Modern Marvels

The BEST episodes of Modern Marvels

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination brought to life on a grand scale, MODERN MARVELS tells the fascinating stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who created everyday items, technological breakthroughs and man-made wonders.

Last Updated: 6/21/2022Network: History
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Hoover Dam
star
9.69
32 votes

#1 - Hoover Dam

Season 6 - Episode 29 - Aired 7/12/1999

By any measure, it was a daunting task to tame the Colorado River, the waterway that had carved out the Grand Canyon. To make things worse, the site chosen was in the middle of the desert, far removed from any towns or infrastructure. This episode ventures into the Southwestern Desert to tell the complete story of one of the seven engineering wonders of the world -- Hoover Dam. See incredible footage that documents every step of the monumental work of taming the Colorado to provide water and power to California, Nevada and Arizona. From the blueprints to reality, this is the story of the ingenuity and manpower that literally moved a river and sculpted a mountain of concrete. That it was completed in only seven years is all the more remarkable.

Watch Now:Amazon
Oil
star
9.00
5 votes

#2 - Oil

Season 3 - Episode 7 - Aired 11/9/1995

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.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Railroads That Tamed the West
star
8.67
3 votes

#3 - The Railroads That Tamed the West

Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired 2/4/1996

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.

Watch Now:Amazon
Bathroom Tech (2)
star
8.67
3 votes

#4 - Bathroom Tech (2)

Season 15 - Episode 20 - Aired 6/30/2008

The most used room in the home is the bathroom and it's full of tech. Visit Kohler and see the new digitally controlled uber-shower, complete with steam, music and LED chromatherapy. Check out American Standard's Champion 4--the supposedly "uncloggable" toilet. Learn all about the low-flow alternatives for showers and toilets. Touch-free fixtures and a futuristic toilet from Japan ensure a more hygienic restroom experience. Finally, what is New York City's latest hi-tech solution for going on the go?

Watch Now:Amazon
Carbon
star
8.60
5 votes

#5 - Carbon

Season 15 - Episode 2 - Aired 1/14/2008

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.

Watch Now:Amazon
Dynamite
star
8.50
4 votes

#6 - Dynamite

Season 6 - Episode 27 - Aired 6/21/1999

Join us for a highly charged hour as we see why Alfred Nobel's invention of dynamite took on earthshattering dimensions as his product blasted out the natural resources that built our modern world. We also examine its impact on construction of the roads, tunnels, and dams that provide us with energy and transportation

Watch Now:Amazon
The Phonograph
star
8.50
2 votes

#7 - The Phonograph

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired 9/1/1997

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.

Watch Now:iTunes
World's Strongest (3)
star
8.38
8 votes

#8 - World's Strongest (3)

Season 15 - Episode 5 - Aired 3/6/2008

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.

Watch Now:Amazon
New York Subways
star
8.33
3 votes

#9 - New York Subways

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired 1/6/1999

New York subway system's riders, workers and street performers make it a microcosm of city life.

Directors: Carl Schultz
Newspapers
star
8.33
3 votes

#10 - Newspapers

Season 6 - Episode 35 - Aired 8/31/1999

Since the 15th century, man has sated his hunger for information with newspapers. Their form has varied over the centuries, and their content adjusted to the changing desires of their readers (or publishers? whims), but until very recently, they seemed likely to be a vital part of human society forever. But as this episode shows, that future may be in doubt. The growing influence of the computer age and the widespread availability of instant information may eventually render the newspaper obsolete. Of course, we?re a long way from that day, and as this video proves, the daily news has survived much in the past.

Watch Now:Amazon
Inventions of War
star
8.33
3 votes

#11 - Inventions of War

Season 7 - Episode 39 - Aired 12/12/2000

Arising from the horrible carnage, deprivation, and suffering caused by war is a countless array of everyday items--from hairbrushes to microwaves--that directly descend from wartime innovations. Wartime research and development have revolutionized communication, transportation, and medicine. From Spam to nuclear power to hairspray and cell phones, life as we know it ironically owes a lot to war. We'll follow the day-to-day life of an ordinary woman and see the influence of war on her life.

Watch Now:Amazon
Rocks
star
8.25
4 votes

#12 - Rocks

Season 14 - Episode 41 - Aired 12/3/2007

From the Stone Age, to the Space Age, we've built our world from rocks. With moon rocks located at NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Watch Now:Amazon
Radar
star
8.22
9 votes

#13 - Radar

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired 9/21/1997

Examine the history of this landmark technology, from its role in the Allied victory in World War II, to its widespread use in air traffic control, ocean surveillance, astronomy, geology and meteorology.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Steam
star
8.20
5 votes

#14 - Steam

Season 16 - Episode 16 - Aired 5/27/2010

It's full steam ahead when we drop in at Jay Leno's garage as Jay fires up two of his classic steam cars and takes viewers for a couple of rides. Jay also shows off his 11-ton steam engine built in 1860, back when pigs had to be slaughtered to keep it lubricated. In northern Nevada, fire up a coal burning boiler and get a 100-year-old steam locomotive chugging across the rugged landscape. In New Orleans, board an authentic paddlewheel steamboat. Trek to the Southern California desert where geothermal steam rushes up from the ground and drives electricity producing turbines, powering over 300,000 homes. In New York City, find out why manmade steam surges into some of the world's most famous skyscrapers. Steam clean some very dirty machines, and do a little laundry, too. And ride a steam-driven carousel and play with some strange, steam-powered robots that are part of a movement called--what else--"steampunk."

