Lightning striking St, Mark's Tower 1745

Lightning striking St, Mark's Tower 1745

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: On 23 April, 1745 lightning struck St. Mark's Tower, Venice causing considerable damage. The tower had previously been struck in 1388, 1417, 1489, 1548, 1565 and 1653 and was struck again in 1761 and 1762. It was damaged or destroyed on a number of occasions. The Church took the view that lightning was sent by God to indicate his displeasure so humans should not intervene to prevent damage. In 1752 Benjamin Franklin carried out his famous experiments with a kite proving that lightning was an electrical discharge rather than devine intervention. Franklin went on to develop lightning conductors which protected buildings from damage due to lightning. It was not until 1766, 14 years after his discovery, that a lightning conductor was finally fitted to St.Mark's Tower. There was no further damage due to lightning strikes. However, the tower collapsed in 1902 and was then rebuilt.

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Keywords: 1754, benjamin franklin, campanile, damage, devine intervention, electrical discharge, franklin, frequent lightning strikes, kite experiment, lightning, lightning conductor, lightning rod, lightning strike, st. mark's tower, venice

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