Ben Franklin was born in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. He was not only a scientist and inventor, but also a noted statesman, printer, philosopher, postmaster, musician, and economist. Franklin was even one of the founding fathers of our country, signing the Declaration of Independence with Jefferson and others.
Franklin is most famous for his curiosity and experimentation with electricity and other natural occurrences. In 1743, he observed that storms travel in an opposite direction than their winds. Traveling on horseback, he would chase these storms and whirlwinds and found that they could be plotted. He found that northeast storms actually started in the southeast. He even began printing his weather forecasts in his almanac, making him a weatherman!
From observing these storms he became more interested in the effects of lightning. As an inventor, Franklin was most noted for his famous kite flight experiment. Franklin did not invent electricity, but as a result of his experiments, he did invent the lightning rod, which protects buildings, homes, and ships from lightning damage from a strike.
Franklin suspected that lightning was an electrical current coming from nature. On a stormy day in June 1752, he decided to test his theory using a child's toy kite and a metal key. This experiment would prove lightning is really a stream of electrified air, or plasma as we call it today. This led him to more experiments and the development of several electrical terms.
Ben Franklin Electrical Terms:
- Electric Shock