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Kids History: Ben Franklin and His Kite



Who Invented the Kite?

No one knows for sure who first attached a paper membrane to a stiff frame with string and watched it float off in the breeze. Traditionally, historians give credit for the invention of the kite to the Chinese. They admit, though, that China may get credit simply because its history has been well-preserved in written records.

One popular Chinese legend tells the story of a Chinese farmer who tied his hat to his head with a piece of string to keep it from blowing away. In a stubborn wind, the hat nevertheless managed to float off for a ways with the farmer trailing behind it holding the string. Thus, the legend says, the kite was born.

Modern historians have found evidence in the oral histories of Malaysia, Indonesia, Hawaii, Polynesia and New Zealand that indicates that kites may have been independently invented in these areas at about the same time they were first seen in China.

If we look solely at written history, though, Chinese philosopher Mo-tse was arguably the first person ever to build a kite. Mo-tse lived from approximately 468 B.C. to around 376 B.C.

Written records indicate that he created a kite in the shape of a bird over the course of three years and then flew it only one day. Based on these records, it's safe to say the kite has been around for at least 2,300 years!

The Chinese created a holiday — the Festival of Ascending on High — based on their love of kite flying. On the ninth day of the ninth month each year, the Chinese celebrate by flying kites.

Kites eventually made their way from Asia to the rest of the world. Marco Polo is given credit for bringing the kite to Europe after his trips to China.

Today, millions of people around the world, both young and old, fly kites just for the pure joy of it. But kites have served many purposes beyond entertainment .

In ancient China, General Han Hsin flew a kite over an enemy compound and used the length of the kite string to estimate how far his soldiers would need to tunnel to get inside.

Hundreds of years later, scientists used kites as tools for experimentation. Alexander Wilson used kites to lift thermometers high into the atmosphere to measure temperatures.

Of course, the most famous scientific experiment involving a kite has to be Ben Franklin's legendary use of a kite and a metal key to study lightning during a thunderstorm.

Kites still serve important purposes today. In addition to being a favorite toy of children around the world, kites are used by fishermen to lay bait. They are also used by photographers to take pictures with a bird's-eye view.


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You are free to use benjamin franklin and the kite experiment music track (even for commercial purposes), but you must include the following in your video description (copy & paste) It also tells what happened, why he did it, and the information he was able to glean from it. On june 10, 1752, benjamin franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects ambient electrical charge in a leyden jar, enabling him to demonstrate the connection between lightning and electricity. Andrews university in scotland) and immortalized in the benjamin west painting above was first described to an international audience in a letter to peter collinson in. The kite being raised, a considerable time elapsed before there was any appearance of its being electrified. While the hemp string to the kite was allowed to get wet in the rain to provide conductivity. Benjamin franklin animated gifs

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Benjamin Franklin's Famous Kite Experiment Explained in . from www.historygallery.com From carl van doren's benjamin franklin, � by carl the episode of the kite, so firm and fixed in legend, turns out to be dim and mystifying in fact. Herein, what did benjamin franklin's kite experiment prove? This moment in #highvoltagehistory is one of the most famous legends regarding electricity. The connection between electricity and lightning was known but not fully understood. The kite was struck by lightning and, when franklin moved his hand towards the key, a spark jumped across and he felt a shock, proving that lightning was electrical in nature.

Benjamin franklin is a founding father of the united states of america and had an influential part in the revolution.

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I. Franklin’s Statement

As frequent Mention is made in the News Papers from Europe, of the Success of the Philadelphia Experiment for drawing the Electric Fire from Clouds by Means of pointed Rods of Iron erected on high Buildings, &c. it may be agreeable to the Curious to be inform’d, that the same Experiment has succeeded in Philadelphia, tho’ made in a different and more easy Manner, which any one may try, as follows.2

Make a small Cross of two light Strips of Cedar, the Arms so long as to reach to the four Corners of a large thin Silk Handkerchief when extended tie the Corners of the Handkerchief to the Extremities of the Cross, so you have the Body of a Kite which being properly accommodated with a Tail, Loop and String, will rise in the Air, like those made of Paper but this being of Silk is fitter to bear the Wet and Wind of a Thunder Gust without tearing. To the Top of the upright Stick of the Cross is to be fixed a very sharp pointed Wire, rising a Foot or more above the Wood. To the End of the Twine, next the Hand, is to be tied a silk Ribbon, and where the Twine and the silk join, a Key may be fastened. This Kite is to be raised when a Thunder Gust appears to be coming on, and the Person who holds the String must stand within a Door, or Window, or under some Cover, so that the Silk Ribbon may not be wet and Care must be taken that the Twine does not touch the Frame of the Door or Window. As soon as any of the Thunder Clouds come over the Kite, the pointed Wire will draw the Electric Fire from them, and the Kite, with all the Twine, will be electrified, and the loose Filaments of the Twine will stand out every Way, and be attracted by an approaching Finger. And when the Rain has wet the Kite and Twine, so that it can conduct the Electric Fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the Key on the Approach of your Knuckle. At this Key the Phial may be charg’d and from Electric Fire thus obtain’d, Spirits may be kindled, and all the other Electric Experiments be perform’d, which are usually done by the Help of a rubbed Glass Globe or Tube and thereby the Sameness of the Electric Matter with that of Lightning compleatly demonstrated.


