HISTORY’s longest-running series moves to H2. Modern Marvels celebrates the ingenuity, invention and imagination found in the world around us. From commonplace items like ink and coffee to architectural masterpieces and engineering disasters, the hit series goes beyond the basics to provide insight and history into things we wonder about and that impact our lives. This series tells fascinating stories of the doers, the dreamers and sometime-schemers that create everyday items, technological breakthroughs and manmade wonders. The hit series goes deep to explore the leading edge of human inspiration and ambition.
Where to Watch Modern Marvels
Where to stream every episode from all 19 seasons of Modern Marvels. Filter these episodes by what's available to watch free or on your streaming services using the tabs above.
Season 1History | History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S01 E01Dec 10, 1993
Grand Coulee Dam Dec 10, 1993 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.
S01 E01Dec 11, 1993
Grand Coulee Damn Dec 11, 1993 The world’s largest concrete dam–and the largest concrete structure in the world–lies on the Columbia River in the State of Washington. B uilt in 1931, it is also one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world.
S01 E02Jan 21, 1994
The Empire State Building Jan 21, 1994 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.
S01 E02Jan 22, 1994
The Empire State Building Jan 22, 1994 The remarkable story of how the landmark New York City skyscraper was constructed during the depths of the Depression. Requiring 10 million bricks and 60,000 tons of steel beams and using a revolutionary technique to hold the steel girders in place–hot rivets–the world’s tallest building was completed four months ahead of schedule.
S01 E03Feb 10, 2016
The Capital Threat Feb 10, 2016 Nature attacks Washington DC and Los Angeles. The fate of the Constitution and other monuments. Wilted palm trees help spread a massive inferno, while another capital emerges in the Pacific Ocean.
S01 E03Jan 2, 1995
The Panama Canal Jan 2, 1995 Chronicles one of the most incredible engineering feats of all time: construction of the 51-mile canal that took 10 years to build and employed over 40,000 workers, 6,000 of whom died of yellow fever, malaria, and other horrors. An earlier, 9-year attempt by the French ended in failure and cost 20,000 lives.
Season 2History | Rent or Buy
S02 E01Feb 4, 1996
The Railroads That Tamed The West Feb 4, 1996 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.
S02 E01Feb 5, 1996
Balloons Feb 5, 1996 Join us for a buoyant trip through the history of balloon flight and a tribute to the fearless pilots and engineers brave enough to push the limits of balloon technology into the next weather front, or the next frontier. We’ll demonstrate their diversified applications and talk to pioneers who designed and flew them.
S02 E02Feb 12, 1996
The Transcontinental Railroad Feb 12, 1996 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. This is the story of the largest, most expensive challenge of the 19th century.
S02 E03Sep 3, 1996
Las Vegas Sep 3, 1996 Rising from a stretch of desert with nothing but remoteness to recommend it, Las Vegas became a glittering wonderland for dreamers. We’ll take a look at the forces that made Las Vegas a place unlike any on earth.
S02 E04Mar 20, 1995
The Eiffel Tower Mar 20, 1995 To the people of France, and to citizens of the world, Gustav Eiffel’s 320-meter Tower is more than an unsurpassed technological and engineering wonder, conceived and built to astound the public at the 1889 Paris Exposition…it is a symbol of triumphant spirit, demonstrating how an innovative metal matrix can form a structure whose posture reinforces an aesthetic of glory.
S02 E05Sep 16, 1996
Domed Stadiums Sep 16, 1996 The domed structure is one of the earliest forms of shelter–from African mud huts to frozen igloos to holy shrines and cathedrals. As a design concept, the shape represents the community under the canopy of heaven; as a technological device, the dome is the most efficient way of controlling an internal environment. And today, as we see here, engineers have enlarged and transformed the ancient concept to build some of the world’s most spectacular structures–domed sports stadiums.
Season 3History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S03 E01Jan 2, 1997
Space Shuttle Jan 2, 1997 Considered by many to be the most astounding machine ever built, this reusable spaceship is the apex of flight technology. This program recounts the challenges and the critical issues that led to NASA’s decision to create an “airplane” to navigate space.
S03 E02Feb 17, 1997
Brooklyn Bridge Feb 17, 1997 It was an engineering feat of almost miraculous proportions and a design of spectacular elegance. Rare photographs and behind-the-scenes stories recall the politics, the struggles, and the tragedies that made possible “the Eighth Wonder of the World”.
S03 E03Apr 14, 1997
Tunnels Apr 14, 1997 There is no more potent demonstration of man’s resolve than the design and construction of tunnels–avenues that slice through a conspiracy of elements in the single-minded determination to connect two points. Whether underwater, blasted through solid rock, or negotiating the shifting strata of earth’s unstable crust, we explore the design and engineering of famous tunnels…and the motivation behind them.
S03 E04Mar 24, 1997
Tennessee Valley Authority Mar 24, 1997 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.
S03 E05Jun 9, 1997
Oil Jun 9, 1997 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.
S03 E06Jun 23, 1997
Silver Mines Jun 23, 1997 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.
S03 E07Jun 28, 1997
The NYC Subway Jun 28, 1997 A trip through time on the New York Subway beginning at the beginning– October 1904. We look at New York before the subway–a world of horse carts and elevated trains. We see early impractical experiments in transportation like the pneumatic subway or the elevated cable car. The program will deal with the technology of the subway, the construction, and financing. We look at subway stations and equipment.
