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Modern Marvels

Modern Marvels

The longest running series on the history of technology, Modern Marvels covers some of the world s most amazing architectural and engineering structures, scientific discoveries and social wonders. These are the stories of the visionaries who believed in their dreams and defied the commonplace with their extraordinary creations.

Rock Crawlers
Tootsie Rolls
Surfboard Tech
Television Takes the World By Storm
Three Things You Didn't Know About: Cheese
Stuttering Damage Helps Thousands


Learn how the art-deco Chrysler building became the world's first skyscraper topped with stainless steel and chrome.
Mega Snacks Countdown
This episode counts down the top ten lip-smacking treats. 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.
Mega Food Countdown
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.
You know the old saying 'dull as dirt'...wrong! In Las Vegas, see how thousands of tons of dirt transform a stadium into a Supercross course. Then, join in the down and dirty fun of mud wrestling.
Mega Machine Countdown
Awe-Inspiring Machines - featuring the top ten mightiest, strangest, and most unique innovations from our archives.
Strangest Countdown
This episode kisses the conventional goodbye, scratching heads at the weird oddities. Our choice at number 1 is a devise so destructive that its inventor allegedly destroyed it to avert a catastrophe.
Super Ships
The Scripps Institution of Oceanography takes viewers out to sea to witness their FLIP research vessel flipping a full 90 degrees, sinking over three quarters of its 355 foot length.
Mega Speed Countdown
Speed. It's a pure adrenaline rush as we race the top 10 fastest marvels we've featured down to the speediest of all.
Amazing Job Countdown
The countdown of the top ten most fascinating jobs proves how daring and amazing the American worker can be. A quest finds jobholders in occupations ranging from the daffy to the downright creepy.
Mega Weapon Countdown
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.
Super Strong Countdown
This countdown episode embarks on an odyssey featuring the strongest of the strong. Our choice at number 1 pulses with so much strength it could destroy our other nine finalists with one push of a button.
Amazing Gadget Countdown
This episode goes gaga over gizmos, celebrating the most amazing gadgets featured. Our number 1 pick: a household gadget reinvented so many times that it's inspired more than 4,500 unique patents.
Explore efforts to save the giant blue fin tuna, which has been 'over-fished' to a point of peril. And check out a tuna farm, which may be the future for this powerful and highly evolved master of the sea.
Hottest Rides Countdown
For this countdown special, we're buckling up and punching it for the hottest rides we've ever presented. Our number 1 choice: a ride so hot that one passionate owner applied for a license to marry it.
Mega Meals
Modern Marvels: Mega Meals, explores the complex logistics behind creating feasts for the largest and most ravenous crowds.
Winter Tech
This episode takes you behind the scenes of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter games. Olympic organizers race against time to build venues, expand transportation, and add futuristic touches to the torch.
Man's best friend -- fearless, faithful, determined and swift. From natural instincts to complex training, see what makes dogs a perfectly engineered Modern Marvel.
Battle Ready
U.S. soldiers today face huge challenges. Keeping them protected is priority number one and the military is making enormous leaps in devising a wide array of high-tech equipment to protect today's soldier.
Built By Hand
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.
Food Trucks
From humble beginnings as chuck wagons and hot dog carts, Food Trucks have taken off as ethnic eateries, gourmet specialists, and even high-tech mega trucks that serve thousands at disaster scenes.
Inside Your Walls
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.
We fight against ferocious weather and floods with state-of-the-art roofing, wraps, tunnels, boats, and much more... devising extreme tests to probe the limits of our modern waterproof technology.
Weird Machines
Some strange machines are built for sheer spectacle, some a glimpse into the past or future, while others are just weird. Take a look at machines that specialize in high functionality and low practicality.
What's In Your Pocket
We simply put what we were carrying yesterday and the day before that, back into our pockets. But do we need everything we carry with us? In this episode, we ask the question: IS THAT A.. IN YOUR POCKET?
Corrosion & Decomposition
Learn how a company in Missouri uses a trench-less technology to rebuild corroded sewer pipes and discover how the tiny termite is teaching us to turn agricultural waste into ethanol at a minimal cost.
Hundreds of years before steel and plastic, wood was the building block of America. From the historical, to the modern, to the timeless, we explore the surprising ways we cannot live without WOOD.
Cold Cuts
Modern Marvels will construct exotic cold cuts made of pig head parts and livers, make the cut with the best meat slicers, past and present and see how to make turkey out of tofu.
Visit some of the world's finest distilleries to see how each country brews whiskey. Jack Daniels tells the secret of charcoal filtering and the art of blending is revealed at Canadian Club Whiskey.
The world is full of stink and we've spent centuries battling the funk. So how do we deal with these horrific odors? Hold your breath because these sensational stories are going to STINK!
Under Pressure
Every aspect of our lives involves pressure. But when pressure suddenly changes, you better look out! Rapid pressure changes can be as violent as explosions. And what is variable atmospheric pressure?
Learn how color, pattern and surface finish are major considerations in choosing a stone, mine iron ore and watch it turned into steel and finally, see how heat is harnessed from rocks deep in the earth.
To understand the physics that make the axe a dangerous and efficient cutting tool, we'll examine the technique of competitive lumberjacks as they chop through 12-inch logs in a matter of seconds.
Tiny Weapons
Many of today's most effective weapons are smaller. They can fit in your pocket, fly through the air and break through walls. Tiny weapons are necessary for battle, self-defense, and spreading terror.
Extreme Aircraft II
Extreme flying machines are redefining our skies. Micro Air Vehicles are so small they eject out of a backpack. For travellers, the capable Personal Aerial Vehicles may be the key to their commuting needs.
It's a wonder that three simple ingredients, flour, water and salt, can be transformed into so many different shapes and tastes. From baguettes to pita, every culture finds a way to make it and bake it.
The Turkey
From the moment a baby turkey pecks through its shell to the factory that transforms turkey guts into crude oil, we'll see a world few have ever seen. It's an up-close look at the feisty fowl.
Alaskan Fishing
Captain Scott takes us inside the amazing ultra-modern world of high stakes commercial fishing where a wrong decision on his part can cost not just the season's catch, but also the lives of his crew.
Swamp Tech
Watch an assembly of the distinctive airboat and discover the surprising history behind this swamp staple of transportation. Also, witness a massive engineering project to divert the Mississippi River.
Discover how acid can be mixed to dissolve metal and how it helps put the gel in gelatin. Go extreme as we learn how an acid loving bacteria may hold the key to a biological industrial revolution.
Traps are necessary to the survival of a species. Head underwater to see how giant screw traps count salmon on the river and see a high tech version man trap that any James Bond villain would lust after.
The Real National Treasure
The U.S. Library of Congress is a library unlike any other in the world. A staff of 4000 librarians catalogues and preserves treasures, and distributes them globally via a new World Digital Library.
The Real National Treasure
The U.S. Library of Congress is a library unlike any other in the world. A staff of 4000 librarians catalogues and preserves treasures, and distributes them globally via a new World Digital Library.
Pirate Tech
Pirates have terrorized the high seas since before recorded history. We will visit shipwreck sites, utilize demonstrations of weapons and navigation instruments to help spotlight the innovations.
The Supermarket
Our desire for food has made the supermarket a success story for modern retailing. We'll explore the psychology of the supermarket including store layout, lighting and aromas that trigger the appetite.
Breakfast Tech
See how technology makes it possible for chefs to make breakfast for sailors, watch oranges get squeezed at Sunkist Orange Juice Factory and tour McDonald's factory to see the McGriddle being made.
Barbarian Battle Tech
When it came to waging battle, barbarians were as savvy as the Roman Empire. During the Age of Iron, they forged their way to becoming renowned metal workers and sword smiths.
They have the sharpest teeth known to man, but bite on command. They brought down the forests and built up the pyramids. With teeth of steel, carbide or diamond, the blades on SAWS are on the cutting edge.
See giant-sized vacuums that clean up after disasters. Discover how vacuum tubes functioned like an early internet, delivering mail speedily. Finally we reveal how the household sweeper was invented.
See giant-sized vacuums that clean up after disasters. Discover how vacuum tubes functioned like an early internet, delivering mail speedily. Finally we reveal how the household sweeper was invented.
Water is one of the most precious resources and it can also be one of the most destructive forces. Whether it is trapped in a glacier or cascading down a waterfall, there is a mystery to what water does.
