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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 196

best materials and complete conductors, will, I think,
secure the building from damage, either by restoring the equilibrium
so fast as to prevent a stroke, or by conducting it in the substance
of the rod as far as the rod goes, so that there shall be no
explosion but what is above its point, between that and the clouds.

If it be asked, what thickness of a metalline rod may be supposed
sufficient? In answer, I would remark, that five large glass jars,
such as I have described in my former papers, discharge a very great
quantity of electricity, which nevertheless will be all conducted
round the corner of a book, by the fine filleting of gold on the
cover, it following the gold the farthest way about, rather than
take the shorter course through the cover, that not being so good
a conductor. Now in this line of gold, the metal is so extremely
thin as to be little more than the colour of gold, and on an octavo
book is not in the whole an inch square, and therefore not the
thirty-sixth part of a grain, according to M. Reaumur; yet it is
sufficient to conduct the charge of five large jars, and how many
more I know not. Now, I suppose a wire of a quarter of an inch
diameter to contain about five thousand times as much metal as there
is in that gold line, and if so, it will conduct the charge of
twenty-five thousand such glass jars, which is a quantity, I imagine,
far beyond what was ever contained in any one stroke of natural
lightning. But a rod of half an inch diameter would conduct four
times as much as one of a quarter.

And with regard to conducting, though a certain thickness of metal
be required to conduct a great quantity of electricity, and, at the
same time, keep its own substance firm and unseparated; and a less
quantity, as a very small wire for instance, will be destroyed by
the explosion; yet such small wire will have answered the end of
conducting that stroke, though it become incapable of conducting
another. And considering the extreme rapidity with which the electric
fluid moves without exploding, when it has a free passage, or
compleat metal communication, I should think a vast quantity would
be conducted in a short time, either to or from a cloud, to restore
its equilibrium with the earth, by means of a very small wire; and
therefore thick rods should seem not so necessary.--However, as
the quantity of lightning discharged in one stroke, cannot well

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 24
as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance.
Page 28
Holmes returning he showed it to him, ask'd him if he knew Keith, and what kind of man he was; adding his opinion that he must be of small discretion to think of setting a boy up.
Page 30
We had been intimate from children, and had read the same books together; but he had the advantage of more time for reading and studying, and a wonderful genius for mathematical learning, in which he far outstript me.
Page 33
Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food, and on this occasion consider'd, with my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had, or ever could do us any injury that might justify the slaughter.
Page 53
My mind having been much more improv'd by reading than Keimer's, I suppose it was for that reason my conversation seem'd to be more valu'd.
Page 56
But he knew little out of his way, and was not a pleasing companion; as, like most great mathematicians I have met with, he expected universal precision in everything said, or was for ever denying or distinguishing upon trifles, to the disturbance of all conversation.
Page 63
as his friends were very able, and had a good deal of interest.
Page 77
TEMPERANCE.
Page 81
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Page 84
I had not been early accustomed to it, and, having an exceeding good memory, I was not so sensible of the inconvenience attending want of method.
Page 85
In truth, I found myself incorrigible with respect to Order; and now I am grown old, and my memory bad, I feel very sensibly the want of it.
Page 87
I even forbid myself, agreeably to the old laws of our Junto, the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fix'd opinion, such as certainly, undoubtedly, etc.
Page 92
Those, however, of our congregation, who considered themselves as orthodox Presbyterians, disapprov'd his doctrine, and were join'd by most of the old clergy, who arraign'd him of heterodoxy before the synod, in order to have him silenc'd.
Page 101
His delivery of the latter was so improv'd by frequent repetitions that every accent, every emphasis, every modulation of voice, was so perfectly well turn'd and well plac'd, that, without being interested in the subject, one could not help being pleas'd with the discourse; a pleasure of much the same kind with that receiv'd from an excellent piece of musick.
Page 108
[10] [10] See the votes.
Page 117
I sent one of these papers to each house, and in a day or two went round to see who would subscribe an agreement to pay these sixpences; it was unanimously sign'd, and for a time well executed.
Page 128
The people of these back.
Page 133
, to be destroy'd, that he might have more horses to assist his flight towards the settlements, and less lumber to remove.
Page 143
And, after my return from the frontier, he would have had me undertake the conduct of such an expedition with provincial troops, for the reduction of Fort Duquesne, Dunbar and his men being otherwise employed; and he proposed to commission me as general.
Page 155
but it seems there is sometimes a strong indraught setting up St.