Season 4History | Rent or Buy
S04 E01Jan 9, 1998
America's Highways Jan 9, 1998 In 1912, a headlight-maker and an auto magnate built the first cross-country road to spur the demand for new cars; 70 years and $125 billion later, the highway system had grown to 42,000 miles. Rare photographs and interviews tell the incredible story of the “paving of America”.
S04 E02Jan 19, 1998
The Telephone Jan 19, 1998 From Alexander Graham Bell’s crude creation, to today’s high-speed wireless networks, we’ll look into the past, present and future of the telephone. We’ll visit the AT&T archives to see how the very first telephone boxes wired together with telegraph cables have evolved into vast wireless networks. Enter into the inner workings of Los Angeles County’s 911 emergency dispatch center, as well as explore advancements made by Lucent/Bell Labs in phone-embedded GPS technology. With telephone privacy issues making headlines, witness a demonstration of how easy it can be for someone to illegally tap your phone. We’ll also look at a technology developed by NASA-Ames that might one day allow people to converse by merely thinking what they want to say.
S04 E03Aug 4, 1998
Aqueducts Aug 4, 1998 Many rivers quenched the thirst of millions in the American west and around the world. Without these aqueducts, some of the earth’s largest cities would turn into gigantic ghost towns. Their technology has been in use for over two thousand years. But today these engineering marvels cost billions of dollars to build, requiring thousands of men to toil for years on end. Aqueducts have made some men famous and others fabulously wealthy. In Los Angeles one man’s vision took one hundred thousand men to complete and a great city was truly born. In Northern California the most famous conservationist of our time waged the political fight of his life in an attempt to save one of nature’s most spectacular valleys from San Francisco’s demand for more water.
S04 E04Oct 29, 1998
Television Oct 29, 1998 An exploration of the world’s most popular entertainment, from the boy genius who invented it to the RCA “General” who made it a reality.
S04 E05Nov 24, 1998
The Computer Nov 24, 1998 A look at the inventions that have revolutionized society as we know it. They began as behemoths which weighed over 2 tons!
S04 E06Nov 13, 1998
Captured Light Nov 13, 1998 A look at the history of photography beginning as early as the eleventh century. Includes the advancements by Niepce and Daguerre in the 19th century and William Henry Fox and George Eastman in the 20th century.
S04 E07Dec 8, 1998
Stealth Technology Dec 8, 1998 A look at the F117 Stealth Fighter that led the pack for the Allies in Gulf Wars One and Two and virtually decimated Iraqi Air Defense. Find out how the technology allows it to approach its target without being detected by radar. Also, a look at the B2 Stealth Bomber.
Season 5History | Rent or Buy
S05 E01Jan 2, 1999
Polio Vaccine Jan 2, 1999 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.
S05 E02Jan 2, 1999
The Motion Picture Jan 2, 1999 The complete story of the feuds, the mistakes, ingenuity, and successes that made movies possible–and kept Edison at the front of the inventor pack. Includes rare early films from the Edison Studios.
S05 E03Jan 7, 1999
Satellites. Jan 7, 1999 Strong enough to survive their fiery launch into orbit, sophisticated enough to provide life-saving images or relay tens of thousands of phone calls at the same time. By monitoring weapons systems and troop movements, these "eyes in the sky" may be the difference between security and annihilation. From the futuristic visions of a British sci-fi writer to creations of a German rocket designer for the Nazi war machine to the Cold War technological race, we review the satellites that link our world.
S05 E04Feb 23, 1999
Radio: Out Of Thin Air Feb 23, 1999 To some it was a miracle. Others call it the triumph of illiteracy. Somewhere between adoration and scorn. Somewhere between the carrier pigeon and television. There was and is radio. We take radio for granted. Perhaps think of it as a second rate medium. A poor relation to our pride and joy, television. But fewer than a hundred years ago, the discovery that people could communicate over great distances without wires, galvanized the world to a degree that has been equalled.
S05 E05Mar 16, 1999
The Electric Light Mar 16, 1999 Probably Thomas Edison’s best-known invention is the electric light. But the familiar light bulb is only the most obvious element of Edison’s accomplishment. He also created from scratch a delivery system for his light. His invention literally changed the world, putting the power of electricity at our fingertips. In 1878, Edison said: “The electric light is the light of the future. And it will be my light.” This is the story of how he and his team raced against competitors to make good his word.
S05 E06Mar 31, 1999
The Phonograph Mar 31, 1999 Thomas Edison registered over 1,000 patents, but his favorite invention was one of his first. Rare photographs and early recordings show how the young inventor and his team outfoxed Alexander Graham Bell.
S05 E07Apr 21, 1999
Great Towers in the Sky Apr 21, 1999 Viewer discretion is advised for those with vertigo! Featuring rare construction footage and interviews with steely-nerved iron workers who risked death to build them, we climb to the top of the world's tallest, most innovative, and most thrilling structures, including Seattle's Space Needle, Toronto's CN Tower, and Las Vegas's Stratosphere. The architects who designed these astounding buildings explain how each broke the boundaries of architecture at the time it was built.
Season 6History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S06 E01Jan 4, 2000
Demolition Jan 4, 2000 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.
