Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 43

the bottle, though the same in
quantity, cannot be the very same fire that entered at the wire; for if it
were, the bottle would remain uncharged.

30. If the fire that so leaves the bottle be not the same that is thrown in
through the wire, it must be fire that subsisted in the bottle, (that is,
in the glass of the bottle) before the operation began.

31. If so, there must be a great quantity in glass, because a great
quantity is thus discharged even from very thin glass.

32. That this electrical fluid or fire is strongly attracted by glass, we
know from the quickness and violence with which it is resumed by the part
that had been deprived of it, when there is an opportunity. And by this,
that we cannot from a mass of glass draw a quantity of electrical fire, or
electrify the whole mass _minus_, as we can a mass of metal. We cannot
lessen or increase its whole quantity, for the quantity it has it holds;
and it has as much as it can hold. Its pores are filled with it as full as
the mutual repellency of the particles will admit; and what is already in,
refuses, or strongly repels, any additional quantity. Nor have we any way
of moving the electrical fluid in glass, but one; that is, by covering part
of the two surfaces of thin glass with non-electrics, and then throwing an
additional quantity of this fluid on one surface, which spreading in the
non-electric, and being bound by it to that surface, acts by its repelling
force on the particles of the electrical fluid contained in the other
surface, and drives them out of the glass into the non-electric on that
side, from whence they are discharged, and then those added on the charged
side can enter. But when this is done, there is no more in the glass, nor
less than before, just as much having left it on one side as it received on
the other.


33. I feel a want of terms here, and doubt much whether I shall be able to
make this part intelligible. By the word _surface_, in this case, I do not
mean mere length and breadth without thickness; but when I speak of the
upper or under surface of a piece of glass, the outer or inner surface of
the vial, I mean length, breadth, and half the thickness, and beg the
favour of being so understood. Now, I suppose, that glass in its first
principles, and in the Furnace, has no

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