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._


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.


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.


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

Last Page Next Page

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

Page 7
Since such a repetition is not to be expected, the next thing like living one's life over again seems to be a recollection of that life, and to make that recollection as durable as possible by putting it down in writing.
Page 11
I was put to the grammar school[19] at eight years of age, my father intending to devote me, as the tithe of his sons, to the service of the church.
Page 20
" If you ask why less properly, I must repeat the lines: "Immodest words admit of no defense, For want of modesty is want of sense.
Page 25
William Bradford, who had been the first printer in Pennsylvania, but removed from thence upon the quarrel of George Keith.
Page 29
We were then near the sign of the Three Mariners.
Page 31
The governor read it, and seemed surprised when he was told my age.
Page 41
This transaction fixed Ralph in his resolution of becoming a poet.
Page 42
] [Footnote 51: Peep show.
Page 48
I proposed some reasonable alterations in their chapel laws, and carried them against all opposition.
Page 71
The institution soon manifested its utility, was imitated by other towns and in other provinces.
Page 77
Page 98
When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.
Page 111
The use of these fireplaces in very many houses, both of this and the neighboring colonies, has been and is a great saving of wood to the inhabitants.
Page 113
; those, in case of vacancy by death, were to fill it by election from among the contributors.
Page 120
I asked who employed her to sweep there.
Page 142
Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers and exhortations.
Page 146
War was declared in 1756.
Page 157
It has been remarked, as an imperfection in the art of ship building, that it can never be known, till she is tried, whether a new ship will or will not be a good sailer; for that the model of a good sailing ship has been exactly followed in a new one, which has proved, on the contrary, remarkably dull.
Page 158
This indraught was probably the cause of what happened to us.
Page 175