Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 29

the melted part would burn the
floor it dropp'd on. But if a sword can be melted in the scabbard, and
money in a man's pocket, by lightning, without burning either, it must be a
cold fusion.

55. Lightning rends some bodies. The electrical spark will strike a hole
thro' a quire of strong paper.

56. If the source of lightning, assigned in this paper, be the true one,
there should be little thunder heard at sea far from land. And accordingly
some old sea-captains, of whom enquiry has been made, do affirm, that the
fact agrees perfectly with the hypothesis; for that, in crossing the great
ocean, they seldom meet with thunder till they come into soundings; and
that the islands far from the continent have very little of it. And a
curious observer, who lived 13 years at _Bermudas_, says, there was less
thunder there in that whole time than he has sometimes heard in a month at




PHILADELPHIA, _July 29, 1750_


As you first put us on electrical experiments, by sending to our library
company a tube, with directions how to use it; and as our honourable
proprietary enabled us to carry those experiments to a greater height, by
his generous present of a compleat electrical apparatus; 'tis fit that both
should know from time to time what progress we make. It was in this view I
wrote and sent you my former papers on this subject, desiring, that as I
had not the honour of a direct correspondence with that bountiful
benefactor to our library, they might be communicated to him through your
hands. In the same view I write, and send you this additional paper. If it
happens to bring you nothing new (which may well be, considering the number
of ingenious men in _Europe_, continually engaged in the same researches)
at least it will show, that the instruments, put into our hands, are not
neglected; and, that if no valuable discoveries are made by us, whatever
the cause may be, it is not want of industry and application.

_I am, Sir,
Your much obliged
Humble Servant_,

_Concerning the Properties and Effects of the electrical Matter, arising
from Experiments and Observations, made in_ Philadelphia, 1749.

s 1. The electrical matter consists of particles extreamly subtile, since
it can permeate common matter, even the densest metals, with such ease and
freedom, as not to receive any perceptible resistance.

2. If any one should

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Text Comparison with The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 1 [of 3]

Page 24
This habit has, I think, been of considerable advantage to me, when I have had occasion to impress my opinion on the minds of others, and persuade them to the adoption of the measures I have suggested.
Page 54
In a garret of the house there lived, in the most retired manner, a lady seventy years of age, of whom I received the following account from my landlady.
Page 77
During this time, he communicated to the directors every information relative to improvements and discoveries in the arts, agriculture, and philosophy.
Page 79
After this period the history of Pennsylvania is little else than a recital of the quarrels between the proprietaries, or their governors, and the assembly.
Page 84
When the truth of it could no longer be doubted, envy and vanity endeavoured to detract from its merit.
Page 118
off most of the rain, and prevent its soaking into the earth, and renewing and purifying the springs, whence the water of the wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use, as I find has happened in all old cities; I recommend, that, at the end of the first hundred years, if not done before, the corporation of the city employ a part of the hundred thousand pounds in bringing by pipes the water of Wissahickon-creek into the town, so as to supply the inhabitants, which I apprehend may be done without great difficulty, the level of that creek being much above that of the city, and may be made higher by a dam.
Page 172
--But, Form a communication by a chain from the coating to the cushion, and the phial will charge.
Page 220
Now light (as astronomers have demonstrated) is about six minutes passing from the sun to the earth; a distance, they say, of more than eighty millions of miles.
Page 231
That the twine was electrised, appeared by the separating of two small cork balls, suspended on the twine by fine flaxen threads, just above where the silk was tied to it, and sheltered from the wind.
Page 241
But the other end of the conductor, near which the tube is held, is not in that state, but in the negative state, as appears on removing the tube; for then part of the natural quantity left at the end near the balls, leaving that end to supply what is wanting at the other, the whole conductor is found to be equally in the negative state.
Page 248
reduced to vapour, is said to occupy 14,000 times its former space.
Page 253
that of _conducting_ the lightning.
Page 254
It would not easily pass through the air from a cloud to a building, were it not for the aid afforded it in its passage by intervening fragments of clouds below the main body, or by the falling rain.
Page 271
--But a _long pointed rod_ being presented to this fragment, may occasion its receding, like the cotton, up to the great cloud; and thereby _increase_, instead _of lessening_ the distance, so as often to make it greater than the striking distance.
Page 273
And as we think a pipe of three inches bore sufficient to carry off the rain that falls on a square of 20 feet, because we never saw such a pipe glutted by any shower; so we may judge a conductor of an inch diameter, more than sufficient for any stroke of lightning.
Page 299
It is this: Hang a phial, prepared for the Leyden experiment, to the conductor, by its hook, and charge it, which done, remove the communication from the bottom of the phial.
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further particulars of, 551.
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