Kite Experiment and Lightning Rod
In order to prove that lightning is electricity, Franklin conducted his famous (and dangerous) kite experiment. Franklin’s hypothesis was that the lightning is an electrical phenomenon and, as such, it would be possible to transfer the electrical effect of lightning into another object. This transfer would eventually cause an electricity effect.
In June 1752, with the help of his son, Franklin decided to fly a kite, which was attached to a silk string; while on the other end, there was an iron key. Furthermore, they took a Leyden jar, took the thin metal wire, and tied both the key and Leyden jar with it. As the thunderstorm was coming, they finally attached a silk ribbon to the key.
Franklin flew the kite, holding it by the silk ribbon, and once the kite was aloft, he went into a barn. Once the thunder storm cloud passed over the kite, the negative charges from the cloud passed into the kite, down the silk string, through the key and finally into the jar. Since he was holding the dry silk ribbon, Franklin remained unaffected, but once he moved his other hand towards the iron key, he received a shock, since the negative charges in the key, were attracted to the positive charges in his body. His experiments resulted in the following: first, he proved that lightning is a static electricity; second, he invented the lightning rod and conductor, in order to provide the lightning an alternative path to the earth.
Fortunately, Ben Franklin’s kite experiment ended in success, as some other scientists weren’t as lucky (or brilliant, perhaps), as he was. Although this article does not (and cannot) cover what did Ben Franklin invented throughout his entire scientific life, these inventions are some of his best known and some of them are still widely used today.