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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 160

a wire that has one end fastened to the leads, he holding
it by a wax handle; so the sparks, if the rod is electrified, will
strike from the rod to the wire, and not affect him.

22. Before I leave this subject of lightning, I may mention some
other similarities between the effects of that, and those of
electricity. Lightning has often been known to strike people blind.
A pigeon that we struck dead to appearance by the electrical shock,
recovering life, drooped about the yard several days, eat nothing,
though crumbs were thrown to it, but declined and died. We did not
think of its being deprived of sight; but afterwards a pullet, struck
dead in like manner, being recovered by repeatedly blowing into its
lungs, when set down on the floor, ran headlong against the wall, and
on examination appeared perfectly blind. Hence we concluded that the
pigeon also had been absolutely blinded by the shock. The biggest
animal we have yet killed, or tried to kill, with the electrical
stroke, was a well-grown pullet.

23. Reading in the ingenious Dr. Miles's account of the thunder-storm
at Stretham, the effect of the lightning in stripping off all the
paint that had covered a gilt moulding of a pannel of wainscot,
without hurting the rest of the paint, I had a mind to lay a coat of
paint over the filletting of gold on the cover of a book, and try
the effect of a strong electrical flash sent through that gold from
a charged sheet of glass. But having no paint at hand, I pasted a
narrow strip of paper over it; and when dry, sent the flash through
the gilding, by which the paper was torn off from end to end, with
such force, that it was broke in several places, and in others
brought away part of the grain of the Turky-leather in which it was
bound; and convinced me, that had it been painted, the paint would
have been stript off in the same manner with that on the wainscot at

24. Lightning melts metals, and I hinted in my paper on that subject,
that I suspected it to be a cold fusion; I do not mean a fusion by
force of cold, but a fusion without heat[50]. We have also melted
gold, silver, and copper, in small quantities, by the electrical
flash. The manner is this: Take leaf-gold, leaf-silver, or leaf-gilt
copper, commonly called leaf-brass, or Dutch gold; cut off from the
leaf long narrow strips, the breadth of a straw. Place one of these
strips between two strips

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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 0
The other two volumes are also accessible in Project Gutenberg using http://www.
Page 5
269 Additional proofs of the positive and negative state of electricity in the clouds.
Page 26
On the contrary, I conceived that in many instances, he was too rigorous, and that, on the part of a brother, I had a right to expect greater indulgence.
Page 28
He went to all the printing-houses in the town, and prejudiced the masters against me--who accordingly refused to employ me.
Page 38
The sloop having touched at Newport in Rhode Island, I paid a visit to my brother John, who had for some years been settled there, and was married.
Page 60
Page 82
He prepared one by fastening two cross sticks to a silk handkerchief, which would not suffer so much from the rain as paper.
Page 120
_ _"Though the English have not been backward in acknowledging the great merit of this philosopher, he has had the singular good fortune to be, perhaps, even more celebrated abroad than at home; so that, to form a just idea of the great and deserved reputation of Dr.
Page 134
And this restitution cannot be made.
Page 137
With thin paste, or gum-water, fix the border that is cut off on the inside the glass, pressing it smooth and close; then fill up the vacancy by gilding the glass well with leaf-gold, or brass.
Page 141
Spirits, at the same time, are to be fired by a spark sent from side to side through the river, without any other conductor than the water; an experiment which we some time since performed, to the amazement of many[42].
Page 187
To the end of the twine, next the hand, is to be tied a silk ribbon, and where the silk and twine join, a key may be fastened.
Page 195
But in these examinations, this one thing is always to be understood, viz.
Page 200
The effect will be the same, if the excited glass be brought towards them, when they have been electrified by wax.
Page 213
Page 223
By this post I send to ****, who is curious in that way, some meteorological observations and conjectures, and desire him to communicate them to you, as they may afford you some amusement, and I know you will look over them with a candid eye.
Page 228
--Wire lengthened by Electricity.
Page 246
And yet the fire when produced, though in different bodies it may differ in circumstances, as in colour, vehemence, &c.
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(_See Plate_ IV.
Page 274
The discharging knob does by a screw approach the conductor to the distance intended, but there remains fixed.