Modern Marvels - Season 9

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


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Episode Guide

  • Runways
    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
  • Salt Mines
    Salt Mines
    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
  • Digi-Tech
    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
  • Limos
    Episode 48
    Limousines have been stretched to greater and greater lengths--as has the notion of what can be done inside them! You can have a rolling disco in a stretched SUV, go for a rumble off-road in a monster truck limousine, or take a direct hit in an armored limo and still make your meeting. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride of your life as we review the history of chauffeured limousines--from weddings, proms, and funerals to the ultimate adult playpen and the president's "Cadillac One".moreless
  • James Bond Gadgets
    James Bond Gadgets
    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
  • More Bond Gadgets
    More Bond Gadgets
    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
  • Tunnels of Vietnam
    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
  • High Tech Sex
    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
  • Sherman Tanks
    Sherman Tanks
    Episode 42
    From the D-Day beaches to the crushing defeat of the German Army in France, the U.S. M-4 Sherman tank fought in some of the bloodiest battles of WWII. This is the dramatic story of America's triumphant industrial mobilization and the manufacture of a tank that would blast its way into history and pave the way for the liberation of Europe. Miniature cameras provide an inside look at the horrifying reality of being inside a Sherman tank in combat and under fire.moreless
  • Cranes
    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
  • Muscle Cars
    Muscle Cars
    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
  • Pickup Trucks
    Pickup Trucks
    Episode 39
    They have made the leap from humble farm vehicles to mainstays of the American road. PICKUP TRUCKS tells the complete story of these rolling icons of individuality and freedom. From homemade trucks made by modifying Model Ts to high-tech concept vehicles that dazzle visitors at car shows, MODERN MARVELS explores every aspect of PICKUP TRUCKS, tracing their technological development over the years and exploring the factors that transformed a working vehicle into a sought-after ride for millions of Americans who never haul anything more than groceries. Visit design studios and the factories to see how concepts become reality, and hear from auto executives and industry analysts who talk about the recent surge in popularity--over 1 million pickup trucks are sold each month. From wood spoke wheels to leather interiors with power everything, PICKUP TRUCKS have come a long way, and MODERN MARVELStraces their journey. (without Toby Keith)moreless
  • The Autobahn
    The Autobahn
    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 Chrysler Building
    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
  • Breweries
    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
  • Magnets
    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
  • The Magnum
    The Magnum
    Episode 34
    It's known as the most powerful handgun in the world, made famous by Clint Eastwood in the Dirty Harry movies. But its origins stretch back more than a century to the Indian Wars of the American West and African safaris, where hunters stalked big game. Join us for a review of the history of the biggest, baddest gun available today--unlimited firepower at the pull of a trigger!moreless
  • Liberty Ships of WWII
    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.
  • Nordhausen
    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.
  • Jet Engines
    Jet Engines
    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!
  • Towing
    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
  • Engines
    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
  • Gasoline
    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
  • 7/16/02
    With the ironic motto "Peace is our Profession", the Strategic Air Command was in charge of US nuclear forces from 1946 to 1992. SAC was the ultimate Cold War military machine, at its height controlling thousands of nuclear weapons, planes, and missiles, and boasting over a quarter-million personnel. We travel to the Strategic Air and Space Museum, located 20 miles from SAC's old headquarters in Nebraska, and walk through the cavernous bomb bay of SAC's workhorse, the B-52 Bomber.moreless
  • Super Guns
    Super Guns
    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.
  • Models
    Episode 24
    Models takes a closer look at the most intriguing buildings in Maine. When the show begins, you will see architect, Philip M. Isaacson receives an award for his thought-provoking designs. The show also explores the modern exhibition of architects. Follow along as architects around the world compete for a $10,000 prize.moreless
  • Camouflage
    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
  • Hunting Gear
    Hunting Gear
    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
  • The Tackle Box
    The Tackle Box
    Episode 21
    With visits to high-stakes fishing tournaments and local tackle shops, MODERN MARVELS explores the wonderful world of rods, reels and optimism that is the fisherman's stock and trade. Visit the facilities that turn out carbon-fiber rods and the plugs, flies, leaders, floats and other accessories that anglers swear by. See how the humble bamboo pole and braided horsehair line gave way to successive generations of modern technology, and cast with some of today's top fishermen as they look to lure trout from mountain streams and marlins from the deep ocean.moreless
  • 6/4/02
    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
  • Big Rigs of Combat: Tanks/Jeeps