S06 E02Jan 11, 2000
The Atlantic Wall Jan 11, 2000 The Atlantic Wall explores the construction of the shore fortifications built by the Nazis during World War II. We highlight the logistics of construction, types of fortifications, weapons, and obstacles used in the wall. The Nazis attempted to fortify 3,000 miles of occupied European coastline before the Allies launched thier attack on occupied Europe. Finally the Allied D-Day invasion planning and execution, with its associated propaganda and deception, are detailed.
S06 E03Jan 12, 2000
History of Tall Buildings Jan 12, 2000 A look up at the symbol of the American Century–the skyscraper, the construction of which is a triumph of engineering and capitalism. Climb to the top of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Sears Tower, and World Trade Center to see how ego, money, and technology joined to build the tallest of man-made structures.
S06 E04Feb 4, 2000
Aquariums Feb 4, 2000 Public aquariums have undergone dramatic changes since inception in mid-19th century. A series of technological innovations has transformed them into virtual oceans with spectacular multi-million gallon displays. Examine the latest high-tech aquatic wonders and take a peek into their future.
S06 E05Feb 12, 2000
Las Vegas Hotels. Feb 12, 2000 Out of the bleakness of a vast desert arose a city built on wish fulfillment and indulgence. Unencumbered by tradition or notions of good taste, for 50 years Las Vegas has taken tourists to the height of their imaginations while reaching into their pockets. Visit 11 of the world's largest hotels in the country's biggest playground.
S06 E06Feb 27, 2000
The Oakland Bay Bridge. Feb 27, 2000 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.
S06 E07Mar 1, 2000
Monumental Statues Mar 1, 2000 What inspires societies to create sculptures on a superhuman scale? We’ll examine gigantic statues and the monumental commitment of time, money, and talent needed to complete them. We’ll study the Sphinx, Colossus of Rhodes, Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer, Russia’s Motherland and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Season 7History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S07 E01Jan 5, 2001
The City Beneath Our Feet Jan 5, 2001 Beneath every modern city, hidden by manhole covers, drains, and ventilation grates – lies a labyrinth of tunnels, wires, conduits and pipes. They deliver power to our homes, water to our faucets, messages to our loved ones and sometimes – they even move us. Workers create the secret world beneath our feet using everything from shovels, pickaxes and dynamite to multi-million dollar tunneling equipment. The modern subterranean worker, or as they like to be called, “Sandhogs” use time tested methods as well as modern inventions, such as airlocks and computerized mapping techniques to avoid pitfalls and get the job done in the city beneath the street.
S07 E02Jan 17, 2001
Tower Bridge Jan 17, 2001 Join us as we span the history of one of the world’s most famous bridges, London’s Tower Bridge. The world’s largest bascule bridge (a counterweighted drawbridge), when it was erected in 1892, it became a postcard image of London. The famed gothic towers of this pioneering steel structure, sheathed in stone, are purely decorative.
S07 E03Jan 21, 2001
The Chunnel Jan 21, 2001 The challenge of linking Britain and France with a tunnel under the English Channel was both monumental and delicate. It took 18 months just to design and build the 28 foot diameter TBMs, and nearly a year to assemble and position them underground. Modern Marvels takes you through the entire process from start to finish.
S07 E04Jan 23, 2001
Space Stations. Jan 23, 2001 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.
S07 E05Jan 30, 2001
The Pentagon Jan 30, 2001 The pentagon…The name alone conjures up an imposing image of American power and prestige. As the largest office building in the world, it serves as the headquarters of the nation’s armed forces. Every day, more than 24,000 men and women come here to work on the vital and sometimes top secret business of national defense. Beyond the pentagon’s massive size and awesome purpose looms its impenetrable mystique. We’ll take you inside this military institution, national symbol, and modern marvel.
S07 E06Feb 8, 2001
Bridges. Feb 8, 2001 From amazing ancient Roman aqueducts and arch bridges, romantic Renaissance spans, 19th-century railroad crossovers, to monumental marvels of our time, bridges played a key role in the human quest to connect and unify. We'll trace the history of bridge types, including suspension, arch, beam, truss, and cantilever designs.
S07 E07Feb 13, 2001
Prisons Feb 13, 2001 “All hope abandon, ye who enter here!” This sentiment has permeated the masonry and clanging bars of prisons built throughout the ages. We’ll see how the philosophy and architecture of today’s American prisons emerged from the sewer cells and castles and dungeons of ancient Rome, medieval Europe, and 18th-century England.
Season 8History | Rent or Buy
S08 E01Jan 3, 2002
Battle Gear. Jan 3, 2002 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.
S08 E02Jan 18, 2002
Proving Grounds Jan 18, 2002 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.
S08 E03Jan 29, 2002
Commercial Jets Jan 29, 2002 Commercial Jets traces the evolution of commercial aviation from the stumbling beginnings of the De Havilland Comet to the wide-body rocket ships of today. This is the story of a high-tech worldwide competition among a field of high stakes players. Billion dollar deals ride on cutting-edge designs to carry more passengers father, faster and safer.
S08 E04Jan 29, 2002
Apollo 13 Jan 29, 2002 The Apollo 13 mission was intended to be a “routine” trip to the moon. But when an oxygen tank exploded, the spacecraft was crippled and its 3-man crew placed in mortal danger. The Lunar Module, intended for deployment on the moon’s surface, instead became a lifeboat. Scientists and engineers on earth fought a race against time to save the crew. We’ll examine the mission, which nearly ended in tragedy, but instead was a resounding success, and in some ways became NASA’s finest hour.
S08 E05Jan 31, 2002
Survival Technology Jan 31, 2002 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.
S08 E06Feb 1, 2002
Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel Feb 1, 2002 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.
S08 E07Feb 2, 2002
Garage Gadgets Feb 2, 2002 The household garage serves as the at-home sanctuary for the modern American male. Most men consider themselves to be “handy around the house”. Fathers and husbands see it as their role to provide for and take care of the family’s home and possessions. From lawn care products to snow removal and outdoor cooking, the Garage Gadgets of Do-It-Yourselfers have evolved over decades to face the ever-changing challenges of maintaining a home.
Season 9History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S09 E01Jan 2, 2003
Breweries. Jan 2, 2003 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 today.
S09 E02Jan 8, 2003
War Planes of World War II Jan 8, 2003 Flight was born in America at the turn of the 20th century. But WWII saw more planes built in a single year–300,000–than had been built in the previous 40. Footage of restored aircraft, historic film ranging from factory floors to dogfights, and interviews with pilots and designers recapture the aviation industry's finest hour.
S09 E03Jan 31, 2003
The Winchester Jan 31, 2003 Winchester…the name still evokes images of the Wild West and the taming of the frontier–it was the first reliable repeating rifle and settlers brought it along as they moved west. Prized by Civil War soldiers, the lever-action rifle was preferred by lawmen and outlaws alike. A classic Winchester can command upwards of $100,000 from collectors trying to buy a piece of the Old West. We see how a shirt manufacturer named Oliver Winchester became the most famous gun maker of the American West.
S09 E04Feb 1, 2003
Big Rigs of Combat: Tanks and Jeeps Feb 1, 2003 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!
S09 E05Feb 5, 2003
Tunnels of Vietnam. Feb 5, 2003 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.
S09 E06Feb 12, 2003
Helicopters Feb 12, 2003 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 U.S.A.F. female aviator; and view classified footage of the Apache in Iraq.
S09 E07Mar 5, 2003
Private Jets Mar 5, 2003 From today’s ultra chic, state-of-the-art private jets to Lockheed’s 1957 Jetstar, this 2-hour 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. Actor Michael Dorn explains what it takes to buy a previously-owned jet. And, we see the latest in kit jets and look into the new must-have of the super rich–jets the size of commercial airliners.
Season 10History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S10 E01Jan 17, 2004
Trans-Siberian Railroad Jan 17, 2004 Forged in Europe's shadow, Russian small arms were once dismissed as crude copies. Often lacking the finish of Western counterparts, Russian guns have been battle-proven worldwide, with their emphasis on robustness and simplicity of design. Review the long history of Russian small arms--from Peter the Great to the Cold War.
S10 E02Jan 18, 2004
Castles & Dungeons Jan 18, 2004 The F-15 Eagle proves its superiority in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
S10 E03Feb 5, 2004
Ice Road Truckers Feb 5, 2004 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.
S10 E04Feb 13, 2004
Winter Warriors Feb 13, 2004 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.
S10 E05Feb 19, 2004
Booby Traps Feb 19, 2004 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.
S10 E06Mar 4, 2004
The Alcan Highway Mar 4, 2004 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.
S10 E07Mar 18, 2004
Twin Towers of the East Mar 18, 2004 "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.
Season 11History | Rent or Buy
S11 E01Jan 6, 2005
Guns of the Russian Military Jan 6, 2005 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.
S11 E02Jan 7, 2005
The F-15 Jan 7, 2005 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.
S11 E03Jan 13, 2005
The Submarines Jan 13, 2005 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.
S11 E04Jan 19, 2005
Pacific Coast Highway Jan 19, 2005 Think man is unique within the animal kingdom? You might not after this hour that features an amazing collection of earth's non-human inhabitants that use tools, build intricate structures, create traps to capture prey, and perform complex procedures, including farming. From Egyptian vultures utilizing stones to crack open hard-shelled ostrich eggs to chimpanzees using a "tool kit" to extract termites from their nests, we learn that our ability to create tools is not exclusive. Other mammals create subterranean structures, including those prodigious diggers Prairie Dogs, and many animals and insects make devices to augment hunting, such as the Ogre-faced Spider that spins a small web to throw down on unsuspecting passersby. And we're not the only ones to work as a unified, multi-skilled force. Aphid-Raising Ants protect and care for herds of plant juice-sucking aphids that they "milk".
S11 E05Jan 27, 2005
Gangster Guns Jan 27, 2005 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.
S11 E06Feb 2, 2005
Ship of Gold Feb 2, 2005 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.
S11 E07Feb 5, 2005
Racetrack Tech Feb 5, 2005 Starting with the circumstances that led to it's creation up through its reitrement, this episode covers the SR-71 in depth. Stealth wasn't the ace in the whole for this bird...speed and altitude were. A highly educational hour with what is perhaps the best plane ever built, and which still holds all of it's speed and altitude records.
Season 12History | History
S12 E01Jan 5, 2006
Poison Jan 5, 2006 They hold just about everything we need, from condiments to cargo. Made of steel, aluminum, paper and glass, they protect and preserve. They're underground and above ground, they journey around the world. They've revolutionized civilization.
S12 E02Jan 12, 2006
Car Tech of the Future Jan 12, 2006 Out of control it’s a monster with a voracious appetite. Properly harnessed it’s a force that has shaped our world. We’ve learned to create and exploit it, but we’ll never truly tame it. From furnaces to flamethrowers, fire testing to fireballs, now, Fire, on Modern Marvels.
