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

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 259

to water. Iron is a cheap metal; but if it were dearer, as this is
a public thing the expence is insignificant; therefore I would have
the rod at least an inch thick, to allow for its gradually wasting by
rust; it will last as long as the mast, and may be renewed with it.
The sharp point for five or six inches should be gilt.

But there is another circumstance of importance to the strength,
goodness, and usefulness of the powder, which does not seem to have
been enough attended to: I mean the keeping it perfectly dry. For
want of a method of doing this, much is spoiled in damp magazines,
and much so damaged as to become of little value.--If, instead of
barrels it were kept in cases of bottles well corked; or in large tin
canisters, with small covers shutting close by means of oiled paper
between, or covering the joining on the canister; or if in barrels,
then the barrels lined with thin sheet lead; no moisture in either of
these methods could possibly enter the powder, since glass and metals
are both impervious to water.

By the latter of these means you see tea is brought dry and crisp
from China to Europe, and thence to America, though it comes all the
way by sea in the damp hold of a ship. And by this method, grain,
meal, &c. if well dried before it is put up, may be kept for ages
sound and good.

There is another thing very proper to line small barrels with; it
is what they call tin-foil, or leaf-tin, being tin milled between
rollers till it becomes as thin as paper, and more pliant, at the
same time that its texture is extremely close. It may be applied
to the wood with common paste, made with boiling-water thickened
with flour; and, so laid on; will lie very close and stick well:
but I should prefer a hard sticky varnish for that purpose, made of
linseed oil much boiled. The heads might be lined separately, the tin
wrapping a little round their edges. The barrel, while the lining is
laid on, should have the end hoops slack, so that the staves standing
at a little distance from each other, may admit the head into its
groove. The tin-foil should be plyed into the groove. Then, one head
being put in, and that end hooped tight, the barrel would be fit to
receive the powder, and when the other head is put in and the hoops
drove up, the powder would be safe from moisture even

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Text Comparison with Benjamin Franklin and the First Balloons

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The five letters which I have the honor to present were written to Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society of London, in 1783, when Franklin was Minister to the Court of France and, with the collateral documents, they give perhaps the most complete and accurate account of the beginning of aerial navigation, enlivened with the humor and speculation characteristic of the writer.
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But possibly it may pave the Way to some Discoveries in Natural Philosophy of which at present we have no Conception.
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One has ordered four of 15 feet Diameter each; I know not with what Purpose; But such is the present Enthusiasm for promoting and improving this Discovery, that probably we shall soon make considerable Progress in the art of constructing and using the Machines.
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Fond acquainted me yesterday that a Book on the Subject which has been long expected, will be publish'd in a few Days, and I shall send you one of them.
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Multitudes in Paris saw the Balloon passing; but did not know there were Men with it, it being then.
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But the Expence of this Machine, Filling included, will exceed, it is said, 10,000 Livres.
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We should not suffer Pride to prevent our progress in Science.
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30, 1783 Dear Sir, I did myself the honour of writing to you the Beginning of last Week, and I sent you by the Courier, M.
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The Persons embark'd were Mr.
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This Place is near 7 Leagues from Paris.
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" "Aiant encor" might be "Ayant encore", as printed in the "Journal des scavans" of January 1784, but was not corrected here; p.