Sticky Stuff
Come revel in the oozing, seeping mystery of a sticky rubber that lets an athlete climb a stone wall; or a roll of tape so strong it sticks together skyscrapers, even in winds of 240 MPH.
It makes our lawns grow greener and our crops grow taller. Without it, America just wouldn't be the same.
The pump is undoubtedly one of the world's most pervasive technologies. Yet because its pumping action is hidden beneath a metal skin, it goes largely unnoticed - until now.
It clinks in our glasses, clogs the frigid seas and carves majestic landscapes. Ice has played a key role in fashioning our history and is making its mark as an unusual tool of technology.
From Bell's creation to today's high-speed wireless networks, we'll look into the past, present and future of the telephone. Also, witness a demonstration of how easy it can be to illegally tap your phone.
From fine print to big business, this ancient substance has written its way into history. It's ink and it's everywhere - in the home, in the office, outside, inside. Simply put, ink conveys the message.
From snooty fromage to good ole cheez whiz, people can't get enough. And is there any scientific basis for our obsession with putting cheese in mouse traps?
70s Tech
In the 1970s consumer electronics got huge, and the size of calculators got small. Learn how the technology behind the Speak & Spell ended up in our cell phones and automobiles.
Dams block the force of a river with tons of concrete, and produce enough electricity to power cities. With the exception of the Great Wall of China, dams are the largest structures ever built.
World's Sharpest
These are the legendary blade of the samurai warrior, knives that can devour entire trees to wood chips in seconds, and the precise slicing power of laser and plasma.
We explore the development, technology and performance of balls as they spin through our lives, bouncing evenly, spiraling tightly, and careening off our feet, racquets and clubs in predictable ways.
An average American consumes 12 pounds of chocolate per year. But most people don't think about where it comes from. We will take the audience through the whole complicated chocolate making process.
Environmental Tech II
Install a rooftop wind turbine with Jay Leno, ride in a car that runs on air, get pulled by a kite on a cargo ship, and see how everyone can go green with the flick of a switch.
Most Shocking
In this episode, explore the ways that electric shocks occur, watch as daring electric linesmen climb onto volt power lines 200 feet above the air and recount what it's like to take a million volt blast.
Fast Food Tech
Explore the future of getting our fast food even faster. See how they grow it, process it, freeze it, ship it, track it, fry it, flip it and pack it...all so we can eat it.
Carbon is the foundation of modern technology. Watch how carbon fiber, a material stronger than steel and lighter than fiberglass, is made into the fuselage of a new Boeing 787.
Visit a farm with a milking parlor, find out about pasteurization at a processing plant, and see how a specialty foods manufacturer converts raw milk into tanker loads of sweetened condensed milk.
World's Strongest III
Discover the world's strongest tire, see the world's strongest land transport vehicle that carries the Space Shuttle, and finally chop a telephone into dust with the biggest and strongest home blender.
Gadgets 3
Explore the trends in gadgets, meet a gadget collector who's turned his home into a gadget museum and visit basement inventors who have developed everything from an iron to smart appliances.
Ice Cream
From the gelato of Italy, to the French Pot process of the 1800s, to the numerous assortments of frozen delights being served up today, learn the history of this delicious dessert.
Strange Weapons
Discover rays that make the enemy flee when they feel the heat. Examine ancient weapons that include a cutlery set containing pistols and Ninja hand claws that would put the X-Men's Wolverine to shame.
Explore the vast mines where heavy machinery extracts and refines lead. How can a metal as dark as lead make lead crystal not only sparkle, but manage to stay transparent?
Bathroom Tech II
Bathroom is the room where we prepare for the day or wash off the day that was. We'll see how sinks are manufactured and learn about the engineering behind the alternatives for showers and toilets.
Discover breakthroughs that could make professional auto racing safer, study two-wheeled accidents in detail at a motorcycle crash test facility and learn the developments in cycle survival gear.
Secrets Of Oil
Rubber, plastic, nylon, aerosols, resins, solvents, lubricants: none can exist without oil. Go back in time to see how these were discovered.
From the spear, axe, and sword to today's high tech arsenal, iron weapons have revolutionized warfare. Learn how military-metallurgists create the latest weapons and demonstrate their firepower.
Dangerous Roads
Ride down to the Federal Highway Administration's test laboratory to see what's being done to make roads safer in the US, and see how driving in some countries can be a chaotic nightmare.
