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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 250

gun, leaning against the
back-wall, nearly opposite to where the brass wire came down on the
outside. The lightning fell upon the points, did no damage to the
rod they were fixed to; but the brass wire, all down till it came
opposite to the top of the gun-barrel, was destroyed[76]. There
the lightning made a hole through the wall or back of the chimney,
to get to the gun-barrel[77], down which it seems to have passed,
as, although it did not hurt the barrel, it damaged the butt of
the stock, and blew up some bricks of the hearth. The brass wire
below the hole in the wall remained good. No other damage, as I can
learn, was done to the house. I am told the same house had formerly
been struck by lightning, and much damaged, before these rods were
invented."----

FOOTNOTES:

[76] A proof that it was not of sufficient substance to conduct with
safety to itself (though with safety _so far_ to the wall) so large a
quantity of the electric fluid.

[77] A more substantial conductor.




_Mr. William Maine's Account of the Effects of the Lightning on his
Rod, dated at Indian Land, in South Carolina, Aug. 28, 1760._


----"I had a set of electrical points, consisting of three prongs, of
large brass wire tipt with silver, and perfectly sharp, each about
seven inches long; these were rivetted at equal distances into an
iron nut about three quarters of an inch square, and opened at top
equally to the distance of six or seven inches from point to point,
in a regular triangle. This nut was screwed very tight on the top
of an iron rod of above half an inch diameter, or the thickness of
a common curtain-rod, composed of several joints, annexed by hooks
turned at the ends of each joint, and the whole fixed to the chimney
of my house by iron staples. The points were elevated (_a_) six or
seven inches above the top of the chimney; and the lower joint sunk
three feet in the earth, in a perpendicular direction.

Thus stood the points on Tuesday last about five in the evening, when
the lightning broke with a violent explosion on the chimney, cut
the rod square off just under the nut, and I am persuaded, melted
the points, nut, and top of the rod, entirely up; as after the most
diligent search, nothing of either was found (_b_), and the top
of the remaining rod was cased over with a congealed solder. The
lightning ran down the rod, starting almost all the staples

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