Expériences et observations sur l'électricité faites à Philadelphie en Amérique

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 43

éprouver la force, l'effet, la différence & la manière d'être de
chacune de ses surfaces. L'on sent bien que s'il traitoit la bouteille
électrisée comme on veut le lui enseigner, il trouveroit en pure perte &
la force & l'effet d'une de ses surfaces. Ingénieux comme l'est cet
illustre Américain, consommé dans les recherches électriques, où il a
fait lui-seul plus de progrès que tous les autres physiciens ensemble,
pouvons-nous douter qu'il n'ait tenté des moyens aussi simples que ceux
qu'on veut lui apprendre?»


Fig. 3. D'un fil-d'archal courbé (_a_) & affermi sur une table, faites
pendre un fil de lin (_b_) à ls distance d'un demi-pouce du ventre de la
fiole (_c_) électrisée & posée sur de la cire: touchez avec le doigt le
fil-d'archal de la fiole à plusieurs reprises; & à chaque attouchement
vous verrez le fil aussitôt attiré par la bouteille. (Cette expérience
réussit encore mieux avec un vinaigrier, ou tel autre vase bombé qu'on
voudra.) Dès que vous tirez du feu de la partie intérieure en touchant
le fil-d'archal, la partie extérieure de la bouteille en attire une
égale quantité par le fil.


Fig. 4. Faites tenir un fil-d'archal dans le plomb dont le bas de la
bouteille est armé (_d_), de sorte qu'en faisant un coude pour se
relever perpendiculairement, l'anneau qui le termine se trouve de niveau
avec le haut ou l'anneau du fil-d'archal qui entre dans le liége (_e_) à
trois ou quatre pouces de distance. Alors électrisez la bouteille &
posez-la sur de la cire. Si un morceau de liége suspendu par un fil de
soye tombe entre les deux fils-d'archal, il jouëra continuellement de
l'un à l'autre jusqu'à ce que la bouteille ne soit plus électrisée: la
raison en est qu'il charrie & apporte le feu du dedans au dehors de la
bouteille jusqu'à ce que l'équilibre soit rétabli.

«Les objections que l'on fait contre cette troisiéme expérience, ou
plutôt les faits que l'on oppose aux conséquences qui en résultent,
doivent être partagés en deux classes. Je vais répondre à ceux de la
premiere, & ceux de la seconde trouveront place ailleurs; notre auteur
ayant examiné à fond la différence que l'on a remarquée entre un corps
électrisé par un globe de verre, & un autre électrisé par un globe de

[Note 14: Voyez vers la fin les Lettres 7, 8 & 9.]

»Comment notre critique, si clairvoyant d'ailleurs, a-t-il pû
méconnoître l'effet des pointes dans l'expérience qu'il propose pour
objection, pag. 102 & 103? Il avoit déjà déclaré dans la page précédente
qu'il préféroit une petite feuille de métal aux boulettes de liége dont

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