury.
    • High Risk: Helicopter Linemen
      High Risk: Helicopter Linemen
      Season 12 - Episode 46
      The remarkable story of the men who maintain and repair live high-voltage power lines--an elite team of pilot and lineman that looks for damage and makes critical repairs without turning the power off! "Barehanding" involves a helicopter flying up to live power lines, stretching a metal wand out to the line and energizing the helicopter and lineman to the full strength of the power line. The lineman, wearing a special metal fiber suit, then works on the wire by sitting on the helicopter skid or climbing onto the bare line. This technique makes the lineman, chopper, and pilot all part of the electrical circuit with 345,000 volts running through both men and machine. For two days, we follow members of the USA Airmobile team in Wisconsin as they risk their lives to inspect and repair critical power lines that were struck by a tornado. And we trace the development of this high-risk work, conceived of in 1979 by Mike Kurtgis, our guide through its electric history.moreless
    • Cities of the Underworld
      Cities of the Underworld
      Season 13 - Episode 43
      Teamed with leading archeologists and experts, peel back the layers of the past--to reveal a hidden history that hasn't seen the light of day for ages.
    • Casino Technology
      Casino Technology
      Season 6 - Episode 47
      Place your bets and join us for an exciting spin through the history of the casino. We'll go behind the neon lights, free drinks, and 24-hour gambling to see how the gaming industry has evolved from a simple house of cards to a high-tech multi-billion dollar industry.
    • Oakland Bay Bridge
      Oakland Bay Bridge
      Season 6 - Episode 29
      The great bridge of San Francisco, not the Golden Gate, this one: The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Over 500 feet above the water, more than 8 miles long. One of the Seven Engineering Wonders of the modern world.
    • Snow
      Season 13 - Episode 57
      It is the bane of every suburban parent and the joy to every school kid. Born in a swirling storm cloud through a process called nucleation, the characteristics of snow flakes are threatened by pollution trapped in the clouds.
    • Hi-Tech Hitler
      Hi-Tech Hitler
      Season 13 - Episode 12
      This is the true story of the scientific feats and failures of Hitler's Nazi Germany.
    • Balls
      Season 14 - Episode 1
      From professional sports to the playground, balls have been a way of life for generations. Explore the research, development, technology and performance of balls as they spin through our sporting lives, bouncing evenly, spiraling tightly, and careening off our feet, bats, racquets and clubs. Tour the Wilson Football Factory and the Rawling's Costa Rica Baseball Factory as well as visit the National Soccer Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.moreless
    • The Cape Cod Canal
      Season 12 - Episode 29
      In a battle against the ferocious Atlantic or safe passage through waters where ships wrecked and lives were lost, it was an engineering feat that many believed impossible. This is the story of the Cape Cod Canal and the men who braved the natural elements and the Great Depression by venturing into new engineering territory. In 1909 excavation began on what would become one of the greatest success stories of our time. The evolution of the Cape Cod Canal into what it is today--a major commerce and recreational route of the Intracoastal Waterway--is a tale of determination, ingenuity, and the American spirit. Through historical photographs and expert interviews, the Canal's story unfolds, and while traveling along on an Army Corps of Engineers Patrol Boat and Coast Guard vessel we see firsthand what happens on the Canal on a daily basis. And we meet the people who make the Canal and its bridges functional and safe, keeping the legacy of the early engineers alive.moreless
    • Wheat
      Season 15 - Episode 27
      It feeds the world. See how harvesting crews brave months on the road, cutting thousands of acres, tour a pasta plant to see how special kinds of wheat becomes everything from spaghetti to rigatoni. Watch as grain is mashed into a thirst-quenching brew and finally visit a company that transforms wheat into plastic-like products.moreless
    • World's Biggest Machines 4
      World's Biggest Machines 4
      Season 12 - Episode 39
      From a giant machine press that stamps out an entire car body to a 125-ton chainsaw that cuts through the world's hardest rock; from a huge telescope that glimpses the ends of the known universe to the world's largest rock crusher. Join us for a workout of the world's largest machines, and take a long look through the lens of the world's biggest optical telescope, the Keck Observatory, atop 13,800-foot Mauna Kea in Hawaii.moreless
    • The Horse
      The Horse
      Season 15 - Episode 34
      Celebrate the animal that helped man change the world: the horse.
    • Carbon
      Season 15 - Episode 2
      Carbon is the chemical basis of all known life and yet this simple element is also the foundation of modern technology. Carbon burns hotter, cuts deeper, insulates more thoroughly and absorbs more fully than any other material. See why carbon is the key both in heavy-duty industries, as well as in tools like the graphite pencil, the charcoal water filter, and the diamond saw blade.moreless
    • Sewers
      Season 12 - Episode 37
      A simple flush and it's forgotten. But haven't you secretly wondered where it all goes when we go? Join us as we explore this less-than-polite topic, and examine the network of underground pipes and tunnels that carries human waste and excess storm water away. From ancient Rome's pristine sewage-conveying systems, through the disease-spreading, out-the-window system of Europe in the Middle Ages, and into the progressive sanitation engineering of the 19th and 20th centuries, we go with the flow of sewage history. And we sift through the flotsam and jetsam of our cities' sewer systems and delve into the sewers of Paris, Boston, and Los Angeles to study waste management's evolution. We meet a sewer diver (and his robotic counterpart) who inspects and ensures the efficient operation of the conduits; decipher the myths about "treasures" and creatures found in the murky depths; and find out exactly where it goes, how it gets there, and how we've learned to use it to our benefit.moreless
    • The NYC Subway
      Season 3 - Episode 8
      New York subway system's riders, workers and street performers make it a microcosm of city life.
    • Lead
      Season 15 - Episode 17
      A versatile yet toxic metal, lead has served mankind for 6,000 years.
    • The Transcontinental Railroad
      The Transcontinental Railroad
      Season 2 - Episode 2
      On a somber day in Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln ended his famous address with a promise that the war-torn nation would be reborn. The greatest symbol of that rebirth had already begun, hailed as an engineering feat to rival the pyramids the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. Its construction was an engineering marvel and a technological nightmare. The Union Pacific built westward from Omaha, and the Central Pacific eastward from Sacramento, hoping they would someday meet. The work crept inch by grueling inch across the forbidding continent and the treacherous Sierras. Here is the epic tale of the struggle to forge an iron link across the untamed West, and the only engineering feat to spawn an American folk tale: the legend of John Henry. After a decade of work, on May 10, 1869 at Promontory, Utah, as the last symbolic spike linking the two railways was driven, a nation was united and forever transformed.moreless
    • Forts
      Season 6 - Episode 40
      Fortification evolved along with man's need to defend his territory from attack. From hills surrounded by fences to walled cities to impenetrable castles, these strongholds of the past echo the history of battles for territorial control. Join us as we learn how, as weaponry grew in sophistication, those walls came tumbling down.moreless
    • Titanic Tech
      Titanic Tech
      Season 10 - Episode 12
      Welcome aboard the luxury liner Titanic, the world's largest ship and pride of the White Star Line. Watertight compartments and a steel-plated hull render it all but unsinkable. Nearly every technological breakthrough of the previous 50 years is employed onboard, providing comfort and safety for passengers and crew. But none of this will matter on April 15, 1912, when the ship bears down on an iceberg on her maiden voyage, sinking within hours with more than 1,500 lives lost. Learn the details of her construction and how the achievements of technology may have masked her vulnerabilities.moreless
    • Camouflage
      Season 9 - Episode 23
      From ancient hunters' camouflage to computer-generated digital pattern uniforms, we uncover the past, present, and future of deception through disguise. During an ambush exercise by US Marines, we learn that camouflage came from natural coloration and patterns of flora and fauna. The art of military camouflage took off in WWI with the use of the airplane, when the French learnt to hide from "eyes in the sky". It's a world of shadows and smoke, where even cities disappear through disguisemoreless
    • Nature Tech: Lightning
      Nature Tech: Lightning
      Season 12 - Episode 48
      Modern Marvels examines the incredible phenomenon we know as lightning.
