Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin explains how to replicate his electrical experiment in the December 1752 issue of The Gentleman's Magazine

The Gentleman's Magazine (London: Sylvanus Urban, printed by E. Cave, jun. at St. John's Gate, December 1752), 5.25” x 8.25”, pp. [541 - 587]. With four engraved plates, one hand colored, another folding (10 x 8 in.). Binding remnants and stitch holes at left margin, minor corner and other creasing, pages clean overall.

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 accomodated with a tail, 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."

This 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". Issue includes an excellent colored plate of a "Crested Fly-Catcher" as well as a "Horizontal Windmill" with an accompanying illustrated plate.

Item: 56383

Price: $1,500.00
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Benjamin Franklin
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