Benjamin Franklin: His contribution to American History

Essay by nayrus_loveHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

There have been many people that influenced American history throughout centuries. One important man that influenced our country is Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin accomplished many things in his life. He was a writer, a publisher, a political figure and a scientist. However, one of the most influential out of these is his scientific discovery. Benjamin Franklin was destined to achieve international fame through his experiments in electricity. Franklin became interested in the natural phenomenon known as electricity. He became interested in electricity when he saw demonstrations about static charges from Leyden Jar. Soon after, he contacted Peter Collinson, a friend from London, and asked him to send glass tubes and data. Rubbing the glass tubes with silk, Benjamin was able to generate a static charge that could be used in his many experiments.

Franklin was among the first to suggest that lightning was naturally occurring

electricity and that it could be drawn from the clouds.

To prove this hypothesis, he set up

tall, pointed rods that provided an easy path for the electricity of lightning to follow.

Eventually, these pointed rods were modified to serve as lightning rods designed to

protect people's houses. By channeling the electricity of lightning strikes through a

safe route to the ground, lightning rods eliminated the threat of fires. In 1752, Franklin performed his famous kite experiment with the help of his twenty-one year old son, William. The kite was made with a sharp metallic wire put on top, and at the end of the kite string, Franklin tied a silk ribbon to which a key was firmly fastened. On a stormy day, lightning struck the kite, and electricity streamed down toward the key, showing the final proof of lightning's electrical nature. Miraculously, the charge was not strong enough to be fatal to Benjamin Franklin...