Modern Marvels - Season 8

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


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Episode Guide

  • Train Wrecks
    Train Wrecks
    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.
  • The St. Louis Arch
    The St. Louis Arch
    Episode 39
    It is a majestic structure that rises boldly over the Mississippi River--40,000 tons of steel and concrete that create the biggest arch of its kind in the world. Nothing like it had ever been built before, nor attempted since. We'll see how its simple and elegant form results from remarkable achievements in construction and engineering.moreless
  • Firing Ranges
    Firing Ranges
    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
  • Glass
    Episode 37
    This episode of Modern Marvels looks at glass artwork and some famous glass structures built in the 20th century. Narrator Max Raphael goes into the studios of glass artist, Tom McGlauchli and Dale Chihuly, to take a look at out how they create their sculptures. Famous glass architects are also profiled in this episode.moreless
  • Times Square
    Times Square
    Episode 36
    New York City's Times Square is the city's most vibrant area.
  • Los Angeles
    Los Angeles
    Episode 35
    The City of Dreams is explored. It includes the Metro Red Line subway system, a heavy rail subway line running between Downtown Los Angeles and Mid-Wilshire to North Hollywood; the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a large outdoor sports stadium in the University Park neighborhood; the Getty Center, which showcases a collection of European and American art from the Middle Ages to the present; the famous Disneyland; and the freeway system.moreless
  • Drive-Thru
    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
  • Cemeteries
    Episode 33
    More than 2-million people die in the U.S. each year. That works out to about 5,500 burials a day, with roughly 80 percent taking the long goodbye in a casket, and the remaining 20 percent electing to be cremated or finding some alternative method of crossing eternity's threshold. We take a look at dealing with the dead throughout the centuries, and at today's $20-billion funeral industry. Any way you look at it, it's a healthy business, with new generations of customers year after year!moreless
  • Bunkers
    Episode 32
    From the earliest bunkers of WWI through the ultra-futuristic ones of tomorrow's wars, we trace the story of defensive fortifications. In the constant struggle to hold off ever more potent forms of attack, bunkers function in a variety of forms. Three mammoth block structures comprise a submarine bunker at Lorient, France, able to house 20 subs. We visit Churchill's Cabinet War Room and Hitler's Berlin bunker, as well as backyard Cold War bunkers and those that protect nuclear weapons themselves.moreless
  • Work Clothes
    Work Clothes
    Episode 31
    Work Clothes is episode 32 in season eight of the show Modern Marvels. It tells the story of the evolution of work clothes from the pre-modern era to the present day. Each step in that progression is used to explore the scientific advancements that made the changes possible. The episode covers work clothes for a range of positions in a range of industries.moreless
  • The House Part 2
    The House Part 2
    Episode 30
    The House Part 2 is the second half of the series Modern Marvels, series The House. This episode aired on the History Channel, on October 15, 2001. This episode continues it's in depth look at the construction of a home from the ground up and styles of house framing structures through the years.moreless
  • The House Part 1
    The House Part 1
    Episode 29
    The House is episode 29 of season 8 of the popular History Channel series Modern Marvels which originally aired on December 15, 2001. This episode studies the construction of a home from the ground up and looks at the tricks of the trade. Also in this episode the history of home construction and different construction methods are explored.moreless
  • Diamond Mines
    Episode 28
    Half a mile below the earth's surface, men mine for rough diamonds--a pure carbon substance. Brilliant when cut and polished, they are marketed as the most precious gem in the world. From the earliest mines of the 4th century BC to today's technological wonders in South Africa, we explore the history and technology of the diamond mine.moreless
  • Quarries
    Episode 27
    Without rock, modern society wouldn't exist.
  • West Point
    West Point
    Episode 26
    Created by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, the United States Military Academy, better known as West Point has been leading the world in military education ever since. Lloyd Sherr and Harlan Saperstein star alongside fascinating archival footage and numerous trainee interviews in this documentary treatment of America's most famous military training school.moreless
  • Hangars
    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
  • Air Shows
    Air Shows
    Episode 25
    Modern Marvels dedicates an entire episode to the spectacle that has enthralled air enthusiasts and newbies alike since the first ever flying exhibition of 1909. Eighteen million Americans turn out every year to catch a glimpse of some of the world's bravest and most daring stuntmen and pilots as they almost defy gravity with their ariel grace. Here, Modern Marvels' Airshows brings you the best of the very best.moreless
  • Nuclear Subs
    Nuclear Subs
    Episode 24