    • Underwear
      Season 15 - Episode 22
      From itchy woolen union suits to comfortable briefs and boxers learn how our undergarments have evolved over the last 100 years.
    • Bathroom Tech II
      Bathroom Tech II
      Season 15 - Episode 20
      The most used room in the home is the bathroom and it's full of tech. Visit Kohler and see the new digitally controlled uber-shower, complete with steam, music and LED chromatherapy. Check out American Standard's Champion 4--the supposedly "uncloggable" toilet. Learn all about the low-flow alternatives for showers and toilets. Touch-free fixtures and a futuristic toilet from Japan ensure a more hygienic restroom experience. Finally, what is New York City's latest hi-tech solution for going on the go?moreless
    • Super Hot
      Super Hot
      Season 15 - Episode 16
      Explore the world of extreme temperatures.
    • Weapons of Mass Destruction
      Weapons of Mass Destruction
      Season 14 - Episode 9
      From the unimaginable power of nuclear bombs to microscopic anthrax spores, we reveal who possesses these nightmare weapons and explore the danger posed by terrorists with deadly technologies. Using the latest computer technology see an on-screen representation of the radioactive plume that would result from a mock dirty bomb attack in Seattle. Learn how bio-agents are discovered and understand the technology currently used to identify and prevent suicide bombings. Weapons of mass destruction have made the world a dangerous place but find out how technology can assist us as we strive for lasting solutions.moreless
    • Machines of D-Day
      Machines of D-Day
      Season 12 - Episode 27
      June 6, 1944--the greatest machine of World War Two springs into action. It is made up of thousands of ships and aircraft, tens of thousands of men and millions of tons of steel and concrete. This is Operation Overlord--the invasion machine that will send Allied soldiers dropping from the skies and storming the beaches of Normandy. Each piece of this machine has been designed to fulfill a specific task in the air, on land, or at sea. The success of D-Day depends on it. Interlocking with pinpoint precision, the men and machines of Overlord overcome not just Hitler's beach defenses, but nature itself in the greatest assault the world has ever seen. Using archive film, and color reenactments, we reveal the phenomenal hardware of D-Day.moreless
    • Prisons
      Season 7 - Episode 7
      The philosophy, architecture of today's U.S. prisons emerge from those of history. They are buildings designed to keep their inhabitants inside and under control. But very often, there is another, psychological aspect at work--they are made to look as grim and foreboding as possible. MODERN MARVELS takes a long, hard look at how prisons have been designed and built through the ages. The program starts in antiquity, where sewers and dank dungeons were commandeered to keep the unruly and unwelcome captive. Prison designers and experts examine how these ancient roots show up in the design of much more modern prisons, where many elements go beyond the need for security. We'll tour famous prisons from Alcatraz to the newest, maximum-security facilities built during America's most recent wave of prison construction. And examine the features that may well become staples of the next generation of these facilities. This is your day pass into the world of punishment, a fascinating tour of the buildings at the backbone of the penal system.moreless
    • Firefighting!: Extreme Conditions
      Firefighting!: Extreme Conditions
      Season 12 - Episode 9
      Any fire raging out of control is a hazard, but when compounded with obstacles of extreme conditions, such as an oil-well blowout or acres of forest ablaze, firefighters face new elements of danger. Meet a WWII London firefighter, "Hell Fighters" who squelch oil-well infernos, and smokejumpers who parachute into forest fires.moreless
    • Cola Wars
      Cola Wars
      Season 13 - Episode 36
      Coke vs Pepsi for world supremacy. Each year, Americans consume more soft drinks than tap water. Available in nearly 200 countries, Coca-Cola alone sells one-billion bottles, cans, and glasses of pop daily, with archenemy Pepsi-Cola a close second. We look at the legendary rivalry between these giants in a $100-billion industry built on little more than sugar and water as they battle not just to quench consumer thirst, but for their hearts and minds as wellmoreless
    • Engineering Disasters 15
      Engineering Disasters 15
      Season 11 - Episode 66
      A series of construction errors causes a devastating flood that brings Chicago to a standstill. A deadly accident traps hundreds in a smoke-filled Alpine tunnel, with no ventilation. Three boilers explode on a Mississippi riverboat resulting in thousands of deaths and earning the disaster the title of the worst in maritime history. Two buildings, halfway around the world from each other, collapse from the same type of shoddy construction methods--14 years apart. And a cockpit warning system malfunctions, causing a fiery, fatal crash before the jetliner ever takes off. We interview design and construction experts as we investigate what went wrong. And we talk with rescue personnel, eyewitnesses, and victims as we visit the tragedies' sites to see what improvements have been implemented to insure against these kinds of disasters.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 7
      Engineering Disasters 7
      Season 11 - Episode 31
      Engineers and architects reveal what went wrong in five engineering disasters, including Baldwin Hills Dam that suddenly gave way, spilling liquid havoc in a quiet LA neighborhood; a mysterious plane crash that killed all aboard (Lockheed Electra); a massive freighter's shuddering crash into Tampa Bay's Sunshine Skyway Bridge; the 1994 Northridge, California earthquake that shook down poorly engineered buildings; and a 4-decade old coal mine fire that turned Centralia, Pennsylvania into a ghost town.moreless
    • Nature Tech: Tsunamis
      Nature Tech: Tsunamis
      Season 10 - Episode 28
      Large-scale displacement of seabed sediment causes giant water walls.
    • The Butcher
      Season 12 - Episode 6
      In a carnivorous world, a butcher is a necessary link in the food chain, carving a carcass of unsavory flesh into mouthwatering cuts. We trace the grisly trade's evolution--from yesteryear's butcher-on-every-corner to today's industrial butcher working on a "disassembly" line. We tour the infamous remains of the Chicago Stockyards, where Upton Sinclair, Clarence Birdseye, and refrigeration changed butchering forever; witness high-speed butchering; and travel to a non-stop sausage factory. And if you're still squeamish, a USDA inspector offers the lowdown on HACCP--the country's new system of checks and balances on everything from quality grading to E. coli, Salmonella, and Mad Cow Disease. Finally, we visit the last bastion of old-school butchering--the rural custom butcher, who slaughters, eviscerates, skins, and cuts to his customer's wishes.moreless
    • Firing Ranges
      Firing Ranges
      Season 8 - Episode 38
      Discover how military and police personnel, as well as private citizens, hone their shooting skills with one of the oldest of training techniques when we review the history of firing ranges--from a simple knot on a tree, old bottles, rusted tin cans, and highway signs to high-tech targets and advances in weaponry.moreless
    • The Junkyard
      Season 9 - Episode 10
      It's the place where one man's trash is truly another man's treasure. Enter the strange and mysterious world of the junkyard, where many pieces actually do add up to a whole. Uncover how junkyard operators create order out of seemingly random piles of junk.