S12 E03Jan 19, 2006
The Arch Jan 19, 2006 Tune in as Modern Marvels looks into the history of cotton, a product used in hundreds of different products, from clothing to lipstick.
S12 E04Jan 26, 2006
More Nature's Engineers Jan 26, 2006 Modern Marvels examines the incredible phenomenon we know as lightning.
S12 E05Feb 9, 2006
World's Biggest Machines 3 Feb 9, 2006 <I>Modern Marvels</I> takes a look at some of the strangest weapons used by Allied forces in WW II.
S12 E06Feb 9, 2006
The Butcher Feb 9, 2006 Modern Marvels shows more of the world's biggest engineering disasters. We look at faults in the U.S. Army's Stryker Light Armored Vehicle, the Sunjiawan coal-mine explosion in China in 2005, the death of three iron workers at Milwaukee's Miller Park in 1999, and much more
Season 13History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S13 E01Jan 18, 2007
Containers Jan 18, 2007 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.
S13 E02Jan 25, 2007
Fire Jan 25, 2007 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 bio-remediation 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 bio-fuel 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.
S13 E03Feb 1, 2007
Cotton Feb 1, 2007 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.
S13 E04Feb 8, 2007
Engineering Disasters 18 Feb 8, 2007 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.
S13 E05Feb 12, 2007
Candy Feb 12, 2007 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.
S13 E06Feb 14, 2007
Weird Weapons: The Axis Feb 14, 2007 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
S13 E07Feb 19, 2007
Nature Tech: Avalanches Feb 19, 2007 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.
Season 14History | History Vault | Rent or Buy
S14 E01Jan 8, 2008
Balls Jan 8, 2008 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.
S14 E02Jan 15, 2008
Environmental Tech Jan 15, 2008 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.
S14 E03Feb 8, 2008
Canning Feb 8, 2008 The dot.com 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.
S14 E04Feb 29, 2008
Pumps Feb 29, 2008 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.
S14 E05Mar 7, 2008
Ice Mar 7, 2008 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.
S14 E06Mar 11, 2008
More Ice Mar 11, 2008 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 that may make you lose your lunch.
S14 E07Mar 18, 2008
The Destroyer Mar 18, 2008 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.
Season 15History | Rent or Buy
S15 E01Jan 15, 2010
Milk Jan 15, 2010 You know the old saying "dull as dirt"...wrong! In Las Vegas we'll see how thousands of tons of dirt transform a stadium into a Supercross course, and in New Jersey we'll slog into a secret bog to collect the special mud that every major league team relies on to give extra grip to baseballs. Then, we'll join in the down and dirty fun of mud wrestling at a state fair in Hawaii. In Tucson we'll see how modern adobe and stunning rammed-earth homes are made. To farmers, "dirt" is "soil" and in a teaspoon of healthy soil there are more living organisms than people on our planet. We'll find out where they came from at a sprawling potting soil facility in central California where huge earth moving equipment adds tons of dried kelp, bat guano and other ingredients to dirt. At exclusive spas we'll watch patrons submerge in mud. Finally, we'll visit the Tide detergent factory--why? To get the dirt out, of course.
S15 E02Jan 22, 2010
Carbon Jan 22, 2010 Each year in the U.S., 280 million hens lay 80 billion eggs, one of the world's most affordable sources of protein. We'll 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...to "cage-free" and "pasture raised" farms where chickens have more room to roam but consumers pay the price. Find out what labels like "Grade A, Organic" and "Omega-3 Enhanced" really mean. See how powdered eggs get made and what happens to the billions of whites and yolks that go their separate ways. Try the world's largest omelet, made from an ostrich egg, the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs. How about some pickled eggs or "century" duck eggs? And prepare to be awed by the "Michelangelo" of the egg-shell world as he sculpts egg shells less than 1/32 inch thick into jaw-dropping works of art.
S15 E03Jan 29, 2010
90s Tech Jan 29, 2010 It is among the most versatile, nutritious, and varied foodstuffs in the world. The Potato is the ultimate comfort food. We'll travel from the Potato's mysterious origins in the South American Andes to the ethnic enclaves of New York's lower Eastside, for some tasty Potato Knishes. In Northern Maine we'll discover a farmer of exotic potatoes: blue, green, pink, and dark purple varieties. We'll reveal how large-scale potato producers in Idaho and Pennsylvania slice, dice, freeze, and dehydrate millions of pounds of spuds annually. We'll learn how to mass produce Tater tots and Kettle Potato Chips. Potato Vodka now scores near perfection in international tasting competitions--and we'll visit a Maine distillery at the top of their game. Finally, we'll pay tribute to the iconic Mr. Potato Head, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, then round out the show with an explosive visit to the makers of some of the world's most sophisticated Spud Guns.
S15 E04Feb 5, 2010
Superhighways Feb 5, 2010 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. We'll go fishing with the men who risk their lives to bring in a haul, stop in at Bumble Bee, the only major tuna cannery still operating in America, and visit the world's largest fish market in Tokyo, where a single tuna can sell for as much as $100,000. We'll also explore worldwide efforts to save the giant bluefin tuna, which has been over-fished to a point of peril. Then we'll head to sea with scientists who track the tunas' inter-oceanic migrations, and travel to South Australia, where entrepreneurs seek to breed the mighty bluefin in captivity.
