Modern Marvels

About the show

Celebrating ingenuity, invention and imagination on a grand scale, "Modern Marvels" tells the amazing stories of the doers, dreamers and sometime-schemers who create everyday items, technological advancements and manmade wonders.

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Upcoming episodes

Aug 6th
600a

Grease

In our lifelong battle to fight friction, GREASE -- in all its forms -- is the unsung hero. This Modern Marvels will take us deep into places few people ever get to see, to discover the "hidden" uses of one of our most slippery products inside giant machines. We'll also investigate how it's made in a factory in New York, as well as what new advances some are working towards for GREASE of the future. But in the meantime, we'll witness how GREASE is currently used inside a US Navy aircraft carrier, San Francisco's famous cable cars, elevators & escalators, assembly lines, huge excavators, amusement park rides, and even the Panama Canal. From pig fat to nano-particles... amazing GREASE keeps EVERYTHING rolling along - smooth and fast. It's truly one of the world's most important Modern Marvels.
Aug 6th
700a

Packaging

It's all around us--so much a part of our lives that we forget it's there. But try to survive a single day without packaging. This episode reveals the astounding technology and ingenuity required to create our packaged world. At a Michigan company that designs water bottles, we'll show you how engineers find their inspiration from a bell pepper. In New Jersey, the makers of bubble Wrap clue you in on their manufacturing secrets. In Texas, workers conquer the challenge of packaging the world's largest crane. And you'll also see how America's military goods and supplies are packaged and shipped by the United States Transportation Command. Other stories include a new easy to open package that's the cure for "wrap rage"--and how NASA engineers packed a fragile humanoid robot for a trip into orbit.
Aug 7th
600a

Made In The Usa

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the United States has stamped, carved, cut, built and assembled its way into becoming the super power of product production. However, 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? This episode of Modern Marvels will answer that question...with a few surprises along the way.
Aug 7th
700a

Coin Operated II

They're a dime a dozen! Tens of millions of them all over the world... Soda and snack machines, parking meters and payphones, video games and vending machines... They're everywhere we look. And they all use coins...but for how long? This Modern Marvels episode, COIN OPERATED 2, picks up where COIN OPERATED left off.
Aug 7th
800a

Mega Stores

The colossal cornerstones of commerce. Oversized outfitters. Merchandise Moguls. Mega Stores are giant facilities engineered to keep up with America's supersized habits. They are the largest, busiest places in the country. Their greatest challenge: keeping up with demand on a massive scale. And to do it, they have everything from scuba divers to sandblasters. It's not what's on the shelves ŒË it's what happens behind the scenes of ... Mega Stores.
Aug 7th
900a

Big & Small

Size does matter. On Big and Small, we size up the biggest of machines, and their smallest counterparts. We go to France to find out what goes into assembling the world's largest jetliner, the Airbus A380. Then, we fly with microjet pilots in the world's smallest jets. We hold a race between a huge Boss Hoss 425 horsepower motorcycle and an 18 inch tall pocket bike. We take the world's smallest production car for a ride and see just how many choir members we can fit into a super-sized limousine. We see a mammoth Caterpillar front loader in action, in an open pit coal mine, and dig up the backyard with a loader that's no bigger than a lawnmower. Finally, we walk inside an enormous diesel engine powering an 80,000 ton container ship and eyeball a tiny one driving a five pound model airplane.
Aug 9th
100a

Start To Finish

What does it take to turn twenty tons of steel into top-notch vehicles in less than a day? How does a pile of lumber become a million dollar home in a mere week? From start to finish, every process is a unique and incredible 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.
Aug 9th
200a

Dirt

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 at a state fair in Hawaii. In Tucson, see how modern adobe and stunning rammed-earth homes are made. To farmers, "dirt" is "soil" and in a teaspoon of healthy soil there are more living organisms than people on our planet. Find out where they came from at a sprawling potting soil facility in central California where huge earth moving equipment adds tons of dried kelp, bat guano and other ingredients to dirt. At exclusive spas, watch patrons submerge their bodies in mud. Finally, visit the Tide detergent factory. Why? To get the dirt out, of course.
Aug 9th
300a

Retro Tech

Rummage around in your garage. You'll likely find remnants of gadgets past - a typewriter, analog TV, LPs, film cameras and brick-sized mobile phones. These products served us well and we remember each one with nostalgic fondness. We'll take a trip down memory lane to examine how these oldies-but-goodies worked and find out how more advanced tech superseded them. At the Palm Corporation in Sunnyvale, California, we'll follow the evolution of hand-held tech. At the Houston Chronicle, we'll learn how the print edition of a major American newspaper coexists with its online edition.
Aug 9th
400a

Car Wash

Americans hit the car wash 2 million times a day--at a cost of $25 billion dollars a year. From tunnel systems to in-bay automatics, we'll go beyond the suds to see how car washes are built to clean. We'll get wet inside the largest car wash in the U.S.--a seven acre mega facility complete with a dog wash, chapel, and barber shop. We'll head to a car wash manufacturer where electric eyes are trained, auto conveyers are built, and mega vacuums suck up bowling balls. We'll learn some tips on how to clean our cars at home. Watch as we plaster a $160,000 Porsche with tar, glue, egg, bird droppings, and a bucket full of sludge... and then challenge a detailer to get it off. Cleaning radioactive waste from a train? No problem, if you go to the Energy Solutions rail car wash. Then, it's off to see how car manufacturers design and build vehicles to survive the car wash.