    The most priceless jewels in the arsenals of a handful of countries, some nuclear submarines carry more firepower than all the bombs dropped in history. Since the 1950s, these lethal steel sharks have been a cornerstone of American defense policy. The Cold War launched an underwater race for supremacy with the Soviet Union. The result: engineering miracles, which roam 70% of the earth's surface, providing deterrence to enemies, intelligence about adversaries, and an abiding sense of dread.moreless
  • Cannons
    Episode 23
    Cannons have fired balls of iron and atomic bombs, changed the way wars are fought, and now come equipped with smart weapons. Beginning with 13th-century cannons that were designed to penetrate forts of the day, we'll see how cannons were first cast and later forged, and show how large cannons terrorized civilians and soldiers in WWI and WWII. Moving to the present, we feature the 40-ton self-propelled Crusader that launches 100-pound steel artillery shells more than 33 miles.moreless
  • Saloons
    Episode 22
    From a ladle and tin cup in an 1850s mining camp and Civil War tent saloons to Prohibition-era speakeasies, we investigate the history of the American saloon, and go behind-the-scenes at Billy Bob's, a 3-acre Texan saloon, and a Los Angeles sports bar with a computerized liquor-dispensing system. We see what it took to create the elaborate carved bars, the purpose of the brass foot-rail, the impact of refrigerated railroad cars on beer supply, and the transformational power of the bottle cap.moreless
  • Cattle Ranches
    Cattle Ranches
    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
  • More Gadgets
    Episode 20
    A salute to the tools and toys that have stood the test of time--from the Zippo lighter to the Palm Pilot, the 21st century's first great gadget. As we focus on the technology behind familiar gadgets, we see the subtle ways they have changed our lives. Other items include the flashlight, transistor radio, safety razor, and the metronome. We also go behind the scenes at Herbst-Lazar-Bell, a cutting-edge industrial design firm, and Gadget Universe, a fledgling retailer trying to topple the Sharper Image.moreless
  • World Trade Center
    World Trade Center
    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
  • Hardware Stores
    Hardware Stores
    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
  • Battle Gear
    Battle Gear
    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
  • The Colosseum
    The Colosseum
    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
  • The M-16
    The M-16
    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.
  • Codes
    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
  • International Airports II
    The developments and technology of international airports' construction and operation.
  • Chemical and Biological Weapons
    Chemical and biological warfare goes back at least 4,000 years.
  • Engineering Disasters 3
    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
  • Computers
    Episode 11
    Computers is an episode from the eighth season of the History Channel TV series Modern Marvels in which a group of computer experts discusses the evolution of computer technology from early adding machines to the room-sized monsters of the 1950s and 60s. The episode focuses on today's increasingly powerful microchips.
  • Lighthouses
    Episode 10
    The Pharos of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Monster Trucks
    Episode 9
    Ride shotgun in our rollicking history of the Monster Truck, and meet the father of the mythic beast, Bob Chandler, whose Bigfoot gave birth to the sport in a cornfield years ago! Weighing 10,000 pounds, the behemoths entertain using brute force. Thrill to breathtaking stunts in California, Indiana, and Florida, as mounted cameras demonstrate the shakes, rattles, and rolls drivers experience; and meet the men who race these mechanical mammoths in one of the world's fastest-growing motorsports.moreless
  • Hadrian's Wall
    Hadrian's Wall
    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
  • Construction Machines
    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
  • Garage Gadgets
    Garage Gadgets
    Episode 6
    Handy around the house? You will be after this history of the household garage. From lawn care products to snow removal and outdoor cooking, the garage gadgets for do-it-yourselfers have evolved over the decades to meet the ever-changing challenges of maintaining a home. With a typical garage as our starting point, we'll explore the uncommon histories behind some common garage items such as the lawn mower, string trimmer, leaf blower, barbecue grill, and more.moreless
  • Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel
    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
  • 1/29/01
    In an historic survey of man's adaptation to killer environmental conditions, we travel to the desert, the Arctic, the sea, jungle, and space, charting the body's physiological responses to extreme circumstances such as frostbite, heatstroke, and hypothermia. We talk with military survival experts and learn about the latest cutting-edge survival gear, as well as the equipment aboard the space station, and look to the future, when nano-technology will create a new type of technology.moreless
  • Stealth Technology
    Stealth Technology
    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
  • Apollo 13
    Apollo 13
    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
  • Commercial Jets
    Commercial Jets
    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
  • Proving Grounds
    Proving Grounds
    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