Episode Guide

Season 1

Episode Guide

Shock and Awe

S1 E1
Jun 14, 2015
What was Edison's controversial role in the invention of the electric chair? What's the little-known link between the Civil War and the Ouija board, or stockings and roller coasters? And how did an explosive guilt trip lead to the birth of the Nobel Peace Prize? We explore four chilling inventions, and reveal the stories of the inventors whose million-dollar ideas shook the world and created legacies still with us today.

The Vision Thing

S1 E2
Jun 21, 2015
They were four inventors who had extraordinary vision, and their innovations would change the way we looked at the world and the universe beyond it. In this episode, we show how a patent office worker's arthritis led to the photocopier, and a workplace revolution. We follow the pursuit to launch astronomer Lyman Spitzer's invention, the Hubble Space Telescope, into orbit, and the history books. We also meet the rally driver who gave us the speed camera, and tell the little-known story of the inventor of television: a 14-year-old farm boy.

Criminal Riches

S1 E3
Jun 28, 2015
How did one man's invention to save soldiers' lives set off an American crime wave? Which common household appliance first existed as a flattened chicken bone adorned with animal hair? And what's the connection between burglar alarms and the literary team of Holmes and Watson? We explore the origins of four inventions with criminal ties: the Tommy Gun, the home alarm, cash registers, and the toothbrush meet the brilliant minds willing to do anything to bring their innovations to the world.

Danger Magnets

S1 E4
Jul 05, 2015
They were four inventors who made lives safer for firefighters and police officers, surgery more comfortable for patients, and dreams of flying a reality for thrill- seekers. But before their revolutionary ideas of lightweight body armor, firefighter masks, modern anesthesia, and the wingsuit could be approved, they needed to be put to a life-and-death field test. Meet the men who set out to get rich or die trying, as we celebrate pioneers whose high-risk, high-reward innovations changed the world, and made millions.

Need for Speed

S1 E5
Jul 12, 2015
What's the relation between a World War II fighter jet and the baby stroller? A Joseph Pulitzer challenge and the evolution of air travel? A heated argument and the invention of vulcanized rubber? A running shoe and a waffle iron? Unlikely inspirations, fortunate accidents, and unwavering dedication highlight the stories of four innovations that transformed transportation and ushered in the modern age. We reveal what brought these amazing ideas to life, and made billions...though not always for the inventor himself.

Life and Death

S1 E6
Jul 19, 2015
Was a new invention's ability to save a dying president thwarted by a coil-spring mattress? Did one of the greatest medical innovations of the 20th century come from a simple radio enthusiast? Could a seed-planting device really be the inspiration for one of the military's deadliest weapons? And can you believe the futuristic 3D printer is actually 30 years old? We reveal the true stories behind four inventions that made history, made millions for their creators, and impacted humanity for good and bad.

Guns and Goldmines

S1 E7
Jul 26, 2015
What does a ship steering wheel have to do with the Colt revolver? What 400-year-old secret is the cymbal hiding? What is the link between the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and Bank of America? And what is the untold story of the creation of Monopoly? We explore four multimillion-dollar inventions, and meet the people who changed the world with the barrel of a gun, an ancient riddle, selfless customer service, and a lucky roll of the dice.

The Little Guy

S1 E8
Aug 02, 2015
They were little guys with big ideas, who started out with nothing, gave everything, and created something that changed the world, and their lives, forever. Discover the stories behind the inventions of the Lego brick, the intermittent windshield wiper, Madam C.J. Walker's hair supplies, and the smiley face. These incredible tales involve a child of slaves who defied prejudice, an engineer who fought a 30-year legal battle against the automotive industry, a designer who created a cultural icon for a $45 paycheck, and more.