Watch Now:Amazon
Mad Electricity
star
8.17
6 votes

#15 - Mad Electricity

Season 15 - Episode 13 - Aired 5/14/2008

Nikola Tesla's bizarre vision of the future brought him failure, but his genius electrified the world.

Watch Now:Amazon
Eiffel Tower
star
8.14
7 votes

#16 - Eiffel Tower

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired 1/22/1995

This episode of Modern Marvels provides an historical tour of Paris's Eiffel Tower. Completed in 1889, the Eiffel Tower remains a symbolic icon of France's history and the industrial age. Modern Marvels takes you on a tour of this world famous monument from its inception to the present day.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Future of Food
star
8.10
10 votes

#17 - The Future of Food

Season 20 - Episode 6 - Aired 3/28/2021

Adam Richman travels through time to uncover: the Future of Food! With special security clearance to a U.S. Army lab we get a glimpse into the cutting-edge food research that's taking a quantum leap into the future. At Impossible Foods, we make a delicious discovery and learn why it's not impossible for plants to look, taste and even bleed like meat. Plus, science fiction becomes fact when we see food grilled and served by robots, food made to last for years, and food made to be eaten in Earth's upper atmosphere. The future of food is here and it's tasty!

Watch Now:Amazon
The Panama Canal
star
8.08
13 votes

#18 - The Panama Canal

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired 3/12/1995

Part of Teddy Roosevelt’s dream of making America a global power was realized through the construction of the Panama Canal. The French began construction in 1880 but nine years and 20,000 lives later they realized their plans were flawed and abandoned the project. In 1904, construction resumed under American supervision. First, they controlled the diseases that had claimed so many construction workers’ lives. Then they developed an innovative design for a series of locks. Their dogged determination paid off when they united the oceans on January 7, 1914.

Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Air Force One: A History
star
8.00
3 votes

#19 - Air Force One: A History

Season 4 - Episode 7 - Aired 1/1/1997

Until the airplane soared on the scene, the President was mostly Washington-bound; then, in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt took to the sky! From FDR's custom-tailored prop plane to today's technological wonder, the program examines the evolution of the Oval Office in the Sky.

Directors: Robert Kirk
Watch Now:iTunes
Parachutes
star
8.00
4 votes

#20 - Parachutes

Season 6 - Episode 34 - Aired 8/23/1999

Venture back to the earliest days of aviation to see how the very first chutes were designed, made and used. Discover how, even during World War I, visionary commanders recognized the strategic possibilities of this life-saving tool--and set about using it for offensive purposes. See dramatic footage of some of the largest parachute jumps in history during World War II. Explore the growth of recreational jumping and see how it has sparked a new industry and spurred innumerable advances and refinements in parachute technology. Learn the previously top-secret stories of high-altitude jumps from the edge of space and see examples of parachutes from the days of silk and canvas to the high-tech, stunt chutes that daredevils use to wow audiences at airshows and exhibitions.

Watch Now:Amazon
Tower Bridge
star
8.00
3 votes

#21 - Tower Bridge

Season 7 - Episode 13 - Aired 5/25/2000

A look at London's Tower Bridge, a fine example of Victorian engineering and architecture that has attracted tourists since its inauguration on June 30, 1894, by Edward, the Prince of Wales.

Watch Now:Amazon
World Trade Center
star
8.00
5 votes

#22 - World Trade Center

Season 8 - Episode 20 - Aired 6/25/2001

For a time, its towers were the tallest buildings on Earth. The World Trade Center, an engineering marvel, came to symbolize American prosperity and strength. Recalling a more innocent era, this new production from The History Channel – filmed just months before the towers’ tragic demise – charts the history of their construction, revealing the controversies, decisions, and innovations that surrounded the project. Includes interviews with the engineers, architects, politicians, and contractors who dreamed, designed, and built the complex.

Watch Now:Amazon
Terror Tech: Defending the Highrise
star
8.00
2 votes

#23 - Terror Tech: Defending the Highrise

Season 10 - Episode 46 - Aired 8/12/2003

New technology counters the threat of terrorism.

Directors: Scott Paddor
The Doomsday Clock
star
8.00
3 votes

#24 - The Doomsday Clock

Season 12 - Episode 18 - Aired 4/7/2005

Scientists develop the Doomsday Clock as an image to symbolize urgency in the Cold War and the threat of nuclear disaster.

Mega Movers
star
8.00
3 votes

#25 - Mega Movers

Season 12 - Episode 21 - Aired 4/27/2005

Join us on two treacherous trips as we follow two separate structural moving families in their struggles to relocate and save a 100-year-old homestead and an 1890 Queen Anne Victorian house. In Colorado, a father and son have to fight fierce weather and the fragility of a purported haunted log cabin and decaying barn to move them two miles across a rugged mountainside. In Illinois, three generations of movers are pushed to their limit when they are hired to transport a 180-ton monster house across town. Will these historic homes reach their final resting places in one piece and find peace?