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Lightning conductor
(1,017 words)

Benjamin Franklin is generally regarded as the inventor of the lightning conductor. Others had speculated that the clouds carried an electrical charge, but Franklin was the first, in his treatise Experiments (1751) [1], to formulate two genuinely new insights: (1) pointed metal rods are capable of discharging electricity over long distances; (2) if these rods are earthed/grounded, they can protect buildings from lightning strikes. The original idea was to release the electricity in the atmosphere in a controlled way without provoking a stro…

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Hochadel, Oliver, “Lightning conductor”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 23 March 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_017701>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20190801

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