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 10th
300a

Grand Coulee Dam

The world's largest concrete dam--and the largest concrete structure in the world--lies on the Columbia River in the State of Washington. Built in 1931, it is also one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the world.
Aug 10th
400a

China's Great Dam

When completed, China's Three Gorges Dam will tower 607 feet in the air and 40 Great Pyramids. Other than China's Great Wall, it will be the only man-made object visible from the moon. Supporters see it as key to a new China, controlling floods and bringing hydroelectric power to one of its least-developed areas. Critics voice a litany of concerns - from environmental to flooding the spectacular area for which it is named. We trace its story - from ancient flood control to current controversy.
Aug 10th
500a

Great Towers In The Sky

Viewer discretion is advised for those with vertigo! Featuring rare construction footage and interviews with architects, the program climbs to the top of the world's largest towers including Seattle's Space Needle, Canada's CN Tower, and Las Vegas Stratosphere.
Aug 10th
600a

Hoover Dam

The task was monumental: Build the world's largest dam in the middle of the desert, and tame the river that carved the Grand Canyon - all in seven years! When the Hoover Dam was completed in 1935, it was the largest dam in the world. We'll reveal how this engineering wonder of the world was conceived and built.
Aug 10th
700a

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

In the land of Mardi Gras, jambalaya, and zydeco, is an engineering marvel called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that seems to go on forever. Two ribbons of concrete span the largest inland body of water in Louisiana, and at nearly 23.87 and 23.88 miles long, these two spans form the world's longest automobile bridge. At midpoint--12 miles out--water surrounds travelers who are unable to see either shoreline. The bridge is so long, it actually transverses 1/1000th of the earth's circumference!
Aug 11th
500a

Lighthouses

From the earliest known lighthouses, such as the Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, to modern-day automated buoys and solar-powered latern rooms, this history of lighthouses is rich with personal stories of lighthouse keepers, daring construction efforts, and ingenious optical discoveries. Today, as lighthouses are usurped by more efficient aids to navigation, these elegant structures are being converted to bed-and-breakfast inns and environmental retreats.
Aug 11th
600a

Motion Picture, The

The complete story of the feuds, the mistakes, ingenuity, and successes that made movies possible--and kept Edison at the front of the inventors' pack. Includes rare early films from the Edison Studios.
Aug 11th
700a

Nature's Engineers 1

Towering skyscrapers buzzing with life, intricate tunnels connecting entire communities, mighty dams that tame the wildest rivers--this is construction animal style! Take a walk on the wild side as we investigate common creatures seemingly designed to alter their habitat and remake the world. Our ability to learn and capacity for abstract thought may separate us from beavers, honeybees, birds, termites, and spiders, but these engineers of nature remind us that we're merely the latest in a long line.
Aug 12th
500a

New York Bridges

Much of New York City's history can be viewed via its bridges - all 18 that connect Manhattan Island to its neighbors. Join us for a look at these architectural masterpieces from the age of iron and steel; and, see how long they have changed destinies, linking some to opportunity, others to ruin.
Aug 12th
600a

Oil

From the first well in Pennsylvania to the gushing Spindletop and huge modern supertankers, the story of oil is the story of civilization as we know it. Program takes a look at the ingenious and outrageous men who risked everything for "black gold" and unimaginable wealth.