PLAYING WITH LIGHTNING
On June 10, 1752, Ben Franklin conducted an experiment using a kite to capture lightning. He was unsuccessful. If successful, his tombstone might have noted his life span as 1706-1752 and not the actual 1706-1790. Most hit directly by lightning do die, but those close to a strike often can survive.
Lightning is electrostatic discharge that occurs about 45 times per second on our earth.
The amount of energy instantly discharged per average lightning is about 1 gigajoule, which equates to the electricity consumption of an average U.S. home in nine (9) days.
A mind experiment would suggest that, sadly, in the best case, only 650,000 US homes could be powered by fully harnessing all the lightning occurring in the US annually. Not a real good option for green energy.
Back to Franklin. Aside from his scientific work, he was a statesman, diplomat, postmaster, writer, and a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Here is Desilver’s map of Franklin’s “home state” of Pennsylvania from 1856. Philadelphia and the Lehigh Coal region are the insets.
Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.
Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Antique Maps & Fun Facts here on Loveland Beacon.