Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 32

being already
full. The fluid therefore will flow round its surface, and form an
electrical atmosphere. Bring A into contact with B, and half the electrical
fluid is communicated, so that each has now an electrical atmosphere, and
therefore they repel each other. Take away these atmospheres by touching
the balls, and leave them in their natural state: then, having fixed a
stick of sealing wax to the middle of the vial to hold it by, apply the
wire to A, at the same time the coating touches B. Thus will a quantity of
the electrical fluid be drawn out of B, and thrown on A. So that A will
have a redundance of this fluid, which forms an atmosphere round it, and B
an exactly equal deficiency. Now bring these balls again into contact, and
the electrical atmosphere will not be divided between A and B, into two
smaller atmospheres as before; for B will drink up the whole atmosphere of
A, and both will be found again in their natural state.

15. The form of the electrical atmosphere is that of the body it surrounds.
This shape may be rendered visible in a still air, by raising a smoke from
dry rosin, dropt into a hot tea-spoon under the electrised body, which will
be attracted and spread itself equaly on all sides, covering and concealing
the body. And this form it takes, because it is attracted by all parts of
the surface of the body, tho' it cannot enter the substance already
replete. Without this attraction it would not remain round the body, but
dissipate in the air.

16. The atmosphere of electrical particles surrounding an electrified
sphere, is not more disposed to leave it or more easily drawn off from any
one part of the sphere than from another, because it is equally attracted
by every part. But that is not the case with bodies of any other figure.
From a cube it is more easily drawn at the corners than at the plane sides,
and so from the angles of a body of any other form, and still most easily
from the angle that is most acute. Thus if a body shaped as A, B, C, D, E,
in Fig. 8, be electrified, or have an electrical atmosphere communicated to
it, and we consider every side as a base on which the particles rest and by
which they are attracted, one may see, by imagining a line from A to F, and
another from E to G, that the portion of the atmosphere included in F, A,
E, G,

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