    The rousing story of the tank, from its primitive appearance in WWI to the high-tech world of modern tank warfare, with emphasis on the tank's Golden Age during WWII. In the second hour, we'll look at the American soldier's best friend in WWII--the Jeep. A "Blitz Buggy" could serve as a combat car, snowplow, or ambulance!moreless
  • Drag Racing
    Episode 18
    Dragsters hit top speeds above 330 miles per hour. MODERN MARVELS heads to the drag strip and back in time to tell the complete story of these amazing machines. Even before World War I, speed demons were modifying Model T Fords to see how quick they could make them. From these humble beginnings, a new type of racing developed. DRAG RACING goes inside the shop with top driver Gary Clapshaw to see how a modern dragster is put together, from the aerodynamic package to the 7000 horsepower engine. Legendary designer Bob Norwood reveals his latest design, which may revolutionize the sport. And watch as dragsters compete over the quickest quarter-mile on earth.moreless
  • The World's Biggest Machines
    Join us for a look at the biggest, heaviest, tallest, longest, meanest machines on the planet! We'll see what these monsters do and how they operate, and how they're designed and assembled. Machines investigated include the largest draglines, excavators used in mining; the biggest dump truck; port cranes; a front-end loader with an 80-ton bucket and the largest tires of any vehicle; the cruise ship, the Voyager of the Seas; a 240-foot tall wind generator; and a fusion reaction machine the size of a football field.moreless
  • Axes, Swords and Knives
    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
  • Fire & Ice
    Fire & Ice
    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
  • Ice Breakers
    Ice Breakers
    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
  • The Wheel
    The Wheel
    Episode 13
    Spinning your wheels isn't just going around in circles. In fact, it's revolutionary--literally. The history of civilization has turned on the wheel, and we have traveled as far as we have because of it. One of the six simple machines and perhaps the most important invention in the history of mankind, the wheel has been essential in all aspects of life--from farming to fighting, traveling to trading. Features interviews with scientists, historians, philosophers, millers, potters, and spinners.moreless
  • Motors
    Episode 12
    Viewers can see how mechanical and electrical engineers design some of the worlds largest motors and how these motors work, in this episode of Modern Marvels. Narrator Max Raphael takes viewers on board a turbocharged container ship to check out the Wartsila, 14-cylinder, RT-flex96C engine. The episiode also takes a look at a NASA wind tunnel with its 60,000hp electric motor.moreless
  • The F-14
    The F-14
    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
  • The Junkyard
    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.
  • Siege Machines
    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
  • Bullet Proof
    Bullet Proof
    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
  • Pleasure Boats
    Pleasure Boats
    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
  • 1/31/02
    For millennia, luxury toys have functioned as flashy instruments of affluence, authority, and identity and driven many kingly consumers to covet, create, and purchase these status symbols. From the Roman Emperor Caligula's special barges to Carl Faberge's impossibly intricate eggs, from plasma screen TVs to $600,000 Bentleys and Rolex watches, we examine spectacular personal possessions--paeans to the lords of a consumer culture that grows richer and technologically more sophisticated daily.moreless
  • Remote Control
    Remote Control
    Episode 5
    From Battle-bots to the ocean floor, the skies over hostile territory to the surface of Mars, MODERN MARVELS® explores the remote control world. Travel back to 1898, when Nicola Tesla started a technological revolution by successfully controlling a six-foot long model boat using radio waves. From that humble beginning, the world of remote control has grown exponentially, with microwave, infrared and a host of other technologies expanding our virtual reach ever farther. REMOTE CONTROL shows how the various methods work and goes into the labs where scientists and engineers are developing the next generation of remote control devices, including a solar-powered helicopter that can fly up to 100,000 feet and remain there for months at a time.moreless
  • Private Jets Part 2
    Learn what it takes to buy a previously-owned jet, and travel to Dallas to visit the Associated Air Center, a company that creates very high-end, lavish jet interiors. Also the latest in kit jets, and look into the new must-have of the super rich--personal jets the size of commercial airliners.
  • Private Jets Part 1
    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.
  • Helicopters
    Episode 2
    From the early "egg beaters" of World War II to the "flying tanks" of Operation Desert Storm, we'll fly aboard one of the most agile and potent weapons on the battlefield--the helicopter. Meet the first pilot to fly a combat rescue mission in WWII and a USAF female aviator; and view classified footage of the Apache in Iraq.moreless
  • Failed Inventions
    Episode 1
    Dreamers and schemers try an odd assortment of flawed ideas for inventions. Start with the cars--cars that fly, cars that float, cars with jet engines. That's just the tip of the iceberg. Here are homes that look like nothing you've ever seen and clothes too strange for even the most radical fashion runway, including rocket belts and radium-infused garments. Some of these creations were too far ahead of their time, and others were just plain bad ideas, but there's a fascinating tale behind each one, and FAILED INVENTIONS celebrates those occasions when necessity mothers a notion that only its creator could love.moreless