S15 E05Feb 12, 2010
World's Strongest III Feb 12, 2010 From building cutting-edge competition venues to the latest sports science training, winter sports use more technology than ever. This episode takes you behind the scenes of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter games. Olympic organizers race against the clock to build venues, expand transportation and security, and add futuristic touches to the ultimate Olympic icon--the Olympic torch. Meanwhile, US Olympic hopefuls use high-tech training tools to gain a competitive edge. Take in breathtaking views from the world's highest unsupported gondola and rocket down a bobsled track at 80 miles per hour, as we show you winter sports like you've never seen them before.
S15 E06Mar 3, 2010
Strange Weapons Mar 3, 2010 At 4 State Trucks in Missouri, the Chrome Shop Mafia adds some truckers' "bling" to a big rig as viewers tour its 35,000 square-foot treasure trove of chrome. In Illinois, learn just how automotive parts get their luster in a complex electroplating process. And out on the road with some bikers, take a look at how Harley Davidson puts chrome to work both as a decorative surface and a protective covering on engine parts. At a classic car gathering, collectors show off their sparkling tailfins and grilles--and in Michigan, peruse a unique collection of more than 3,000 chrome hood ornaments. See how workers chrome-plate plastic, and learn how chrome puts the "stainless" in stainless steel. Find out how stainless steel flatware is manufactured and explore the iconic, shimmering art deco dome of the Chrysler Building. Finally, a Colorado artist will show viewers how he rescues old chrome car bumpers from the scrap yard and transforms them.
S15 E07Mar 5, 2010
Whiskey Mar 5, 2010 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.
Season 16History | Rent or Buy
S16 E01Jan 15, 2011
Dirt Jan 15, 2011 You know the old saying "dull as dirt"…wrong! In Las Vegas we'll see how thousands of tons of dirt transform a stadium into a Supercross course, and in New Jersey we'll slog into a secret bog to collect the special mud that every major league team relies on to give extra grip to baseballs. Then, we'll join in the down and dirty fun of mud wrestling at a state fair in Hawaii. In Tucson we'll see how modern adobe and stunning rammed-earth homes are made. To farmers, "dirt" is "soil" and in a teaspoon of healthy soil there are more living organisms than people on our planet. We'll find out where they came from at a sprawling potting soil facility in central California where huge earth moving equipment adds tons of dried kelp, bat guano and other ingredients to dirt. At exclusive spas we'll watch patrons submerge in mud. Finally, we'll visit the Tide detergent factory–why? To get the dirt out, of course.
S16 E02Jan 22, 2011
Eggs Jan 22, 2011 Each year in the U.S., 280 million hens lay 80 billion eggs, one of the world's most affordable sources of protein. We'll 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…to "cage-free" and "pasture raised" farms where chickens have more room to roam but consumers pay the price. Find out what labels like "Grade A, Organic" and "Omega-3 Enhanced" really mean. See how powdered eggs get made and what happens to the billions of whites and yolks that go their separate ways. Try the world's largest omelet, made from an ostrich egg, the equivalent of 24 chicken eggs. How about some pickled eggs or "century" duck eggs? And prepare to be awed by the "Michelangelo" of the egg-shell world as he sculpts egg shells less than 1/32 inch thick into jaw-dropping works of art.
S16 E03Jan 29, 2011
The Potato Jan 29, 2011 It is among the most versatile, nutritious, and varied foodstuffs in the world. The Potato is the ultimate comfort food. We'll travel from the Potato's mysterious origins in the South American Andes to the ethnic enclaves of New York's lower Eastside, for some tasty Potato Knishes. In Northern Maine we'll discover a farmer of exotic potatoes: blue, green, pink, and dark purple varieties. We'll reveal how large-scale potato producers in Idaho and Pennsylvania slice, dice, freeze, and dehydrate millions of pounds of spuds annually. We'll learn how to mass produce Tater tots and Kettle Potato Chips. Potato Vodka now scores near perfection in international tasting competitions–and we'll visit a Maine distillery at the top of their game. Finally, we'll pay tribute to the iconic Mr. Potato Head, now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, then round out the show with an explosive visit to the makers of some of the world's most sophisticated Spud Guns.
S16 E04Feb 5, 2011
Tuna Feb 5, 2011 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. We'll go fishing with the men who risk their lives to bring in a haul, stop in at Bumble Bee, the only major tuna cannery still operating in America, and visit the world's largest fish market in Tokyo, where a single tuna can sell for as much as $100,000. We'll also explore worldwide efforts to save the giant bluefin tuna, which has been over-fished to a point of peril. Then we'll head to sea with scientists who track the tunas' inter-oceanic migrations, and travel to South Australia, where entrepreneurs seek to breed the mighty bluefin in captivity.
S16 E05Oct 4, 2011
Winter Tech Oct 4, 2011 From building cutting-edge competition venues to the latest sports science training, winter sports use more technology than ever. This episode takes you behind the scenes of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter games. Olympic organizers race against the clock to build venues, expand transportation and security, and add futuristic touches to the ultimate Olympic icon–the Olympic torch. Meanwhile, US Olympic hopefuls use high-tech training tools to gain a competitive edge. Take in breathtaking views from the world's highest unsupported gondola and rocket down a bobsled track at 80 miles per hour, as we show you winter sports like you've never seen them before.
