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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 199

clouds, by John Canton, M. A. and F. R. S._


_Dec. 6, 1753._

EXPERIMENT I.

From the cieling, or any convenient part of a room, let two
cork-balls, each about the bigness of a small pea, be suspended by
linen threads of eight or nine inches in length, so as to be in
contact with each other. Bring the excited glass tube under the
balls, and they will be separated by it, when held at the distance
of three or four feet; let it be brought nearer, and they will stand
farther apart; entirely withdraw it, and they will immediately come
together. This experiment may be made with very small brass balls
hung by silver wire; and will succeed as well with sealing-wax made
electrical, as with glass.


EXPERIMENT II.

If two cork-balls be suspended by dry silk threads, the excited tube
must be brought within eighteen inches before they will repel each
other; which they will continue to do, for some time, after the tube
is taken away.

As the balls in the first experiment are not insulated, they cannot
properly be said to be electrified: but when they hang within the
atmosphere of the excited tube, they may attract and condense the
electrical fluid round about them, and be separated by the repulsion
of its particles. It is conjectured also, that the balls at this
time contain less than their common share of the electrical fluid,
on account of the repelling power of that which surrounds them;
though some, perhaps, is continually entering and passing through
the threads. And if that be the case, the reason is plain why the
balls hung by silk, in the second experiment, must be in a much more
dense part of the atmosphere of the tube, before they will repel each
other. At the approach of an excited stick of wax to the balls, in
the first experiment, the electrical fire is supposed to come through
the threads into the balls, and be condensed there, in its passage
towards the wax; for, according to Mr. Franklin, excited glass
_emits_ the electrical fluid, but excited wax _receives_ it.


EXPERIMENT III.

Let a tin tube, of four or five feet in length, and about two inches
in diameter, be insulated by silk; and from one end of it let the
cork-balls be suspended by linen threads. Electrify it, by bringing
the excited glass tube near the other end, so as that the balls
may stand an inch and an half, or two inches, apart: then, at the
approach of the excited tube, they will, by degrees, lose their
repelling power, and come into

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Text Comparison with Franklin's Autobiography (Eclectic English Classics)

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=119.