Franklin's lightning experiment, 1752

Franklin's lightning experiment, 1752

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Credit: AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Franklin's lightning experiment. Historical artwork of the US scientist Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) and his 21-year-old son William, performing their famous lightning experiment. On 15 June 1752 they flew a kite during a thunderstorm, with a metal wire on the kite attracting a lightning strike. Electricity flowed down the string to a key, charging a Leyden jar (capacitor) seen near William. This experiment proved that lightning was an electrical phenomenon, and supported Franklin's invention of lightning rods. Some scientists died repeating the experiment. This lithograph was published by the American Bank Note Company.

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