S16 E06Oct 11, 2011
Breaking Point Oct 11, 2011 Frustrations are high in the Myers garage as Burt and Jason have a considerable amount of work to do on their cars after last week's race. The S & R garage is on easy street after a win by rookie Jonathan Brown and Puddin' invites the boys to a wine tasting to celebrate. A call from the Myers garage to S & R raises the tension level to a boiling point and the threat of violence hangs over the stadium. With everyone else distracted, will Tim Brown coast his way to another win this week?
S16 E07Oct 25, 2011
Chrome Oct 25, 2011 At 4 State Trucks in Missouri, the Chrome Shop Mafia adds some truckers' "bling" to a big rig as viewers tour its 35,000 square-foot treasure trove of chrome. In Illinois, learn just how automotive parts get their luster in a complex electroplating process. And out on the road with some bikers, take a look at how Harley Davidson puts chrome to work both as a decorative surface and a protective covering on engine parts. At a classic car gathering, collectors show off their sparkling tailfins and grilles–and in Michigan, peruse a unique collection of more than 3,000 chrome hood ornaments. See how workers chrome-plate plastic, and learn how chrome puts the "stainless" in stainless steel. Find out how stainless steel flatware is manufactured and explore the iconic, shimmering art deco dome of the Chrysler Building. Finally, a Colorado artist will show viewers how he rescues old chrome car bumpers from the scrap yard and transforms them.
Season 17History | History | Rent or Buy
S17 E01Jan 17, 2012
Mega Stores Jan 17, 2012 The colossal cornerstones of commerce. Oversized outfitters. Merchandise Moguls. Mega Stores are giant facilities engineered to keep up with America's supersized habits. They are the largest, busiest places in the country. Their greatest challenge: keeping up with demand on a massive scale, and to do it, they have everything from scuba divers to sandblasters. It's not what's on the shelves–it's what happens behind the scenes.
S17 E02Jan 31, 2012
Supersized Food Jan 31, 2012 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.
S17 E03Feb 7, 2012
Coin Operated II Feb 7, 2012 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?
S17 E04Feb 28, 2012
Engineering Disasters 22 Feb 28, 2012 They are catastrophic failures with deadly consequences. Caused by a single spark or a massive collapse, these disasters reveal one thing–the danger inherent in our most common industries. From a massive oil spill to refinery blaze to a downed plane, find out what went wrong… and how to prevent the next engineering disaster.
S17 E05Jul 17, 2012
Dogs Jul 17, 2012 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.
S17 E06Jul 24, 2012
Built to Last Jul 24, 2012 Enter the amazing and ingenious ultra-sturdy shelters, machines, containers, materials and packaging designed to deny the ruination of society. The drive to create the indestructible has inspired some of the most prolific and awe inspiring results: The Cold War spawned personal bomb shelters in the 1950s. They weren't truly safe and secure, but today's 21st century version will last a millennium. And so will the special food you can get, along with all the comforts of home–like running water, plumbing and electricity. Caskets serve as our final resting place, but how long do they really last? Investigate how valuable data from a plane crash survives in a "black box" (that's not really black), to explain what might have caused the accident. And get an intimate look at the new "home" that protects and preserves one of the world's most valuable documents–the case that houses the original Declaration of Independence.
Season 18History | History | Rent or Buy
S18 E01Oct 4, 2011
Inside Your Walls Oct 4, 2011 Don't look now–but there's a lot more to your walls than you'd ever imagine. Take a penetrating look inside something we consider utterly mundane, and uncover a surprising and sometimes shocking world. A computer-managed home in Colorado showcases the high tech gadgetry destined to inhabit every wall in the future. At the headquarters of Orkin in Atlanta, a network of walls with cutouts and Plexiglas windows reveal how pests and creepy crawlies of all kinds can congregate in huge numbers inside our homes. In Washington, scientists at Underwriters Labs play with fire in the name of research, investigating how our walls can keep us safe–or expose us to a fiery death. And in Los Angeles, a security company demonstrates innovative new technology that can "see" through walls–detecting motion, heat, breathing, even heartbeats.
S18 E02Oct 11, 2011
Built by Hand Oct 11, 2011 We live in a highly mechanized world in which billions of products are made by machines–but there are some things that can be built only by using an even more sophisticated tool–the human hand. In New Mexico, a pilot who builds his own jet-powered glider takes to the skies–his very life depending on his handiwork. Canoe makers in Montana, and a knife maker in Washington, handcraft items so unique that customers are willing to pay significantly higher prices than if they were machine made. In the farmlands of Central California, craftsmen keep alive the ancient art of weapon making–see their gleaming suits of armor in action, as weekend warriors do battle. Ever wonder how those impressive animal skeletons in museums are constructed? The artists of Skulls International in Oklahoma City share their secrets. And in Hollywood, the Chiodo brothers reveal how handmade special effects have a charm and character that today's computer animators can't duplicate.
S18 E03Oct 25, 2011
Swamp Tech Oct 25, 2011 It's a great American wilderness–millions of acres of wild, primeval land with its own people, its own technology…and its own rules. Survival there depends on smarts and science, guts and grueling work…and a unique approach to one of the world's most uncompromising environments–swamps. Watch an assembly of the distinctive airboat, then hop on board for a breathtaking journey and discover the surprising history behind this swamp staple of transportation. Take a wild ride on a big-tired swamp buggy, and taste test some local delicacies that bring new meaning to "acquired taste." Witness a massive engineering project to divert the mighty Mississippi River, and meet the machines that make that job possible. Plus come face to face, literally, with enormous pythons and menacing alligators.
