Go Fly a Kite

It was June, 1752 that one of the most famous and dangerous weather experiments may have been conducted. Most of us have seen the artist rendering of the scene and heard the story of Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment of flying a kite during a thunderstorm to determine if lightning was related to electricity.

It is not known for sure if Franklin did perform this experiment, but if he did, it is highly unlikely that the picture of Franklin holding a kite with a key at the end of the string is accurate. If the experiment was conducted in that way, he would have undoubtedly been killed by the electrical charge flowing down the string. In his writings, Ben Franklin was aware of the dangers of lightning and if he truly did this experiment, he probably used the kite to collect an electrical charge rather than waiting for lightning to hit his kite.

Others were not so wise and during the 1700s numerous individuals did die experimenting with lightning.

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