The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, Vol. 2 [of 3]

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 22

is easy. I take it, that the cloud begins
first of all to pour out drops at that particular spot, or _foramen_;
and, when that current of drops increases, so as to force down wind
and vapour, the spout becomes so far as that goes opaque. I take it,
that no clouds drop spouts, but such as make very fast, and happen
to condense in a particular spot, which perhaps is coldest, and
gives a determination downwards, so as to make a passage through the
subjacent atmosphere.

If spouts ascend, it is to carry up the warm rarefied air below, to
let down all and any that is colder above; and, if so, they must
carry it through the cloud they go into (for that is cold and dense,
I imagine) perhaps far into the higher region, making a wonderful
appearance at a convenient distance to observe it, by the swift rise
of a body of vapour, above the region of the clouds. But as this has
never been observed in any age, if it be supposeable that is all.

I cannot learn by mariners, that any wind blows towards a spout more
than any other way; but it blows towards a whirlwind, for a large
distance round.

I suppose there has been no instance of the water of a spout being
salt, when coming across any vessel at sea. I suppose too, that there
have been no salt rains; these would make the case clear.

I suppose it is from some unhappy effects of these dangerous
creatures of nature, that sailors have an universal dread on them of
breaking in their decks, should they come across them. I imagine
spouts, in cold seasons, as Gordon's in the Downs, prove the descent.

_Query._ Whether there is not always more or less cloud, first, where
a spout appears?

Whether they are not, generally, on the borders of trade-winds; and
whether this is for, or against me?

Whether there be any credible account of a whirlwind's carrying up
all the water in a pool, or small pond: as when shoal, and the banks
low, a strong gust might be supposed to blow it all out?

Whether a violent tornado, of a small extent, and other sudden
and strong gusts, be not winds from above, descending nearly
perpendicular; and, whether many that are called whirlwinds at sea,
are any other than these; and so might be called air-spouts, if they
were objects of sight?

I overlooked, in its proper place, Stuart's No. 11, which is curious
for its inequalities, and, in particular, the approach to breaking,
which, if it would not be

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Text Comparison with Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia in America

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So wonderfully are these two states of Electricity, the _plus_ and _minus_, combined and balanced in this miraculous bottle! situated and related to each other in a manner that I can by no means comprehend! If it were possible that a bottle should in one part contain a quantity of air strongly comprest, and in another part a perfect vacuum, we know the equilibrium would be instantly restored _within_.
Page 5
Tho', as in EXPER.
Page 7
To prove that the electrical fire is _drawn off_ by the point, if you take the blade of the bodkin out of the wooden handle, and fix it in a stick of sealing wax, and then present it at the distance aforesaid, or if you bring it very near, no such effect follows; but sliding one finger along the wax till you touch the blade, and the ball flies to the shot immediately.
Page 10
--We find granulated lead better to fill the phial with, than water, being easily warmed, and keeping warm and dry in damp air.
Page 12
But if the phials were charged, the one through the hook, and the other[3] through the coating, the ball, when it is repelled from one hook, will be as strongly attracted by the other, and play vigorously between them, 'till both phials are nearly discharged.
Page 15
Then dexterously placing it again between the leaden plates, and compleating a circle between the two surfaces, a violent shock ensued.
Page 17
--If a ring of persons take the shock among them, the experiment is called, _The Conspirators_.
Page 19
'Tis amazing to observe in how small a portion of glass a great electrical force may lie.
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Particles of air thus loaded would be drawn nearer together by the mutual attraction of the particles of water, did not the fire, common or electrical, assist their repulsion.
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So do the flashes of lightning; the clouds being very irregular bodies.
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We did not think of its being deprived of sight;.
Page 42
But, if the electrical fluid so easily pervades glass, how does the vial become _charged_ (as we term it) when we hold it in our hands? Would not the fire thrown in by the wire pass through to our hands, and so escape into the floor? Would not the bottle in that case be left just as we found it, uncharged, as we know a metal bottle so attempted to be charged would be? Indeed, if there be the least crack, the minutest solution of continuity in the glass, though it remains so tight that nothing else we know of will pass, yet the extremely subtile electrical fluid flies through such a crack with the greatest freedom, and such a bottle we know can never be charged: What then makes the difference between such a bottle and one that is sound, but this, that the fluid can pass through the one, and not through the other?[8] 29.
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That this electrical fluid or fire is strongly attracted by glass, we know from the quickness and violence with which it is resumed by the part that had been deprived of it, when there is an opportunity.
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If the phial really exploded at both ends, and discharged fire from both coating and wire, the balls would be _more_ electrified and recede _farther_: for none of the fire can escape, the wax handle preventing.
Page 51
_Windmil wheels_, &c.