    • Power Plants
      Power Plants
      Season 7 - Episode 38
      Mankind controls the environment in a variety of ways, whether by capturing the force of a river, harnessing the power in coal or oil, controlling a nuclear reaction, or transforming the light of the sun into electricity. From Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla to Enrico Fermi and Albert Einstein, the world's greatest minds have enabled us to acquire our light, heat, and power with a simple flip of the switch. Join us for an electrifying hour as we review the foundation for all of this--power plants.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 11
      Engineering Disasters 11
      Season 11 - Episode 55
      Join us for look into five engineering disasters... A dangerous cloud of gas explodes into Cleveland's worst fiery industrial disaster in 1944, killing 128 people. A dance competition turns deadly at the new Kansas City Hyatt in 1981, when a skywalk gives way and kills 114. In 1995, neighbors gaped at the spectacle of a $1.5-million San Francisco Bay area mansion breaking into bits as it fell into a massive sinkhole during a rainstorm. In 1931, one of the worst "natural" disasters ever occurred in the Yangtze River basin when six huge flood waves swept down the river destroying the insufficient dams and levees and killing at least 145,000 people. The "miracle mineral" that the U.S. was built upon turns out to be an invisible killer--an estimated 10,000 people die each year from asbestos-related diseases.moreless
    • Racetrack Tech
      Racetrack Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 7
      A look at the "science of safety" as applied to Indy or NASCAR racing. From tires to roll-cages to hood flaps, we examine the incredible technology that's helping prevent crashes and enabling drivers to survive the inevitable ones. See how today's innovative minds digitally reconstruct crashes and design new technology that keeps pushing the limits of racing. The drivers may grab the glory, but they wouldn't dare get behind the wheel if it weren't for the guys in white lab coats.moreless
    • Pleasure Boats
      Pleasure Boats
      Season 9 - Episode 7
      As we power-up and unfurl the sails on a magical cruise through time, viewers meet the people who've devoted their lives to pleasure boating. Traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe, we delve into a world of luxury, adventure, and sport on spectacular vessels ranging from classic yachts to sports boats to the ultimate floating palaces. In this timeless pastime, technological wonders continue to evolve and enthrall.moreless
    • Super Tools: Skyscraper
      Super Tools: Skyscraper
      Season 13 - Episode 26
      Skyscrapers are an extraordinary feat of human engineering: exposing millions of pounds of concrete and steel to the enemy forces of wind and gravity. Starting with the foundation and on through the support structures and concrete flooring, every piece of these superstructures has to be super-strong. Go behind the scenes with the five tools that make these buildings possible: the foundation drill rig, the tower crane, the impact wrench, the power trowel, and the total station.moreless
    • Fast Food Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 44
      Can fast food get any faster? Fast food joints in the US pull in $150 billion dollars in annual sales. Their mantra is "fast, consistent, and inexpensive." Learn how they grow it, process it, freeze it, ship it, track it, fry it, flip it and pack it.
    • Concrete
      Season 7 - Episode 14
      Invented by the ancient Romans, concrete is a relatively simple formula that changed the world. Concrete has been used to divide an entire country, as in the Berlin Wall, and to unite nations, as in the Chunnel. We'll review the history of this building block of civilization and look at modern applicationsmoreless
    • Hydraulics
      Season 11 - Episode 17
      The machines that helped build our world have been powered by hydraulics, a compact system of valves, hoses, and pumps that transmits forces from point to point through fluid. This basic concept of powerful force transmission through fluid provides the drive for most machines today. From the ancient Roman mastery of the aqueduct to Universal Studios, a veritable hydraulic theme park, we see how hydraulics power industry, keep planes flying, and make that 3-point-turn a U-turn.moreless
    • Secrets of Soviet Space Disasters
      Secrets of Soviet Space Disasters
      Season 12 - Episode 34
      An investigation into one of the 20th century's most shocking hidden stories--the dismal failure of the Soviet space program, which led to more than 150 recorded deaths. Much has come to light from declassified files. We see how personal rivalries, shifting political alliances, and bureaucratic bungling doomed the program.
    • Wiring America
      Wiring America
      Season 12 - Episode 47
      We begin with electrical linemen perched precariously out a helicopter door, repairing 345,000-volt high-tension power lines. They are part of an army of technicians and scientists we'll ride, climb, and crawl with on this episode. They risk their lives so that we can have the services we take for granted--electric power and 21st century communications. They lay and maintain the wire that connects us one to another, as well as America to the rest of the world. The hardwiring of America is a story that is nearly two centuries old. And though satellites and wireless systems may be challenging the wire, it's not dead. Fiber optic cable, lines that transmit light, became a player in information delivery in the late 1970s. We may be entering a "wireless" age, but the infrastructure of wires laid by visionary scientists and industrialists are still vital to America. Wire technology will be with us, continuing to provide service, well into the next century.moreless
    • Corpse Tech
      Corpse Tech
      Season 15 - Episode 18
      Do you ever wonder what happens to your body after you die? You might be surprised to discover that the human body is host to a multitude of hidden secrets. Discover how coroners and forensic anthropologists use a body to both save lives and catch killers. Visit the University of Tennessee's famed "Body Farm," a crematorium, and one of the largest tissue banks in the United States.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 4
      Engineering Disasters 4
      Season 10 - Episode 27
      Engineering disasters can result in personal tragedy, national humiliation, and economic ruin. But buried within their wreckage lie lessons that point the way to a safer future. The fire at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel, the collapse of Seattle's Lacey V. Murrow Floating Bridge, the car that spurred creation of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, and the flaw that grounded the first commercial jet are among the engineering disasters that led to improvements in design and safety.moreless
    • The Atlantic Wall
      The Atlantic Wall
      Season 6 - Episode 35
      This episode uses captured Nazi documents, expert commentary, combat and archival footage and the recollections of the soldiers who lived through D-Day to tell the story of the most extensive defensive edifice erected since the Great Wall. The video visits the now-quiet coastlines where the remnants of the massive network remain and details the different defenses and weapons that were supposed to make the European coast impregnable. Then, see how the Allied commanders plotted their attack and hear from the soldiers who were charged with making their strategies work.moreless
    • Dynamite
      Season 6 - Episode 25
      Join us for a highly charged hour as we see why Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite took on earthshattering dimensions as his product blasted out the natural resources that built our modern world. We also examine its impact on construction of the roads, tunnels, and dams that provide us with energy and transportationmoreless
    • Deadliest Weapons
      Deadliest Weapons
      Season 12 - Episode 17
      In this fiery hour, we profile five of the world's deadliest weapons, focusing on the inventors, battles, and dark technology behind their lethality. Beginning with the deadliest bomb ever created, the Tsar Bomba--a 50-megaton nuclear bomb--we move on to the deadliest weapons ever used on people, the atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. During WWI, the machine gun led to the deaths of over 8-million, and in WWII, the use of incendiary bombs killed hundreds of thousands of people. Another deadly invention of WWII was the proximity fuse, or VT fuse, that allowed artillery to detonate within a predetermined range of an enemy target. Finally, we examine VX nerve gas--a deadly chemical agent used twice by Saddam Hussein with devastating results--and visit Edgewood Chemical BioCenter, where suspicious items in the current war in Iraq are examined for traces of VX.moreless
    • World's Strongest II
      Season 14 - Episode 18
      What does it take to rate as "the world's strongest"? Watch as life-saving boron carbide body armor is put to the test. Visit the world of monster trucks. Head dockside with a super-strong mobile crane capable of hoisting a 600-ton mega-yacht and toting it through a boat yard without a scratch. The Super-Shredder is a metal recycling monster that can gobble up 6 junked cars a minute.moreless
    • Secret Luftwaffe Aircraft of WWII
      Secret Luftwaffe Aircraft of WWII
      Season 12 - Episode 42
      German military aircraft designs were decades ahead of their Allied counterparts. To insure Luftwaffe superiority, their designers tested advanced concepts including swept-wing and vertical take-off aircraft and stealth bombers. Using computer-generated images and archival footage, we trace development of Hitler's airborne arsenal.
    • Cereal: History in a Bowl
      Cereal: History in a Bowl
      Season 12 - Episode 53
      Move over pancakes, step aside bacon! Cereal is arguably the true breakfast king, a $9-billion industry with an indisputable place in pop-culture history. Full of surprise, nostalgia, and fascinating facts, our special celebrates the colorful--and crunchy--saga of a distinctly American breakfast. We see how a Presbyterian minister-turned-health-food-fanatic--Sylvester Graham, of "Graham cracker" fame--turned his countrymen from fried pork breakfasts to grain- and bran-heavy diets in 1824. We reveal the rivalries, tricks, and accidents that turned cereal into a breakfast sensation. And we examine the amazing feats of marketing used to promote the product--from creating iconic characters for packaging, to ingenious prizes that drove consumers to the shelves in droves.moreless
    • Crashes
      Season 15 - Episode 21
      Explore collisions that shake our world from the astronomic to the subatomic.
