Before that he had thought of another way of proving his theory, and with the help of his electrical kite had drawn lightning from a cloud. The episode of the kite, so firm and fixed in legend, turns out to be dim and mystifying in fact. Franklin himself never wrote the story of the most dramatic of his experiments. All that is known about what he did on that famous day, of no known date, comes from Joseph Priestley's account, published fifteen years afterwards but read in manuscript by Franklin, who must have given Priestley the precise, familiar details.
"As every circumstance relating to so capital a discovery (the greatest, perhaps, since the time of Sir Isaac Newton) cannot but give pleasure to all my readers, I shall endeavour to gratify them with the communication of a few particulars which I have from the best authority.
"The Doctor, having published his method of verifying his hypothesis concerning the sameness of electricity with the matter of lightning, was waiting for the erection of a spire [on Christ Church] in Philadelphia to carry his views into execution; not imagining that a pointed rod of a moderate height could answer the purpose; when it occurred to him that by means of a common kite he could have better access to the regions of thunder than by any spire whatever. Preparing, therefore, a large silk handkerchief and two cross-sticks of a proper length on which to extend it, he took the opportunity of the first approaching thunderstorm to take a walk in the fields, in which there was a shed convenient for his purpose. But, dreading the ridicule which too commonly attends unsuccessful attempts in science, he communicated his intended experiment to nobody but his son" — then twenty-one, not a child as in the traditional illustrations of the scene — "who assisted him in raising the kite.
"The kite being raised, a considerable time elapsed before there was any appearance of its being electrified. One very promising cloud had passed over it without any effect; when, at length, just as he was beginning to despair of his contrivance, he observed some loose threads of the hempen string to stand erect, and to avoid one another, just as if they had been suspended on a common conductor. Struck with this promising appearance, he immediately presented his knuckle to the key, and (let the reader judge of the exquisite pleasure he must have felt at that moment) the discovery was complete. He perceived a very evident electric spark. Others succeeded, even before the string was wet, so as to put the matter past all dispute, and when the rain had wet the string he collected electric fire very copiously. This happened in June 1752, a month after the electricians in France had verified the same theory, but before he heard of anything they had done."
From Carl Van Doren's "Benjamin Franklin," ©1938 by Carl Van Doren
Essay on Benjamin Franklin
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Benjamin Franklin (An A+ Essays Original Paper, written by WeirdHTML)
Benjamin Franklin was one of the first and most famous scientists in America. He was a man of many talents and interests. Franklin was always curios about they way things work, and he always tried to find ways to make them work better. Even though he started out as a published, he was always interested in science. However this interest soon became a passion to Franklin. He even retired from his publishing business to work in a laboratory with his mostly homemade equipment. Throughout his life Benjamin Franklin made many important discoveries and theories which greatly influenced future scientists and inventors.
Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston Massachusetts, on…show more content…
Franklin realized that if a piece of silk were rubbed against a glass, the glass would have a positive charge. Other scientists at that time believed that rubbing produced electricity, however Franklin said that it was just the "electric fluid" being transferred from the silk to the glass. This is known today as the law of conservation of change and it is one of the basic principles of physics.
Franklin published his theories in a book titled "Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia". It became a best seller in Europe as well as in the colonies. The main topic of this book was Franklin's theory that lightning was electrical energy. This was not a new idea, but Benjamin Franklin was the first to perform an experiment on it. He said that if a metal rod was to be placed on top of a tower or a tall building, it would be struck by lightning and hold an electrical charge. Many scientists in Europe tried this experiment, and some had successful results. When a French scientist, De Lor, attempted to repeat one of the proposed experiments from the book a huge crowd of curious people had gathered in Paris to see it.
In 1752 Franklin devised another experiment to test if lighting has an electrical charge. He flied a kite carrying a pointed wire in a thunderstorm and attempted to test his theory that atmospheric lightning is an electrical phenomenon similar to the spark produced by an electrical frictional machine (Bruno 406). To