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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 162

in them.

25. In one of my former papers, I mentioned, that gilding on a
book, though at first it communicated the shock perfectly well, yet
failed after a few experiments, which we could not account for. We
have since found that one strong shock breaks the continuity of
the gold in the filletting, and makes it look rather like dust of
gold, abundance of its parts being broken and driven off; and it
will seldom conduct above one strong shock. Perhaps this may be
the reason: When there is not a perfect continuity in the circuit,
the fire must leap over the vacancies: there is a certain distance
which it is able to leap over according to its strength; if a number
of small vacancies, though each be very minute, taken together
exceed that distance, it cannot leap over them, and so the shock is

26. From the before-mentioned law of electricity, that points as
they are more or less acute, draw on and throw off the electrical
fluid with more or less power, and at greater or less distances, and
in larger or smaller quantities in the same time, we may see how
to account for the situation of the leaf of gold suspended between
two plates, the upper one continually electrified, the under one
in a person's hand standing on the floor. When the upper plate is
electrified, the leaf is attracted, and raised towards it, and
would fly to that plate, were it not for its own points. The corner
that happens to be uppermost when the leaf is rising, being a sharp
point, from the extreme thinness of the gold, draws and receives
at a distance a sufficient quantity of the electric fluid to give
itself an electric atmosphere, by which its progress to the upper
plate is stopped, and it begins to be repelled from that plate, and
would be driven back to the under plate, but that its lowest corner
is likewise a point, and throws off or discharges the overplus of
the leaf's atmosphere, as fast as the upper corner draws it on.
Were these two points perfectly equal in acuteness, the leaf would
take place exactly in the middle space, for its weight is a trifle
compared to the power acting on it: but it is generally nearest
the unelectrified plate, because, when the leaf is offered to the
electrified plate, at a distance, the sharpest point is commonly
first affected and raised towards it; so _that_ point, from its
greater acuteness, receiving the fluid faster than its opposite can
discharge it at equal distances, it retires from

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Text Comparison with Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin; Written by Himself. [Vol. 2 of 2] With his Most Interesting Essays, Letters, and Miscellaneous Writings; Familiar, Moral, Political, Economical, and Philosophical, Selected with Care from All His Published Productions, and Comprising Whatever Is Most Entertaining and Valuable to the General Reader

Page 11
--Water-spouts and Whirlwinds compared 240 To Alexander Small.
Page 38
Youth, age, and the sick require a different.
Page 44
Laws cannot prevent this; and perhaps it is not always an evil to the public.
Page 55
But such beings as are endowed with _thought_ and _reflection_ cannot be made happy by any limited term of happiness, how great soever its duration may be.
Page 63
Caligula valued himself for being a notable dancer; and to deny.
Page 65
[4] Oh virtue! the most certain ruin.
Page 101
It will be a pleasure, and no trouble.
Page 129
Page 131
The time diminishes daily, and is usefully employed.
Page 132
Page 135
If any Phoenicians arrived in America, I should rather think it was not by the accident of a storm, but in the course of their long and adventurous voyages; and that they coasted from Denmark and Norway, over to Greenland, and down southward by Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, &c.
Page 142
"The departure of my dearest friend,[28] which I learn from your last letter, greatly affects me.
Page 158
You will kindly expect a word or two about myself.
Page 163
Why, then, should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals, a new member added to their happy society?.
Page 183
our substances? Do we know the limit of condensation air is capable of? Supposing it to grow denser _within_ the surface in the same proportion nearly as it does _without_, at what depth may it be equal in density with gold? Can we easily conceive how the strata of the earth could have been so deranged, if it had not been a mere shell supported by a heavier fluid? Would not such a supposed internal fluid globe be immediately sensible of a change in the situation of the earth's axis, alter its form, and thereby burst the shell and throw up parts of it above the rest? As if we would alter the position of the fluid contained in the shell of an egg, and place its longest diameter where the shortest now is, the shell must break; but would be much harder to break if the whole internal substance were as solid and as hard as the shell.
Page 203
by any means unequally supported or unequal in its weight, the heaviest part descends first, and the rest follows impetuously.
Page 205
The air, in its whirling motion, receding every way from the centre or axis of the trumpet, leaves there a _vacuum_, which cannot be filled through the sides, the whirling air, as an arch, preventing; it must then press in at the open ends.
Page 214
1 Fig.
Page 223
Now I know not how to account for this, otherwise than by supposing that the composition is a better conductor of fire than the ingredients separately, and, like the lock compared with the wood, has a stronger power of attracting fire, and does accordingly attract it suddenly from the fingers, or a thermometer put into it, from the basin that contains it, and from the water in contact with the outside of the basin; so that the fingers have the sensation of extreme cold by being deprived of much of their natural fire; the thermometer sinks by having part of its fire drawn out of the mercury; the basin grows colder to the touch, as, by having its fire drawn into the mixture, it is become more capable of drawing and receiving it from the hand; and, through the basin, the water loses its fire that kept it fluid; so it becomes ice.
Page 237
But you will be no swimmer till you can place some confidence in the power of the water to support you; I would therefore advise the acquiring that confidence in the first place, especially as I have known several who, by a little of the practice necessary for that purpose, have insensibly acquired the stroke, taught, as it were, by nature.