    • The Great Bridge: 8 Miles of Steel
      The Great Bridge: 8 Miles of Steel
      Season 12 - Episode 12
      San Francisco's Oakland Bay Bridge stands as an incredible feat of engineering against the nearly impossible. Once chosen as one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world, it features an unique double suspension structure in its west end. Join us as we cross this triumph of construction, while we visit its past and look to its future.moreless
    • Salt
      Season 15 - Episode 36
      It's the only rock we eat, and we need it to live. History has shown that those who have salt rule the world--and today, this versatile substance has 14,000 known uses.
    • Vacuums
      Season 14 - Episode 29
      Vacuums aren't just for cleaning floors
    • Race Cars
      Race Cars
      Season 7 - Episode 17
      Today, race cars tear up the tracks at 300 mph. Computers and space-age composite materials are as much as part of racing as the drivers. They're fast, they're thrilling, and they've gone high-tech. We'll review the history of the innovations that led to today's technological wonders.
    • Start to Finish
      Start to Finish
      Season 16 - Episode 7
      What does it take to turn twenty tons of steel into top-notch vehicles in less than a day? How does a pile of lumber become a million dollar home in a mere week? Every process, from beginning to end, is a unique and incredible adventure. From the fiery birth of high tech golf clubs to the cataclysmic end of old buildings... get ready to race from Start to Finish.moreless
    • More Military Movers
      More Military Movers
      Season 14 - Episode 13
      Soldiers, machines, and supplies are only effective if they arrive at the battlefield in time. Explore the history and the technology behind the machines that do the heavy moving in times of war.
    • Soft Drinks
      Soft Drinks
      Season 15 - Episode 30
      They account for nearly 30% of all beverages consumed in the U.S. and have been quenching thirst for over a century
    • Sub Zero
      Sub Zero
      Season 12 - Episode 11
      Come in from the cold while we explore some of Earth's most frigid places and examine how man copes with sub-zero climates. With the advance of technology, our boundaries have expanded--from the North and South Poles, to the depths beneath the Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, to the Moon, Mars, and outward to Saturn. Enter these forbidding territories, guided by a special breed of experts as we inspect the new U.S. South Pole Station, try on the latest Polartec fashions with anti-microbial fibers, ride on the newest snowmobiles and Sno-Cats, sail through glacial waters on ice-breaking ships, and fly on an LC-130 transport plane. And we'll see what NASA has on the planning board for deep-space exploration, including a beach-ball robot explorer, and learn from scientists studying fish in the waters off Antarctica to understand glycoproteins, which may keep frozen tissue healthy longer for transplantation.moreless
    • Tank Crews
      Tank Crews
      Season 10 - Episode 19
      During WWII, American tank crews duked it out with Nazi Panzers in a high-explosive duel to the death. The German tanks had thicker armor and better guns than the mainstay of the U.S. armored forces, the M-4 Sherman. For many crewmen, the Sherman lived up to its nickname as a steel coffin. But what the tanks lacked in firepower and protection, the crews made up for in guts and good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity. We'll meet some of these armored warriors from WWII.moreless
    • Inviting Disaster 3
      Inviting Disaster 3
      Season 10 - Episode 54
      No program better symbolizes human mastery of machines than does the space shuttle. But the breakups of Challenger and Columbia revealed the program is tragically flawed. Based on the James Chiles's book Inviting Disaster, we look at the 1930 crash of the R-101, a dirigible which, much like Challenger, was rushed into flight and met with disaster, and the Hindenburg, whose 1937 explosion ended dreams of commercial flights for an entire industry. Will the shuttle program go the way of the dirigible?moreless
    • Aswan Dam
      Aswan Dam
      Season 7 - Episode 24
      In 1954, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Arab Republic of Egypt's first prime minister, had a plan to bring his poor country into the 20th century. To pull it off, he needed to harness the flow of the world's longest river--the Nile. The ambitious plan called for construction of a high dam in southern Egypt at Aswan. But the builders of the pyramids and the Suez Canal were no strangers to large undertakings. We'll see how the Aswan High Dam socially, politically, culturally, and agriculturally affected Egypt.moreless
    • FBI's Crime Lab
      FBI's Crime Lab
      Season 10 - Episode 66
      Modern Marvels explores the expensive, high-tech facilities the FBI uses at Quantico.
    • Construction Machines
      Construction Machines
      Season 8 - Episode 7
      Feel the earth move under your feet and dig into the fascinating story of earthmoving equipment--from the simple spade to today's powerful steam shovels. Meet legendary giants like John Deere, Jerome Case, and the founders of Caterpillar, who helped forge America's monolithic construction industry. Ride on specialized behemoth dump trucks, delve below sea level to view dredging equipment, and leave the planet altogether to explore earthmoving space equipment in this 2-hour special presentation.moreless
    • Exterminator
      Season 10 - Episode 22
      They have been here for longer than us, and there are many, many more of them. They buzz, skitter and fly, chew, gnaw and occasionally draw blood. Lumped under the broad category of pests and vermin, they are one of the constant enemies in man's battle to maintain dominion over house and home. And the strongest weapon we have is THE EXTERMINATOR. MODERN MARVELS® traces the evolution from the simple pest-control measures employed by ancient farmers to the high-tech arsenal of poisons, baits and traps deployed by the "Orkin Man" and his colleagues today. This inside look at the multi-billion dollar pest-control industry includes flights with mosquito exterminators in Florida, ride-alongs with cockroach killers in Los Angeles (the city where these prehistoric survival specialists pose the greatest problem), and an inside look at how the New York City Department of Health attempts to contain the rats that outnumber the city's 8 million human residents. The weapons in this war have become increasingly high tech, and the foot soldier--the exterminator--has become ever more sophisticated and ecologically aware.moreless
    • Observatories: Stonehenge to the Space Telescopes
      The stargazers of mankind build observatories to unravel the secrets of the universe.
    • Inviting Disaster 2
      Inviting Disaster 2
      Season 10 - Episode 53
      The amazing machines of human invention most often do our bidding with uncomplaining proficiency. But when they go wrong, they exact a terrible wage. In August 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk glided through the depths of the Arctic Sea. But the demands of the Cold War had planted the seeds of disaster in this great ship--118 men would pay with their lives. Their deaths would bring about an enormous step forward in Russia's evolving democracy. Based on James Chiles's book Inviting Disaster.moreless
    • Motorcycles
      Season 6 - Episode 43
      Set the sedan's safety brake and hop on your "hog" for a 2-hour high-speed history of the motorcycle--from the 1868 "steam velocipede" to the early 20th century, when they were a low-cost alternative to automobiles; from Harley-Davidsons preferred by Hell's Angels and police to motocross riders who take bikes into the air and onto the dirt. We also look to the motorcycle's future, featuring Jay Leno's jet-propelled Y2K sportbike and Erik Buell's bike-without-a-gas-tank creation.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 3
      Engineering Disasters 3
      Season 8 - Episode 12
      When design flaws fell projects, the cost is often exacted in lives as we see in this look at engineering disasters. Why did the Tower of Pisa begin to lean by as much as 17 feet; what caused the first nuclear accident in 1961 in Idaho; what killed three Soyuz 11 cosmonauts aboard the world's first orbiting space station; how did a winter storm destroy the Air Force's Texas Tower Radar Station, killing 28; and what errors led to NASA's loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter and the Mars Polar Lander?moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 5
      Engineering Disasters 5
      Season 10 - Episode 66
      Examines some of the most notorious engineering failures of recent years and asks what went wrong and what we learned from them. We take viewers to the southern coast of Louisiana, where a misplaced oilrig caused an entire lake to be sucked into an underground salt mine; review the 1972 Buffalo Creek dam disaster; revisit the Exxon Valdez oil spill; see how radio and TV antenna towers collapse with alarming regularity; and look at the collision of two California icons--freeways and earthquakes!moreless
    • High Explosives
      High Explosives
      Season 13 - Episode 22
      Since the creation of black powder in China centuries ago, explosives have been decisive on the battlefield. Follow their incendiary story from ancient times right up to today's plastic demolitions.
