|Indeed, Benjamin Franklin's work in
the discovery and applications of electricity has proved
instrumental to both technology and civilization. Throughout his
life, the friendships he made and the knowledge he sought utilized
his own imagination, practicality, and experimentation. His
enthusiasm and bold curiosity has produced remarkable results, and
undoubtedly has placed him first among the scientific achievers of
Even as a child, Benjamin Franklin had a predilection for natural phenomena. As he grew older, he began to experiment and test his own theories, giving rise to his success as an inventor and scientist.
Long before Franklin's lifetime, people had acknowledged the existence of forces which encompassed the entire field of electricity. Many scientists in Europe conducted their own tests in order to explain and understand the presence of these electrical forces. They had witnessed phenomena such as friction, attraction, and repulsion. In fact, their studies had progressed to the point where they had already distinguished two types of electricity: vitreous (produced on glass rubbed with silk) and resinous (produced on resin rubbed with wool or fur). However, until 1746, experimentation with electricity was mere dabbling. In January of that year, Pieter van Musschenbroek discovered the Leyden Jar. This served as the basis for early electrical research.
Franklin and his two close friends, Peter Collinson and Philip Syng, took great interests in the science and immediately began their own studies. Benjamin's home on Market Street was forever cluttered with apparatus ranging from a saltcellar to the gold on the binding of a book. Even though the three worked individually, they were always in communication. In 1749, Franklin made, for the first time in history, an electrical battery. He continued to experiment and construct electrical devices.
Franklin and son performing legendary kite experiment
It was Franklin's experiments with lightning, however, that proved to be definitive in his research and studies in electricity. Many people are familiar with the famous story of how the scientist attached a key to a kite and went out into a storm, in order to test his hypothesis that lightning and electricity are manifestations of the same natural force. Indeed, his answer came loud and clear! Afterwards, Franklin further investigated lightning and other natural sources of electricity. His invention of the lightning rod as well as his study of weather patterns proved his depth of knowledge and soon lead to global fame.
The following is a list of words pertaining to electricity which are associated with Benjamin Franklin: