Benjamin Franklin


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was among the first to understand that electricity had positive and negative charges (the + and  – on today’s batteries) as well as recognizing lightning as a source of electricity in nature. He was the first to suggest the possibility of protecting buildings from electricity by using iron rods as a ground (lightning rod). In June 1752, he performed his famous kite experiment, drawing down electricity from the clouds and charging a Leyden jar from the key at the end of the string. This is the source of the phrase “to catch lightning in a bottle”.

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