The electric chair was invented by a dentist, Dr. Albert Southwick. He got the idea for it when he saw a druck old man touch the terminals of an electric generator and died amazingly fast. He developed the first electric chair as a more modern and humane execution of condemed criminals, as opposed to hanging. Southwick based his project on the early testings of Thomas Edison. Edison began testing with generators and different currents; he used dogs and cats as his subjects. Through these experiments Edison's journals reported that he killed large numbers dogs and cats by leading them onto a metal plate charged by a one thousand volt generator.
Edwin R. Davis, an electrician in an Auburn prison, developed the electric chair first used in New York. It became the official execution of the State of New York. New York was the first state to adopt electricution as an official method of capital punishment. William Kemmler was the first person to be executed on the elctric chair. Kemmler was convicted of murdering Tillie Ziegler. His lawyer argued that the death by electricution was against his 8th ammendment rights (cruel and unusual punishment). The appeal failed and Kemmler's death was scheduled for August 6th of 1890. The execution was held in the basement of the Auburn prison with twenty-five witnesses present, fourteen of the witnesses were doctors.
As of Today there have been 4,459 executions done by means of electricution. The most recent execution by this method was Earl Bramblett on April 9th 2003 (Virginia).