S18 E04Nov 8, 2011
Pocket Tools Nov 8, 2011 Teddy Roosevelt carried a revolver. The night they each died, Abraham Lincoln carried a $5 Confederate note and nine newspaper clippings, while John Wilkes Booth carried a candle and pictures of five women, including his fianc e. Why? Most people don't even think about it anymore. We simply put what we were carrying yesterday, and the day before that, back into our pockets. Do we really need everything we carry with us? In this hour we will take a look at the items we found in peoples' pockets all across America. Not cell phones, which everybody has, but more intimate items. Personal things…both valuable and cheap. Work aids…both simple and high-tech. Even food! And we'll not only see what they must have in their possession, but how some of it is made. Why does a search and rescue fireman carry a hockey puck? We'll also discover how they make and carry a "personal escape" bailout system.
S18 E05Nov 15, 2011
Food Trucks Nov 15, 2011 Food Trucks are hitting the big time–across much of America, they're changing the way we eat. From humble beginnings as chuck wagons and hot dog carts, they've taken off as ethnic eateries, gourmet specialists, and even high-tech mega trucks that serve thousands at disaster scenes. Not surprisingly, it takes some pretty sophisticated engineering to make it all work–and turn a truck into a kitchen on wheels.
S18 E06Nov 29, 2011
Weird Machines Nov 29, 2011 It has been said that necessity is the mother of all invention–but that is not always the case. Some strange machines are built for sheer spectacle, some a glimpse into the future or even the past, while others are just plain…Weird. Take a look at machines that specialize in high functionality and low practicality, prompting two very important questions: What is it and…how do I get one? An Alaskan navigates the Juneau waters with his homemade submarine. A California company shocks local beach bums with their fully submersible "shark boats." We'll also meet a bicep-curling robot that's built to save lives; scale a mountain with a 21st century Batman-esque rope ascender; witness an engineered, forty-foot vortex of fire known as the Flame Tornado; and hit the backcountry trails with a snowboard-motorcycle hybrid inspired by a shopping cart.
S18 E07Dec 6, 2011
More Candy Dec 6, 2011 Candy is America's sweetest guilty pleasure–so appealing that we spend $25 billion annually to experience it. Our cameras venture from Chicago to Santa Cruz, California to show you that behind every delicious bite is a fascinating story of imagination and innovation. Fourth-generation candy makers Nick and Gino Marini reveal how they're redefining the limits of confectioneering with their latest sensation…chocolate-covered bacon. The crew that makes the iconic red and white Starlight Mints demonstrates how they give each piece its trademark color pattern. As your mouth waters throughout the hour, you'll also discover they key ingredient that gives Lemonheads their sour punch…and the surprising substance that puts the polish on Mike and Ikes. And you'll be shocked to learn how little sugar is in cotton candy.
Season 19Rent or Buy
S19 E01Jul 17, 2012
Mega Speed Countdown Jul 17, 2012 Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition: Speed. It's a pure adrenaline rush as we race the top 10 fastest marvels we've featured down to the speediest of all.
S19 E02Jul 24, 2012
Mega Machine Countdown Jul 24, 2012 Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition: Awe-Inspiring Machines–featuring the top ten mightiest, strangest, and most unique innovations from our archives.
S19 E03Jul 31, 2012
Mega Weapon Countdown Jul 31, 2012 Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition: Amazing Weapons. They're every arsenal's best asset and every enemy's worst nightmare and we're counting them down to the most amazing weapon of all.
S19 E04Aug 28, 2012
Mega Food Countdown Aug 28, 2012 Modern Marvels is going big, and counting down. We take the "best of" Modern Marvels and give you the MEGA Top 10 countdown. On this edition, the top ten guilty pleasures you just can't resist… America's Favorite Foods.
S19 E05Sep 8, 2013
Mega Snack Countdown Sep 8, 2013 The only thing harder than resisting our favorite snacks is ranking them. But this special episode of Modern Marvels counts down the top ten lip-smacking treats Americans love most. We raid the pantry–and our rich archives–showcasing the indulgently decadent, the heart-healthy, and the wildly delicious spectrum of grab-and-go delights in between. It's a nationwide culinary journey leading to our number 1 choice–a snack so irresistible that Americans consume almost half the world's supply.
S19 E06Sep 15, 2013
Super Strong Countdown Sep 15, 2013 America has always prided itself on its technological strength–and this countdown embarks on an odyssey featuring the strongest of the strong. Whether they lift, pull, hold or haul, every heavy-duty titan among our top ten choices has the muscle to reshape our world. Our contenders take our cameras on land, sea and air as they push the limits of power and endurance beyond the imaginable. And our choice at number 1 pulses with so much strength it could destroy our other nine finalists with one push of a button.
S19 E07Sep 22, 2013
Amazing Job Countdown Sep 22, 2013 The variety of jobs in America is endless–but some have to be seen to be believed. Our countdown of the top ten most fascinating jobs from our archives proves how daring and innovative the American worker can be. A nationwide quest finds amazing jobholders in the wild blue yonder and the depths of a secret underworld…in occupations ranging from the daffy to the dangerous to the downright creepy. And at the end of our journey, we find two business partners performing a job so perilous that one misstep can be deadly.