Soft Drinks
They account for nearly 30% of all beverages consumed in the U.S. With a century's worth of history, Modern Marvels deconstructs this familiar drink.
Mold & Fungus
Fungus is definitely among us. Learn about various fungal organisms: Those that live within our bodies, float in the air we breathe, and help create some of the foods and beverages we consume.
Car Wash
From tunnel systems to in-bay automatics, go beyond the suds to see how car washes are built to clean. Also learn how car manufacturers design and build vehicles to survive the car wash.
Measure It
Learn the untold story of the five most common areas of measurement in our everyday lives: distance, time, speed, weight, and temperature.
Super Human
Discover how technology can give us super powers. Learn how wing-suited experts glide through the sky. Then see how engineers have invented a device to help us glide through the water.
From the ejection seats in jet fighters to airlocks in laboratories, explore the ins and outs of the ways we enter and exit.
The Egg
Each year in the U.S., 280 million hens lay 80 billion eggs. See how powdered eggs get made and what happens to the billions of whites and yolks that go their separate ways.
Start To Finish
Every process is an unique adventure. Whether it's the fiery birth of high tech golf clubs or the cataclysmic collapse of old buildings, history races from Start to Finish to capture each Modern Marvel.
Deliver It
Got something strange to deliver? We'll head down the highway carrying gigantic wind turbine blades. And we'll deliver luxury yachts aboard a submersible carrier ship.
Big & Small
Size does matter. Hold a race between a huge Boss Hoss 425 horsepower motorcycle and an 18 inch tall pocket bike, and take the smallest production car for a ride.
Breaking Point
We'll crash cars and trucks at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to find their breaking points, and to find the breaking points of the crash dummies inside.
Keep Out
Challenge the safecracker to defeat a bank vault, and see the methods a bank uses to protect its money and tellers. Next, find out how a government plans to keep people away from a nuclear waste site.
Super Steam
In northern Nevada, fire up a coal burning boiler and get an old steam locomotive chugging across the landscape. Then, in New York City, find out why manmade steam surges into some of the skyscrapers.
Top Ten
MODERN MARVELS counts down its list of the top ten technological innovations of the last generation. Have they made human existence exponentially better, or more fragmented and precarious?
Secret Underground
Take a revealing look at the America under our feet, from secret military installations, and experimental farms to tunnel networks and neutron lasers.
Supersized Food
Explore how America has super-sized everything. Discover the largest everyday offerings of gargantuan portions, from the biggest stacked burger to a 72-ounce steak and the seven-pound hot dog bun.
Most Dangerous
Discover that the deadliest snakes, sports and weather events are closer and more treacherous than you think. Travel to the slopes of Mt. Rainier and find out why 100,000 people could be in trouble.
More Ice
It plummets from the summer sky and traps a treasure of energy on the ocean floor. Ice is a frozen wonder as delightful as it is dangerous.
American Trucking
America would come to a standstill without trucks. Trucks transport a 70 percent of all the nation's goods. Explore the diverse world of American trucks and the colorful men and women who drive them.
World's Biggest Machines 5
Visit the world's biggest wind tunnel, NASA's Vertical Motion Simulator. Ride on the biggest observation wheel in the world, the London Eye. And finally, take a ride on every lawn tender's dream machine.
Survival in Alaska requires an array of technological innovations. From buildings to highways, brutal winters to bug-infested summers, this unforgiving landscape demands creative work-arounds.
Wiring America
Electrical linemen are part of an army of modern day technicians who we'll ride with and climb with. They risk their lives so that we can have the electric power and the 21st century communications.
Spark up the torches and get an inside look at how welding has helped to create the world we live in and how it continues to shape the future.
Glue's sticky trajectory spans human history and we'll cover it all from Neolithic cave dwellers who used animal glue to decorate ceremonial skulls to modern everyday glues and their uses.
Snack Food Tech
Visit Utz Quality Foods in Pennsylvania, that produces more than one million pounds of chips per week. Next, focus on the candy manufacturer, Masterfoods USA, which makes Snickers, Mars, and M&Ms.
The Basement
Venture down that staircase to explore the most misunderstood room in the house! Ruins of homes at Pompeii reveal the importance of basements in providing both heat and storage for rich Roman families.
