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


[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

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Page 6
Here they may establish a close relationship with one of the foremost Americans as well as one of the wisest men of his age.
Page 9
He took the manuscript, completed to 1731, with him when he returned to Philadelphia in 1775.
Page 23
I took the contrary side, perhaps a little for dispute's sake.
Page 37
He had a house, indeed, but without furniture, so he could not lodge me; but he got me a lodging at Mr.
Page 50
" So, putting the letter into my hand, he turn'd on his heel and left me to serve some customer.
Page 57
[48] About three miles.
Page 62
Crimps were sometimes employed to decoy men into such service as is here mentioned.
Page 64
secret was to be kept till they should arrive, and in the meantime I was to get work, if I could, at the other printing-house.
Page 72
You may find friends to assist you.
Page 79
When we were about to sign the above mentioned articles, which were to be binding on us, our heirs, etc.
Page 108
I therefore did not like the opposition of this new member, who was a gentleman of fortune and education, with talents that were likely to give him, in time, great influence in the House, which, indeed, afterwards happened.
Page 110
The multitudes of all sects and denominations that attended his sermons were enormous, and it was matter of speculation to me, who was one of the number, to observe the extraordinary influence.
Page 128
He then desired I would furnish him with a list of the names of persons I knew by experience to be generous and public-spirited.
Page 160
He gave me the first information that my old friend Jas.
Page 171
When this act however came over, the proprietaries, counselled by Paris, determined to oppose its receiving the royal assent.
Page 172
The Assembly looked into my entering into the first part of the engagement, as an essential service to the Province, since it secured the credit of the paper money then spread over all the country.
Page 174
] From "Father Abraham's Speech," 1760.
Page 177
I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my _whistle_, but disturbing all the family.
Page 184
Testaments, Psalters and Primers.
Page 187
_ The District over which the Duke of Berwick is to have the Command, extends to the Borders of the Bourbonnois; and the Court puts a great Confidence in the Care of that General to hinder the Infection from spreading.