    • Coin Operated II
      Coin Operated II
      Season 17 - Episode 3
      Tens of millions of them all over the world--soda and snack machines, parking meters and payphones, video games and vending machines... and they all use coins--but for how long? Examine the historic one-armed bandits and the 21st century, cutting edge, computerized slot machines that occupy Vegas casinos and get an exclusive look at their inner workings in a never-before-seen factory in Reno, Nevada. Search out some of the wackiest, strangest vending machines on the planet that sell everything from bottles of wine to dog washes. Get a close-up look at the famous binoculars located at popular tourist sites around the world, as well as a unique company that collects and cleans the coins thrown into fountains for good luck. But it all starts and ends in the historic halls of the U.S. Mint, where coins are made and destroyed. Will coins one day become obsolete?moreless
    • The Pentagon
      Season 7 - Episode 5
      The Pentagon explores the inner workings of the U.S. Department of Defense. On this episode, you will also learn about other top-secret business that takes place inside the Pentagon. The Pentagon explains how the building received its unusual shape. As a viewer, you will learn how the building recuperated after 9/11.moreless
    • Building In The Name Of God
      Building In The Name Of God
      Season 13 - Episode 39
      The greatest religious structures are marvels of engineering, technology, and invention, representing not only the glory of God, but also the ingenuity of man.
    • The Space Station
      The Space Station
      Season 7 - Episode 4
      Join us on an out-of-this-world exploration of the history of long-duration life in space--from the first Soviet station to Skylab to Mir to the International Space Station. Experience what it is like to live in space, as well as the monumental obstacles engineers and astronauts overcame to make it possible.
    • Panama Canal
      Season 1 - Episode 3
      Construction of the Panama Canal.
    • Battlefield Medicine
      Battlefield Medicine
      Season 6 - Episode 21
      "He who would become a surgeon should join the army and follow it," Hippocrates counseled nearly 2,500 years ago. In this history of medicine under fire, we see how a small army of medics, nurses, surgeons, stretcher-bearers, and ambulance drivers, races to keep pace with the deadly advances of war.
    • Tennessee Valley Authority
      Tennessee Valley Authority
      Season 3 - Episode 5
      During the depths of the Great Depression, it was FDR's greatest triumph: A massive public works project that took a 40,000 square mile, disaster-prone river basin, and turned it into a model of industrial progress.
    • Deep Sea Salvage
      Deep Sea Salvage
      Season 14 - Episode 14
      Driven by the need for deep sea rescue and salvage capabilities, the US Navy Diving and Salvage Programs have gathered together a highly skilled team of divers, scientists and engineers, who have been involved in some of the most exciting and dangerous salvage operations ever undertaken.
    • Nuts
      Season 13 - Episode 28
      Pintsized as a pea or big as a bowling ball, nutritional, durable, and versatile, nuts have been a staple of the human diet since time began, and archaeological evidence places them among our earliest foods. Nuts sustained the imperial armies of Rome and China, the royal navies of England and Spain, and the native tribes that roamed the American wilderness.moreless
    • Battle Gear
      Battle Gear
      Season 8 - Episode 17
      From battle armor to bubble gum, you might be surprised by what soldiers have carried into battle--and what they'll carry in future wars. In this look at the development of weapons--from the Roman soldier's gladius to the M16 assault rifle to infrared scopes and biological weapons protection--we also discover the evolution of body armor--from knights to Kelvar-protected "Land Warriors". And we'll also find out what the "Future Warrior" will look like.moreless
    • Lake Pontchartrain Causeway
      Season 10 - Episode 49
      In the land of Mardi Gras, jambalaya, and zydeco, exits an engineering marvel called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that seems to go on forever. Two ribbons of concrete span the largest inland body of water in Louisiana, and at nearly 23.87 and 23.88 miles long, these two spans form the world's longest automobile bridge. At midpoint--12 miles out--water surrounds travelers who are unable to see either shoreline. The bridge is so long, it actually transverses 1/1000th of the earth's circumference!moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 20
      Engineering Disasters 20
      Season 13 - Episode 56
      In March of 2005, the BP Refinery in Texas City, Texas, suffered a series of explosions that decimated a large portion of the facility and killed 15 workers. Then the unusual series of events that caused American Airlines flight 587 to fall from the sky. What happened in Times Beach, Missouri, when a local waste hauler oiled down dusty roads with oil that was laced with dioxin? Look at what went wrong with NASA's Skylab in 1974 and finally examine the fire that destroyed the gas company, Praxair, in June of 2005.moreless
    • U.S. Mints: Money Machines
      U.S. Mints: Money Machines
      Season 6 - Episode 22
      They are the physical engines of America's money machine, secretive agencies that design and manufacture the greenbacks that keep the nation's and the world's economy moving. This episode ventures inside these vital fortresses for a privileged glimpse of the work of making money. From engraving to circulation, watch as fortunes are created in instants, and see how new bills are put into circulation. Hear from Philip N. Diehl, Director of the United States Mint, and Robert Chandler, a historian for Wells Fargo, as they trace the fascinating history of the government's money business. And discover what the future may hold for American currency.moreless
    • Candy
      Season 13 - Episode 5
      Modern Marvels examines how millions of pounds of chocolates and other candies are made every year.
    • Milk
      Season 15 - Episode 1
      Got milk? Billions of pounds of milk are consumed worldwide on a daily basis. Milk is the basis for its own food group, and has been around since the dawn of mammals. Visit a farm with a milking parlor that looks more like a cow merry-go-round. Learn what pasteurization is really all about, and even milk a yak. Find out what those active cultures in yogurt are and discover if milk truly makes the body good. Wait until you discover just how many types of cows there truly are.moreless
    • Command Central
      Command Central
      Season 11 - Episode 9
      "Centcom" in Doha, Qatar represents everything a modern military command post can be with the most sophisticated military information systems--from video-conferencing to real-time frontline satellite communication. From this forward command in the heart of the Middle East, the U.S. ran the Iraq War. But command posts have not always been so technologically advanced as we see when we delve into the history of military communication--from tattooed messenger to satellite technology.moreless
    • The Destroyer
      The Destroyer
      Season 14 - Episode 7
      In the bloody battle of the Pacific, one class of fighting ship took on the full ferocity of the Japanese and won. After destruction of the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, the US designed and built an awesome fleet of Fletcher-class destroyers--over 370 feet long, armed with 5-inch guns, and a speed of 36 knots.moreless
    • Engineering Disasters 8
      Engineering Disasters 8
      Season 11 - Episode 48
      Join us for a devastating but enlightening hour as we delve into complex and often-tragic engineering failures that have shaped our world. Five dramatic events unfold as we discover the causes of: the 1983 collapse of New England's Mianus Bridge; the sinking of the Ocean Ranger offshore oilrig in 1982; the crash of a Learjet 35 private plane carrying pro-golfer Payne Stewart in 1999; the 19th-century failure of South Fork Dam that resulted in the flooding of Johnstown, Pennsylvania; and the 1988 PEPCON (Pacific Engineering Production Company of Nevada) jet fuel plant explosion.moreless
    • Machine Tools
      Machine Tools
      Season 7 - Episode 30
      Machine tools, power-driven machines of all shapes and sizes, are used to make metal parts and have built our modern world. Life today would not be possible without them. Beginning with the story of the steam engine and traveling forward to modern-day "machining centers" that are used to make incredibly complex space shuttle parts, we'll examine the basic types of machine tools and their development. We'll also look at machine tools of the future that will change the way products are made.moreless
    • Bullet Proof
      Bullet Proof
      Season 9 - Episode 8
      How do you stop a speeding bullet? From body armor to armored cars and trucks, we review the history of the race between the bullet and a successful way to stop it. It's not exactly easy to design material that can catch gunfire traveling up to 3,000 feet per second. We'll look at little-known advances like bulletproof layering hidden in walls, futuristic smart materials that "remember" how to stop a bullet, and a system that deploys a shield within milliseconds when it detects an oncoming round.moreless
    • Ball Turret Gunners
      Ball Turret Gunners
      Season 10 - Episode 15
      In war, certain missions demand the most and constitute much of the legends of bravery. Journey back to the Second World War when fearless airmen manned the B-17's belly guns--glass bubbles that at any moment could become their coffin. The ball turret gunners called their work "flying the ball", others called it crazy!moreless
    • Hadrian's Wall
      Hadrian's Wall
      Season 8 - Episode 8
      74-miles long and 2,000 years old, Hadrian's Wall winds over the hills and valleys of Northern England, marking the northernmost extent of a long-dead empire. Built of stone and mortar by Roman soldiers, it is the most significant Roman ruin in England. Ordered built by the Emperor Hadrian around the time of his visit in 122 AD, it was more a permanent demarcation and less a defensive barrier. We'll visit this archaeological treasure, which teaches us much of what the Roman era was like for Britain.moreless
    • Liberty Ships of WWII
      Liberty Ships of WWII
      Season 9 - Episode 33
      Focusing on a brief but glorious period of American ingenuity, we'll study shipbuilders' response to the demands of WWII. Combining rare National Archive footage with photography shot on vintage ships, we'll see how industrialists transformed the nation's shipyards into mass production facilities in a matter of months.