Atlantic Wall
Explore the Atlantic Wall, 3000 miles of shore fortifications along occupied European coastline. Learn about the logistics of construction, and the types of fortifications in the wall used by the Germans.
Oil Fire Fighting
When a burning gusher shoots flames into the air, only a handful of men know how to snuff out the monster. The modern world depends on these risk takers, but their industry began less than 100 years ago.
80's Tech
Remember all the new and exciting gadgets of the 1980s? It was the transition from the industrial age to the information age. A digital decade dedicated to ergonomics and entertainment.
The Alcan Highway
Travel back to 1942 to witness an unrivaled engineering feat that took 11,000 soldiers, nearly 4,000 of them black, only 8 months to build the 1,522-mile long Alaska Highway.
Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam, Egypt's First Prime Minister's ambitious plan to harness the flow of the world's longest river - the Nile. We explore how it affects Egypt socially, politically, culturally, and agriculturally.
Trace the origins of this tasty drink from Ethiopia over 1,000 years ago to the espresso-fueled explosion of specialty coffee stores like Starbucks today
Bathroom Tech
From tub to toilet to toothpaste, we tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the most used and least discussed room in the house - the bathroom
Modern technology revolutionized the way banks do business, and the Internet ensures that they must adapt. From banking's early European origins to e-banking, this is an hour you can't afford to miss!
Wheat feeds the world. Join Modern Marvels as we learn how wheat is harvested, pasta is made and how to turn wheat into beer.
It Came From Outerspace
What do firefighting gear, sunglasses, and a sleeping bag have in common? They've all been improved by NASA! A journey of space travel technologies that have indispensable commercial applications.
Mad Electricity
More than 100 years ago Tesla foresaw the need for alternative energies like geothermal and solar. Nikola Tesla's bizarre vision of the future brought him failure, but his genius electrified the world.
Zip through France at nearly 300 MPH on the TGV, ride on the little engines as they guide giant ships through the Panama Canal, watch two locomotives crash head-on on Modern Marvels.
Super Hot
Explore the world of extreme temperatures. See what happens to Pyroman, as he is exposed to over 3,000 degrees F. Follow geologists as they take lava samples from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii.
Retro Tech
Take a trip down memory lane as we revisit the remnants of gadgets past, such as a typewriter, analogue TV and brick-sized mobile phones. In this episode, find out how more advanced tech superseded them.
Environmental Tech
Follow us as we see the 21st Century's 'green' technologies in action. We'll see how human ingenuity takes on our most daunting environmental crises, from global warming to nuclear waste.
Built To Last
For centuries, man has strived to defy both natural and man-made disasters by creating stronger, more long lasting shelters, machines, containers, materials and packaging to help defy the test of time.
World's Biggest Machines 1
Join us for a look at the biggest, heaviest, tallest, longest, meanest machines on the planet! See what these monsters do and how they operate, and how they're designed and assembled.
World's Biggest Machines 3
Giant, flame-breathing robots and a diesel engine with 108,000 horsepower. In this episode, we travel over land and sea to find more of the biggest, baddest, and most audacious feats of engineering.
Made In The USA
In the last twenty years, the 'Made in America' tag began to fade, as the manufacturing landscape of industry went overseas. So what is still MADE IN THE USA?
Ropes & Chains
Learn from a company that trains high-flying workers who depend on rope to do their jobs safely. From parachute cord to fine jewelry to anchor chains, discover the many uses of Ropes & Chains.
Mega Stores
The colossal cornerstone of commerce, giant facilities are engineered to keep up with today's supersize habits. Bigger is definitely better!
Engineering Disasters 22
From a massive oil spill to a refinery blaze and a downed plane, find out what went wrong and how they can be prevented.
Deep into the places most people never see, grease is keeping the world in motion. Discover how its made, its uses and its advances.
From everyday bubble wrap to shipping NASA robots into space, find out the astounding technology and ingenuity required in packaging.
Driver's Seat
Do you have what it takes to get behind the wheel of some of the largest, fastest, most powerful machines on the planet?
Coin Operated II
Coins are all over the world and used in many ways. The question is: for how long more? Coin Operated II picks up from where Coin Operated left off.
More Candy
Candy is America's sweetest guilty pleasure, and behind every delicious bite lies a fascinating story of imagination and innovation.