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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 128

Place it on a
non-electric, and touch the wire, you will get it out in a short
time; but soonest when you form a direct communication as above.

So wonderfully are these two states of electricity, the _plus_ and
_minus_, combined and balanced in this miraculous bottle! situated
and related to each other in a manner that I can by no means
comprehend! If it were possible that a bottle should in one part
contain a quantity of air strongly comprest, and in another part a
perfect vacuum, we know the equilibrium would be instantly restored
_within_. But here we have a bottle containing at the same time
a _plenum_ of electrical fire, and a _vacuum_ of the same fire;
and yet the equilibrium cannot be restored between them but by a
communication _without!_ though the _plenum_ presses violently to
expand, and the hungry vacuum seems to attract as violently in order
to be filled.

5. The shock to the nerves (or convulsion rather) is occasioned by
the sudden passing of the fire through the body in its way from the
top to the bottom of the bottle. The fire takes the shortest[28]
course, as Mr. Watson justly observes: But it does not appear from
experiment that in order for a person to be shocked, a communication
with the floor is necessary: for he that holds the bottle with one
hand, and touches the wire with the other, will be shocked as much,
though his shoes be dry, or even standing on wax, as otherwise. And
on the touch of the wire, (or of the gun-barrel, which is the same
thing) the fire does not proceed from the touching finger to the
wire, as is supposed, but from the wire to the finger, and passes
through the body to the other hand, and so into the bottom of the

_Experiments confirming the above._


Place an electrised phial on wax; a small cork-ball suspended by a
dry silk thread held in your hand, and brought near to the wire,
will first be attracted, and then repelled: when in this state of
repellency, sink your hand, that the ball may be brought towards
the bottom of the bottle; it will be there instantly and strongly
attracted, till it has parted with its fire.

If the bottle had a _positive_ electrical atmosphere, as well as the
wire, an electrified cork would be repelled from one as well as from
the other.

[Illustration: (of the experiments below)

_Plate I._ _Vol. I. page 182._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman,

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

Page 5
Page 6
_ _SIR_, In my last I informed you that, in pursuing our electrical enquiries, we had observed some particular Phaenomena, which we looked upon to be new, and of which I promised to give you some account, tho' I apprehended they might possibly not be new to you, as so many hands are daily employ'd in electrical experiments on your side the water, some or other of which would probably hit on the same observations.
Page 10
Page 17
--If a ring of persons take the shock among them, the experiment is called, _The Conspirators_.
Page 20
Page 21
Air is an electric _per se_, and when dry will not conduct the electrical fire; it will neither receive it, nor give it to other bodies; otherwise no body surrounded by air could be electrified positively and negatively: for should it be attempted positively, the air would immediately take away the overplus; or negatively, the air would supply what was wanting.
Page 22
Common fire joined with air, increases the repulsion, enlarges the triangles, and thereby makes the air specifically lighter.
Page 24
Page 26
For the electrical fire is never visible but when in.
Page 27
Page 28
Metals are often melted by lightning, tho' perhaps not from heat in the lightning, nor altogether from agitated fire in the metals.
Page 29
If any one should.
Page 30
Page 31
If a piece of common matter be supposed intirely free from electrical matter, and a single particle of the latter be brought nigh, 'twill be attracted and enter the body, and take place in the center, or where the attraction is every way equal.
Page 32
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.
Page 37
Page 39
Sometimes the stain spreads a little wider than the breadth of the leaf, and looks brighter at the edge, as by inspecting closely you may observe in these.
Page 48
And besides, when the globe is filled with cinnamon, or other non-electric, no electrical fluid can be obtain'd from its outer surface, for the reason before-mentioned.
Page 51
All that is after said of the _top_ and _bottom_ of the bottle, is true of the _inside_ and _outside_ surfaces, and should have been so expressed.
Page 53
When it is charged, remove the latter communication before you take hold of the bottle, otherwise great part of the fire will escape by it.