By Michael B. Schiffer
Such a lot folks know--at least we have now heard--that Benjamin Franklin performed a few form of electric scan with a kite. What few people realize--and what this publication makes powerfully clear--is that Franklin performed a big function in laying the principles of contemporary electric technology and expertise. This fast paced e-book, wealthy with old information and anecdotes, brings to existence Franklin, the big overseas community of scientists and inventors during which he performed a key function, and their impressive innovations. We research what those early electric devices--from lighting fixtures and cars to musical and clinical instruments--looked like, how they labored, and what their utilitarian and symbolic meanings have been if you invented and used them. opposed to the interesting landscape of lifestyles within the eighteenth century, Michael Brian Schiffer tells the tale of the very beginnings of our glossy electric international.
The earliest electric applied sciences have been conceived within the laboratory equipment of physicists; as a result of their superb and various results, notwithstanding, those applied sciences speedily made their means into many different groups and actions. Schiffer conducts us from group to group, displaying how those applied sciences labored as they have been positioned to take advantage of in public lectures, innovative experiments in chemistry and biology, and scientific treatment. This tale brings to mild the arcane and long-forgotten innovations that made method for plenty of sleek technologies--including lightning rods (Franklin's invention), cardiac stimulation, xerography, and the interior combustion engine--and richly conveys the advanced relationships between technology, know-how, and tradition.
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Additional info for Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment
12 Several important instrument makers had an abiding interest in electricity, which enhanced their ability to offer, throughout the eighteenth century, electrical technologies invented in many communities. 15 Sold in a shop on Fleet Street, in London, these technologies were advertised in a book—published in 1714 — containing physics lectures by William Whiston and lavish illustrations of Hauksbee’s wares. 16 Several other instrument makers marketed electrical things before 1740. 18 Although Jan mainly carried on the daily operation of the family business, Petrus had many other interests.
Needless to say, after each new discovery in the laboratory, Hauksbee put together a demonstration and presented it to assembled members of the Royal Society. His ﬁndings, rapidly published in the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions (from 1704 through 1709), brought that institution to the leading edge of electrical science. 57 A second edition was published posthumously in 1719, perhaps revised by his nephew—also named Francis Hauksbee—who was an instrument maker (see chapter 3). Glass-based electrical machines, modeled on Hauksbee’s, would be widely adopted in the decades ahead as the principal generator of charge.
During the late 1730s and early 1740s, a handful of German electrophysicists, mostly university professors, took up the development of new electrical technology, especially machines and accessories. These men had many motives for inventing electrical devices. Some doubtless hoped that more powerful electrical machines, like more powerful microscopes and telescopes, would create new effects or render old effects easier to study. Others, however, sought to make machines whose operation required less direct human involvement.