Ben Franklin's Lightning Rod


Finding Out About Electricity

In the mid-eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin thought that lightning was electricity. He thought that, because the color was similar, the way it crackling was like the electricity in his lab. Franklin decided to do an experiment. During a thunderstorm he got a kite and tied a key to it, he then held the silk string and felt an electric current. The only witness of the experiment was his son, William. Later in his life Benjamin Franklin did many other electronic experiments.

Making the Lightning Rod    

At that time lightning caused many fires. During storms lightning struck churches and other tall buildings. Franklin thought he could neutralized. If lightning was electricity than metal was a great conductor because electricity went through metal. He believed that if a conductor would be elevated and connected to the ground, lightning would strike the rod instead of the building and then the electric current would go through the metal rod and into the ground. 

He developed a pointed rod 8 to 10 feet long. The other end had a metal cable connected to it. The rod was connected to the side of the building. The end of the  cable was buried about 10 feet underground. When the lightning struck it hit the top of the metal rod, the electric current goes through the rod into the cable and down into the ground.  The lightning rod is still used today.    

Lightning Rods Today

Currently lightning rods are made of copper. Copper is a better conductor for electricity and causes less fires. In cities in Pennselvania you can still find original Ben Franklin lightning rods. In Philadelphia there are Lightning Rods handmade by Ben Franklin. The old Lightning Rods are dusty and green from 

Interesting Links

Other Ben Franklin Inventions 
Ben Franklin Lightning Rod at Franklin Institute
Wikipedia, the Lightning Rod  
US History Ben Franklin 

9/27/2013 12:18:15 am

Ben Franklin was a great inventor

9/27/2013 12:28:14 am

How do you know? You read Ben and Me with Marina?

9/27/2013 12:27:22 am

Cool website!😀


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