“Old Sparky” Electric Chair on Display

03.09.11 Marina Galperina

“Controversy: Pieces You Don’t Normally See” – a small exhibit at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus (opening April 1st) – totes the State’s oddities of olde, because “History definitely isn’t always pretty!” Pieces range from the quirky (a 150-year-old sheepskin condom found in the diary of a steamboat captain) to dull and disgusting (a 1920’s Ku Klux Klan robe.) The centerpiece is “Old Sparky,” an electric chair that fried 312 men and 3 women to death between 1897 and 1963. For a State where the death penalty is still legal (PDF), that’s less of a curious antique and more of a sad tribute.