Barrel of Bricks
Mythbusters Episode A-06
IMDB Ref tt0768450
Season 1
Episode 6
Airdate October 10, 2003
Previous Episode Transmitted Exploding Toilet
Next Episode Transmitted Penny Drop

Episode Cast[edit | edit source]

The Myths[edit | edit source]

The story of a man being hit multiple times by a barrel of bricks with a pulley system.

Can a person be electrocuted by urinating on the third rail?

Can an eel skin wallet erase a credit card?

Results[edit | edit source]

Barrel of Bricks[edit | edit source]

Myth statement Status Notes
A bricklayer hoisting a wooden barrel full of bricks with a pulley from the top of a three-story building could be injured repeatedly. Plausible The MythBusters were able to injure Buster by hitting him with the descending barrel as it pulled him up, but the barrel would not break and spill its load until deliberately weakened by removing hoops and dropping it on a sharp edge. This allowed Buster's weight to overcome the broken barrel and fall, while a quick-release mechanism in Buster's hand holding the rope allowed the barrel to be dropped a second time for the third impact. But there was no evidence of the myth happening; the source of the myth appears to be a joke book. This test marks the first time Buster was broken in the course of an experiment.

Peeing on the Third Rail[edit | edit source]

Myth statement Status Notes
Urinating on the electric third rail of a train track can cause electrocution. Busted Since ballistic gelatin has the same electrical resistance as a human body, the MythBusters rigged a dummy with a urination valve and electric release that would trigger with exposure to current. Even wetting the feet and removing shoes failed to trigger the release, due to the urine stream failing to stay laminar and solid enough to complete a circuit. A larger valve failed to create a solid stream, but setting the dummy unrealistically close to the rail finally succeeded. A spinoff of this myth was tested in Myths Revisited. In this episode, the "genitalia" region of the dummy is censored, and no reference is made verbally, instead referring only to the urination process.

While testing the myth at a train yard, the yard's operators gave Adam permission to test a "mini-myth" with one of their engines:

Myth statement Status Notes
Placing a coin on a train track is sufficient to derail a train. Busted Adam placed four different types of coin on the track at the same time, but none of them had any noticeable effect on the engine. All that happened was that the coins were flattened and partially melted by the intense friction generated as the engine passed over them.

Eelskin Wallet[edit | edit source]

Myth statement Status Notes
Using an electric eel-skin wallet will cause a static charge that will cause failure in a magnetic stripe card. Busted Most eel-skin wallets are not made from electric eels, but rather from a fish called a hagfish which does not produce an electric charge. Data written to a set of test cards were not affected in any way from this leather exposure, nor by direct exposure to an eel in a tank. In addition, further tests were conducted to see how much magnetism would it take to 'wipe' a card, and was found to be about 1,000 gauss, far above what the average person may encounter.

References[edit | edit source]

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.