. Property Protectors

Michael Brian Schiffer

in Draw the Lightning Down

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780520238022
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939851 | DOI:
. Property Protectors

Show Summary Details


This chapter reports that property protectors designed, installed, and used Benjamin Franklin's invention, the lightning conductor, to safeguard structures. It also addresses the unique and intriguing electrical technologies that the engineers invented in the course of evaluating designs for lightning-protection systems. The lightning conductor attracted controversy, not electricity, its pros and cons debated heatedly in both theological and scientific circles. It eventually enjoyed significant adoptions in the late eighteenth century, but it failed to go into general use. Benjamin Wilson asserted in conclusion that the use of pointed rods was poor science which did not promote the welfare of society. But once again, he failed to persuade. It is suggested that the lightning conductor at home was another materialization of Enlightenment ideals and of participation in elite culture. The lightning conductors installed today differ only in trivial details from his earliest specifications.

Keywords: property protectors; Benjamin Franklin; lightning conductor; Benjamin Wilson; Enlightenment; pointed rods

Chapter.  8765 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.