    • Pyramids: Majesty and Mystery
      Pyramids: Majesty and Mystery
      Season 4 - Episode 9
      After more than two millennia, the pyramids continue to inspire architects.
    • 60's Tech
      60's Tech
      Season 14 - Episode 16
      Take a ride back to the 1960s and recall the technological happenings that helped shape the decade.
    • Engineering Disasters: New Orleans
      Engineering Disasters: New Orleans
      Season 13 - Episode 8
      Modern Marvels examines the destruction Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans.
    • Codes
      Season 8 - Episode 15
      Whenever a culture reaches a level of sophistication in literacy, science, and language, codes spring up spontaneously. As the social life of a community increases in complexity, the demands for private communication between two or more people inevitably lead to cryptology--a system of secret symbolic messages. Explore the rich history of communicating with secret symbols--from Egyptian hieroglyphics to Caesar's encrypted directives, from WWI and WWII codebreakers to cyberspace.moreless
    • More Bond Gadgets
      More Bond Gadgets
      Season 9 - Episode 46
      He's everyone's favorite spy, the man with a woman in every port and a gadget in every pocket! No villain is too strong, no situation too tough for His Majesty's Secret Agent, thanks to his wits, cunning, and the best toys on the silver screen. History Channel cameras travel from the Arizona desert to the British countryside to find the best Bond gadgets--including amazing footage from inside the cockpit of the world's smallest jet and rare home movies taken on the underwater set of Thunderball.moreless
    • Drilling
      Season 13 - Episode 14
      The program features the quest to drill the deepest hole ever and the scientific drill ship expected to perform the feat, and also looks at drills used to recover ice cores that will unearth thousands of years of climate history.
    • High Voltage
      High Voltage
      Season 10 - Episode 23
      Look closely at those tall metal towers that span the country and you might see tiny specks climbing up the soaring steel like spiders on an enormous web. Meet the courageous linemen who erect, string, and repair 250-foot high electrical transmission towers, working with energized power lines that can carry up to 765,000 volts!moreless
    • Mummy Tech
      Mummy Tech
      Season 13 - Episode 33
      After thousands of years, Egyptian mummies are speaking from the grave. With the use of state-of-the-art computer tomography scanning we explore inside a 2,000-year-old mummified body of an Egyptian child.
    • Cattle Ranches
      Cattle Ranches
      Season 8 - Episode 21
      From the 19th century's legendary cattle drives to the million-acre ranch kingdoms that sprang to life with the end of the Open Range to 21st-century techniques that include artificial insemination, embryo transplants, and genetic engineering, we review the history of cattle ranching. We'll ride herd with modern cowboys as they twirl ropes and brand calves, and look to the cattle ranch of the future, where cloning will produce the ideal meat-producing steer with a consistently juicy, low-fat carcass.moreless
    • Tunnels of Vietnam
      Tunnels of Vietnam
      Season 9 - Episode 45
      Here is the heroic story of a intrepid band of infantry soldiers, the "Tunnel Rats", charged with a daring mission--to search for, find, and destroy a secret subterranean network of enemy tunnels in Vietnam. Armed with only a flashlight, valor, and a .45, they faced a determined foe and overcame lethal odds, uncovering secret enemy arms and intelligence caches. Tragically, many of these volunteers died and others were seriously wounded on this terrifying suicide mission.moreless
    • Digi-Tech
      Season 9 - Episode 49
      DVD, CD, PDA, HDTV, PVR--they are the ultimate in "gotta have it" gadgets and gizmos and "to die for" technology that populate a digital world of acronyms. We trace digital technology back to the early 1940s and the first high-speed electronic computer used to calculate cannon trajectory charts for new artillery in WWII, and look at the rapidly approaching future in places such as MIT's Media Lab, where tomorrow's technologies are being developed today.moreless
    • Castles & Dungeons
      Castles & Dungeons
      Season 10 - Episode 2
      Some of the most imposing structures ever built, medieval castles withstood both bloody assaults and the test of time. Designed like machines with nearly every architectural detail devoted to defense, castles represented the perfect fusion of form and function. Journey back to that unruly era as we examine the complexity of their construction and the multipurposes they served--homes to kings and nobles, economic centers, courthouses, treasuries, prisons, and torture chambers.moreless
    • The M-16
      The M-16
      Season 8 - Episode 16
      Built in the 1950's, the M-16 has become the primary service rifle for the U.S. military. Many of the improvements which have taken place were done during and after Vietnam, when the rifle was often pitted against the Russian-made AK-47.
    • Metal
      Season 10 - Episode 42
      They constitute the very essence of the modern world; the cadence of our progress sounds in the measured ring of the blacksmith's hammer. From soaring skyscrapers and sturdy bridges to jet planes and rockets, metals play a key role. Our journey begins before the Bronze Age and takes us into the shiny future when new metal structures--engineered at a molecular level to be stronger, lighter, and cheaper--shape human progress, as they have since man first thrust copper into a fire and forged a tool.moreless
    • Quarries
      Season 8 - Episode 27
      Without rock, modern society wouldn't exist.
    • Hardware Stores
      Hardware Stores
      Season 8 - Episode 18
      Join us for a nuts-and-bolts look at the history and evolution of those places that hold our world together. From the local blacksmith to Home Depot, it's the story of nails, screws, mollybolts, duct tape, and superglue. We visit one of the oldest hardware stores in America, Placerville True Value, and wander the aisles of the mega-giants. As we chronicle the rise of the hardware "Big Box" superstores, we also see how the mom-and-pop local hardware stores still manage to survive.moreless
    • Chocolate
      Season 14 - Episode 27
      Take a tour through the entire chocolate making process and learn how chocolate has been thought of as an energizer, an aphrodisiac and a cure-all.
    • Batman Tech
      Batman Tech
      Season 15 - Episode 23
      Since his debut in 1939, Batman has dazzled readers with an amazing array of gadgets. Go deep inside the Batcave to examine these incredible tools, many of them inspired by real-life military developments.
