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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 178

times, in the air, with the swiftest motion I could possibly
give it, yet it retained its electric atmosphere, though it must have
passed through eight hundred yards of air, allowing my arm in giving
the motion to add a foot to the semi-diameter of the circle.--By
quite dry air, I mean the dryest we have: for perhaps we never have
any perfectly free from moisture. An electrical atmosphere raised
round a thick wire, inserted in a phial of air, drives out none of
the air, nor on withdrawing that atmosphere will any air rush in, as
I have found by a curious experiment[61] accurately made, whence we
concluded that the air's elasticity was not affected thereby.


AN EXPERIMENT TOWARDS DISCOVERING MORE OF THE QUALITIES OF THE
ELECTRIC FLUID.

From the prime conductor, hang a bullet by a wire hook; under the
bullet, at half an inch distance, place a bright piece of silver
to receive the sparks; then let the wheel be turned, and in a few
minutes, (if the repeated sparks continually strike in the same spot)
the silver will receive a blue stain, nearly the colour of a watch
spring.

A bright piece of iron will also be spotted, but not with that
colour; it rather seems corroded.

On gold, brass, or tin, I have not perceived it makes any impression.
But the spots on the silver or iron will be the same, whether the
bullet be lead, brass, gold, or silver.

On a silver bullet there will also appear a small spot, as well as on
the plate below it.

FOOTNOTES:

[58] Cadwallader Colden, who was afterwards lieutenant-governor of
New-York. _Editor._

[59] This proposition is since found to be too general; Mr. Wilson
having discovered that melted wax and rosin will also conduct.

[60] A cold dry wind of North America.

[61] The experiment here mentioned was thus made. An empty phial
was stopped with a cork. Through the cork passed a thick wire,
as usual in the Leyden experiment, which wire almost reached the
bottom. Through another part of the cork passed one leg of a small
glass syphon, the other leg on the outside came down almost to the
bottom of the phial. This phial was first held a short time in the
hand, which, warming, and of course rarefying the air within, drove
a small part of it out through the syphon. Then a little red ink
in a tea-spoon was applied to the opening of the outer leg of the
syphon; so that as the air within cooled, a little of the ink might
rise in that leg. When the air within the

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