• Founding Father Ben Franklin Explains Replicating His Electrical Experiment in 1792

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    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was a renowned printer, publisher, author, inventor, scientist, diplomat and public official. He invented the Franklin stove and the lightning rod and published Experiments and Observations in ElectricityAn important Revolutionary leader, he attended the Albany Congress, sat in the Second Continental Congress and helped draft the Declaration of Independence, which he signed.  He was the first postmaster general and a diplomat to France, where he negotiated and signed the Treaty of Paris and the Treaty of Alliance with France. He also attended the Constitutional Convention and signed the U.S. Constitution.

     

    Offering The Gentlemen’s Magazine [London: Sylvanus Urban, printed by E. Cave, jun. At St. John’s Gate, December 1752, 5 ¼ x 8 ¼ pp. 541-587.  With four engraved plates, one hand colored, another folding (8 x 10).

     

    Of great interest is a letter from Ben Franklin, Philadelphia, October 19, 1752, printed on pages 560-561. In part, “As frequent mention is made in the newspapers from Europe, of the success of the Philadelphia experiment for drawing the electric fire from clouds by means of pointed rods of iron erected on high buildings, etc., it may be agreeable to inform the curious that the same experiment has succeeded in Philadelphia, tho’ made in a different and more easy manner, which is as follows: Make a small cross of two light strips of cedar…tie the corners of the [silk] handkerchief to the extremities of the cross, so you have the body of a kite; which being properly accommodated with a tall, loop, and string, will rise in the air, like those made of paper…To the top of the upright stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp pointed wire, rising a foot or more above the wood.  To the end of the twine, next the hand, is to be ty’d a silk ribbon, and where the silk and twine join, a key may be fastened.  This kite is to be raised when a thunder gust appears to be coming on…care must be taken…” Signed in print, “B.F.”

     

    The issue also included an eclectic assortment of articles on science, industry, the arts and literature including “improvement in grinding concave glasses,” a “New theory of Aurora Borealis” and “Dr. Halley’s observation of an eclipse.”  This issue includes an excellent colored plate of a “Crested Fly-Catcher” as well as a “Horizontal Windmill” with an accompanying illustrated plate.

     

    Binding remnants and stitch holes at left margin. Minor corner and other creasing. Pages overall clean.

     

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