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Benjamin Franklin. Engraving of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), American scientist, performing a lightning experiment with a kite in 1752. He originally tried to use a metal rod to attract the lightning, but delays in its construction led him to try using a kite instead. Lightning passed along the wet string of the kite and into a device for storing electrical charge (a Leyden Jar). Franklin's experiment proved that lightning and electricity were the same thing. Some scientists were killed trying to repeat the experiment. Franklin's electrical studies were published in Experiments and Observations on Electricity made at Philadelphia in America (1751).
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