    • The Colosseum
      The Colosseum
      Season 8 - Episode 16
      Nothing symbolizes the Roman Empire at its height or Rome in magnificent ruins more than the Colosseum. Built in 70 AD, it seated 80,000 people, boasted a retractable roof, underground staging devices, marble seating, and lavish decorations. It still serves as the prototype for the modern stadium. The complexity of its construction, the beauty of its architecture, and the functionality of its design made it the perfect place for massive crowds to congregate for the bloody spectacles it contained.moreless
    • Logging Tech
      Logging Tech
      Season 10 - Episode 29
      When Paul Bunyan cried "Timber!", he never foresaw today's cutting-edge, controversial industry that feeds a ravenous, lumber-crazy world--a world striving to protect nature while devouring it. Come into the woods to see how he-men and hi-tech combine forces to topple 4-billion trees annually; journey to 19th-century America, when lumberjacks cut a legend as large as the timber they felled; and travel with a tree from stump to sawmill and learn its non-wood uses--from aspirin to film to toothpaste!moreless
    • Oil Tankers
      Oil Tankers
      Season 11 - Episode 30
      The biggest moving objects ever built by man, oil tankers dominate the world's waterways, both in size and numbers. Upwards of 10,000 strong, the world tanker fleet's vast number results from the modern, insatiable thirst for oil. We'll dig into the history of oil transport--from Civil War days to the critical WWII years and invention of the supertanker in the 1950s. And we examine the financial impact of modifying these steel leviathans to prevent future catastrophic environmental disasters.moreless
    • Earthmovers: The Power to Move Mountains
      Feel the earth move under your feet and dig into the fascinating history of earthmoving equipment--from invention of the simple spade to today's powerful steam shovels. Meet the legendary giants like John Deere, Jerome Case, and the founders of Caterpillar, who helped forge America's monolithic construction industry.
    • The Chunnel
      The Chunnel
      Season 7 - Episode 3
      The job of joining Britain and France via a tunnel under the English Channel was a challenge. Geologists tracked the only safe route with satellite technology, and French and British teams drilled towards each other using two of the largest Tunnel Boring Machines ever made. We'll explore the greatest underwater land-link of all time.moreless
    • Private Collections
      Private Collections
      Season 12 - Episode 31
      Priceless collections. Compilations devoted to with such passion, entire lives have been spent perfecting them. From rescued trash to treasure-troves with values known to only the most discerning eye, people collect for many reasons. For some, the thrill is in the find; for others, collecting is an escape from daily life. But all collectors have one thing in common--they love it!moreless
    • High Tech Sex
      Season 9 - Episode 44
      Join us for a walk on the wild side of the history of sexual enhancement and contraception--from Cleopatra's box of buzzing bees to 17th-century condoms to Internet sex and 21st-century holographic pornography! In an explicit exploration of the aphrodisiacs, drugs, contraceptives, toys, and cyber-tech innovations that have ushered in a brave new world of modern sexuality, we talk to sexologists and historians for ribald romp behind the bedroom's closed doors.moreless
    • Farming Technology
      Farming Technology
      Season 7 - Episode 31
      The US agricultural process, from seed to shelf, is so efficient that most people don't think much about it. But food growing and processing is ever more sophisticated, employing computer-guided, ground-shaking machinery, and sometimes controversial techniques. It's an industry of declining family farms, diminishing returns, yet higher yields. We review the evolution of the tools used to produce food, show the steps in the cycle that bring food to the table, and look at the future of farming.moreless
    • Smart Bombs
      Smart Bombs
      Season 10 - Episode 48
      Precision-guided munitions, smart bombs were the media buzz of the first Gulf War and a major military and political driving force of the second. But their apparent sudden celebrity is deceptive. The history of smart bombs goes back to World War I and includes an ingenious, if eccentric, group of inventions and a cast of characters that boasts a Kennedy and a president of General Motors. Join us for the underground history of smart bombs, and a glimpse into the future of precision weapons.moreless
    • Oil Fire Fighting
      Oil Fire Fighting
      Season 11 - Episode 8
      In this episode, we head into the flames to see how the conflagrations are contained and controlled. From the use of explosives to the exploits of pioneers like Myron Kinley, we explore every aspect of this extraordinary occupation. Whether in the blistering Iraqi desert or the surging waters of the North Sea, only a handful of people have the skill to snuff a burning gusher, and this riveting program shows how they do it.moreless
    • D-Day Tech
      D-Day Tech
      Season 11 - Episode 20
      By the spring of 1942, Hitler had made a fortress of Europe, and the Allies began to plan the biggest invasion in military history. The history-altering success of the D-Day Invasion depended on innovative engineering and technological advances. This is the story of those scientific and mechanical breakthroughs--the overwhelming array of landing craft, specialized weapons, and ingenious electronics--used to breach Fortress Europe on June 6, 1944.moreless
    • Leather
      Season 13 - Episode 9
      Made by the tanning of animal hides, leather has proven to be a versatile and important material. Without it, the Pilgrims may not have survived the winters in Plymouth, and the Romans may not have been able to march to the Tigris.
    • Egyptian Pyramids
      Season 10 - Episode 63
      Constructed as tombs for the ancient pharaohs, over 100 pyramids remain in Egypt. Built during a span of well over 1,000 years, they stand as cultural and engineering marvels of staggering proportions. But many things about these monuments, including the exact methods used to construct them, remain tantalizingly obscure. Travel back in time as we investigate their evolution--from the earlier mastaba to the Step Pyramid, Bent Pyramid, and of course, the magnificent necropolis at Giza.moreless
    • Assembly Line
      Assembly Line
      Season 7 - Episode 32
      Its efficiency has produced billions of products, from toys to Boeing 747s, cheaply and quickly. Follow the evolution of the assembly line, including its sometimes troubled relationship with the human beings who make it work. We'll see how Americans eventually overcame prejudices toward blacks and women in the factories during World War II. And we'll follow a family of four generations of Detroit auto assembly workers as they tell us how they dealt with the relentless pace of production. During the 1930s, assembly lines' frantic pace led to widespread labor unrest; and in the 1970s, it was a symptom of a greater concern for quantity than quality.moreless
    • Grand Coulee Dam
      Grand Coulee Dam
      Season 1 - Episode 1
      One of the world's largest concrete dams and largest concrete structures lies on the Columbia River in the State of Washington. Built in 1931, the Grand Coulee Dam is also one of the largest hydroelectric power plants. We'll explore this technological wonder.
    • M1 Abrams Supertank!
      M1 Abrams Supertank!
      Season 11 - Episode 58
      Join us as we penetrate the history of the world's most sophisticated tank--the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. In the most radical departure in U.S. tank design since WWII, the Supertank combines speed, heavy protective armor, and a fearsome 120mm main gun. In 1991, the new and unproven Abrams tank was deployed in Operation Desert Storm. Using night vision and laser targeting, the M1 Abrams tank destroyed Saddam Hussein's armored Republican Guard, and is again doing desert duty in the War in Iraq.moreless
    • Hunting Gear
      Hunting Gear
      Season 9 - Episode 22
      They are lethal tools that ensured our survival, altered our evolution, and maintained our dominion over other animals. Though hunting technology is the backbone of a multi-billion-dollar sports industry, current cutting-edge gear is a far cry from prehistoric man's rudimentary tools. From the crude knife to 24-hour digital cameras that monitor animal movement and earmuffs with microphones to amplify outside noise while blocking gunshot sound, we examine the development of hunting weapons and gear.moreless
    • James Bond Gadgets
      James Bond Gadgets
      Season 9 - Episode 47
      His movies are legend, his women beautiful, and his toys the best in the world. Whether James Bond is foiling villains in space-age flying machines or eavesdropping on his enemies with ultra-sophisticated spy gear, British Secret Agent 007 is always guaranteed to have the most outrageous and wonderfully creative gadgets ever to grace the silver screen. Bond had it all. But as we see in this exclusive look at his gadgets, it takes a lot to save the world!moreless
    • Shovels
      Season 13 - Episode 13
      Man has always had a need to move large amounts of earth. In this episode, we profile the technological advances which have allowed shovels to become absolutely enormous, capable of carrying 200 tons of earth in one load today.
    • The Turkey
      The Turkey
      Season 15 - Episode 35
      It's the centerpiece on your Thanksgiving dinner table--and one of the most famous birds in North America. From the moment a baby turkey pecks through its shell to the factory that transforms turkey waste into crude oil, see a world few have ever seen.
