Lightning conductor umbrella, 1770s

Lightning conductor umbrella, 1770s

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Lightning conductor umbrella. Historical illustration of a man carrying a portable lightning conductor umbrella. The metal rod is connected by a trailing metal cable, intended to provide a route for lightning to travel safely down to the ground. This device was invented by French physician Jacques Barbeu-Dubourg (1709-1779). This sort of device would provide little protection against the effects of a lightning strike. It is better to take shelter in a safe place, rather than carry an object that increases your height and attracts lightning. Artwork from 'Electricite' (1911) by Max de Nansouty, part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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