    • Civil War Tech
      Season 12 - Episode 26
      America protects its homeland with the most technologically advanced military force ever conceived. Although they fight 21st-century battles worldwide, the technology unleashed is directly descended from a war fought more than 140 years ago. This episode explores how the War between North and South was the first modern war, and the technology used in it was a quantum leap beyond any previous conflict. The machine gun, aerial reconnaissance, advanced battlefield medicine, instantaneous communication, ironclad ships, even the first aircraft carrier were all innovations developed during the Civil War. We'll investigate improvements in weapons, sea power, transportation, troop conveyance, food processing, medical care, and telecommunications. At a time when the nation was divided, Civil War technology revolutionized the way war was waged. Today, those technological milestones have evolved to ensure that our modern military has no equal in the world.moreless
    • Aluminum
      Season 14 - Episode 25
      This useful metal was once considered more valuable than gold. Watch as aluminum is stretched, pounded, melted and turned into foam.
    • Dams
      Season 14 - Episode 11
      They block the force of a river, produce enough electricity to power cities, move water over hundreds of miles and irrigate fertile valleys. Dams prevent floods and produce "green" energy. Visit a hydroelectric dam, the most technologically advanced type of dam and a dam in Brazil that is five times the size of the Hoover Dam.moreless
    • Fire
      Season 13 - Episode 2
      Modern Marvels takes a look at the important role that fire has played in technological advances as well as warfare.
    • City Water
      City Water
      Season 11 - Episode 23
      When you tap your faucet does clean, pure water flow? Can your city supply enough water for industry, firefighting, and street cleaning? U.S. public water-supply systems serve nearly 99 percent of the population, yet few users know how the system of aqueducts, pipes, and pumps work. Learn the colorful history of the water systems in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles when we scour the past and look to the future, including desalination plants that turn seawater into drinking water.moreless
    • The World's Longest Bridge
      The World's Longest Bridge
      Season 13 - Episode 51
      Modern Marvels takes a look at the incredible effort the Japanese made to build the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, currently the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world.
    • Towing
      Season 9 - Episode 30
      Tugboats; roller-coasters; funicular railroads; flat-bed truck; 747. With its trademark look at the past, present and future, MODERN MARVELS climbs mountains, heads to the highways and guides vessels to dock in this examination of the many aspects of TOWING. Go into the factories where $400,000 tow trucks are made and see how these sophisticated machines evolved from the earliest examples of their breed, which were cobbled together from spare parts. See how today's tug boats deploy omni-directional propeller systems to "rustle" their massive charges to port, and take a ride with the "mules" that tow ships through the Panama Canal.moreless
    • Radio: Out of Thin Air
      Radio: Out of Thin Air
      Season 5 - Episode 2
      Though now considered a country cousin when compared to the sophisticated television, merely a century ago, the radio galvanized communications as it linked the world without wires. The program examines the long life of the radio.
    • Hangars
      Season 8 - Episode 25
      Come in for a smooth landing as we explore the history of hangars--stark, massive structures that house and protect flight vehicles. We visit the first hangar, built on a German lake; Boeing's Delta 4 rocket hangar; Hangar Number One in Lakehurst, New Jersey, that housed all US airships built in the 1920s and '30s; and the Space Shuttle's hangar--as big as four skyscrapers! Back in Germany, Cargolifter's mammoth hangar, large enough to enclose the Superdome, signals the rebirth of an industry.moreless
    • Retro Tech
      Retro Tech
      Season 15 - Episode 38
      Rummage around in your garage and you'll likely find remnants of gadgets past: a typewriter, analog TV, LPs, film cameras and brick-sized mobile phones. These products served us well and remember each one with nostalgic fondness. Take a trip down memory lane to examine how these oldies-but-goodies worked and find out how more advanced tech superseded them.moreless
    • Harvesting
      Season 11 - Episode 49
      Cutting, digging, picking, stripping, shaking, and raking--whatever the crop, there's a custom machine to harvest it. It all began with handpicking and today it's often one man and one machine harvesting hundreds of acres in a single day. The farmer may even get a little help from satellites. Far above the earth, high-resolution photography is giving the grower more opportunities to cut costs and maximize the harvest. From the debut of the sickle in ancient Egypt to McCormick's famous Reaper to the field of ergonomics that assists human harvesters, we'll dig into the past and future of the harvest.moreless
    • Dogs
      Season 17 - Episode 5
      Man's best friend--fearless, faithful, determined and swift. They're our sharpest eyes, noses and ears--and among the bravest hunters, soldiers, rescuers, and protectors. From natural instincts to complex training, see what makes dogs a perfectly engineered Modern Marvel.
    • Secret Underground
      Secret Underground
      Season 17 - Episode 7
      Just below the surface, there's a whole different America hidden from public view. Take a revealing look at the America under our feet, from secret military installations, and experimental farms to tunnel networks and neutron lasers.
    • Shipyards
      Season 10 - Episode 56
      Shipyards are waterside construction sites where some of the largest tools ever built help create the biggest machines on earth.
    • Proving Grounds
      Proving Grounds
      Season 8 - Episode 1
      Where can you fire a missile without scaring the neighbors? Or lift millions of pounds in pursuit of a couple of ounces of gold? On a proving ground, of course, where performance is the only thing that matters. Because in the heat of battle or head-to-head competition, no excuses can be given. We'll visit the US military's Cold Regions Testing Center in Alaska and desert proving grounds in Arizona, the Olympic Complex in Colorado, and the now-defunct Packard proving grounds in Michigan.moreless
    • Made in the USA
      Made in the USA
      Season 17 - Episode 8
      Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the United States has stamped, carved, cut, built and assembled its way into becoming the super power of product production. However, in the last 20 years, the "Made in America" tag began to fade, as the manufacturing landscape of industry went overseas. So what is still Made in the USA? Visit the world's biggest and oldest flag manufacturer, which has made some of the most famous flags in history. Go inside the factories that produce the last athletic shoe made in the US. See the strangest form of alternate transportation known to man--completely assembled in 30 minutes. Check out a hot toy company that believes it's imperative to keep their work here at home. Top it all off with some great food--some American success stories that may seem foreign at first glance. It's not just a label. It's a proud and important tradition.moreless
    • Driver's Seat
      Season 17 - Episode 9
      Get behind the wheel and take control of the some of the largest, fastest, most powerful machines on the planet. These aren't your average vehicles--and handling one of these rides is unlike anything else. But you need more than just a learner's permit to take control of these need training, experience, and above all, guts--if you plan to sit in the Driver's Seat.moreless
    • Satellites
      Season 5 - Episode 1
      Documentary traces the technological race to build satellites. It took the innovation of three men, including a visionary British science fiction writer and a Nazi engineer, and one of the most desperate technological races of all time to create the satellite. Former NASA officials recall the desperate early days of the space race, when America feared that Russian dominance in the heavens would have tragic consequences on the ground. See how satellites evolved into the world's most essential communications tools, and explore the stunning capabilities of modern spy "birds".moreless
    • Transcontinental Railroads
      Transcontinental Railroads
      Season 5 - Episode 12
      With California finally part of the United States, two rail companies raced to connect the monied East and the promising West. Along the way, fortunes would be made, lives lost, and adversity overcome. Join us for the exciting story of the largest, most expensive challenge of the 19th century.
    • Grease
      Season 17 - Episode 2
      In our lifelong battle to fight friction, Grease--in all its forms--is the unsung hero. Journey deep into places few people ever get to see, to discover the "hidden" uses of one of our most slippery products inside giant machines. We'll also investigate how it's made in a factory in New York, as well as what new advances some are working towards for grease of the future. But in the meantime, we'll witness how it is currently used inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, San Francisco's famous cable cars, elevators and escalators, assembly lines, huge excavators, amusement park rides, and even the Panama Canal. From pig fat to nano-particles... amazing Grease keeps everything rolling along--smooth and fast.moreless
    • Packaging
      Season 17 - Episode 11
      It's all around us, so much a part of our lives that we forget it's there, but try to survive a day without packaging. At a Michigan company that designs water bottles, see how engineers find inspiration from a bell pepper. In New Jersey, the makers of bubble wrap clue you in on their manufacturing secrets. In Texas, workers conquer the challenge of packaging the world's largest crane. And also see how America's military goods and supplies are packaged and shipped by the United States Transportation Command.moreless