Kids History: Ben Franklin and His Kite - HISTORY

From Carl Van Doren's "Benjamin Franklin," ©1938 by Carl Van Doren

"Before that he had thought of another way of proving his theory, and with the help of his electrical kite had drawn lightning from a cloud. The episode of the kite, so firm and fixed in legend, turns out to be dim and mystifying in fact. Franklin himself never wrote the story of the most dramatic of his experiments. All that is known about what he did on that famous day, of no known date, comes from Joseph Priestley's account, published fifteen years afterwards but read in manuscript by Franklin, who must have given Priestley the precise, familiar details.

"As every circumstance relating to so capital a discovery (the greatest, perhaps, since the time of Sir Isaac Newton) cannot but give pleasure to all my readers, I shall endeavour to gratify them with the communication of a few particulars which I have from the best authority.

"The Doctor, having published his method of verifying his hypothesis concerning the sameness of electricity with the matter of lightning, was waiting for the erection of a spire [on Christ Church] in Philadelphia to carry his views into execution not imagining that a pointed rod of a moderate height could answer the purpose when it occurred to him that by means of a common kite he could have better access to the regions of thunder than by any spire whatever. Preparing, therefore, a large silk handkerchief and two cross-sticks of a proper length on which to extend it, he took the opportunity of the first approaching thunderstorm to take a walk in the fields, in which there was a shed convenient for his purpose. But, dreading the ridicule which too commonly attends unsuccessful attempts in science, he communicated his intended experiment to nobody but his son" &mdash then twenty-one, not a child as in the traditional illustrations of the scene &mdash "who assisted him in raising the kite.

"The kite being raised, a considerable time elapsed before there was any appearance of its being electrified. One very promising cloud had passed over it without any effect when, at length, just as he was beginning to despair of his contrivance, he observed some loose threads of the hempen string to stand erect, and to avoid one another, just as if they had been suspended on a common conductor. Struck with this promising appearance, he immediately presented his knuckle to the key, and (let the reader judge of the exquisite pleasure he must have felt at that moment) the discovery was complete. He perceived a very evident electric spark. Others succeeded, even before the string was wet, so as to put the matter past all dispute, and when the rain had wet the string he collected electric fire very copiously. This happened in June 1752, a month after the electricians in France had verified the same theory, but before he heard of anything they had done."


Contents

Speculations of Jean-Antoine Nollet had led to the issue of the electrical nature of lightning being posed as a prize question at Bordeaux in 1749. In 1750, it was the subject of public discussion in France, with a dissertation of Denis Barberet receiving a prize in Bordeaux Barberet proposed a cause in line with the triboelectric effect. The same year, Franklin reversed his previous skepticism of electrical lightning's attraction to high points. [1] The physicist Jacques de Romas also wrote a mémoire with similar ideas that year, and later defended them as independent of Franklin's. [2]

In 1752, Franklin proposed an experiment with conductive rods to attract lightning to a leyden jar, an early form of capacitor. Such an experiment was carried out in May 1752 at Marly-la-Ville in northern France by Thomas-François Dalibard. [3] An attempt to replicate the experiment killed Georg Wilhelm Richmann in Saint Petersburg in August 1753 he was thought to be the victim of ball lightning. [4] Franklin himself is said to have conducted the experiment in June 1752, supposedly on the top of the spire on Christ Church in Philadelphia. However, the spire at Christ Church was not added until 1754. [5]

Franklin's kite experiment was performed in Philadelphia in June 1752, according to the account by Priestley. [6] Franklin described the experiment in the Pennsylvania Gazette in October 19, 1752, [7] [8] without mentioning that he himself had performed it. [9] This account was read to the Royal Society on December 21 and printed as such in the Philosophical Transactions. [6] A more complete account of Franklin's experiment was given by Joseph Priestley in 1767, who presumably learned the details directly from Franklin, who was in London at the time Priestley wrote the book. [6]

According to the 1767 Priestley account, Franklin realized the dangers of using conductive rods and instead used the conductivity of a wet hemp string attached to a kite. This allowed him to stay on the ground while his son assisted him to fly the kite from the shelter of a nearby shed. This enabled Franklin and his son to keep the silk string of the kite dry to insulate them while the hemp string to the kite was allowed to get wet in the rain to provide conductivity. A house key belonging to Benjamin Loxley was attached to the hemp string and connected to a Leyden jar a silk string was attached to this. "At this key he charged phials, and from the electric fire thus obtained, he kindled spirits, and performed all other electrical experiments which are usually exhibited by an excited globe or tube." The kite was not hit by visible lightning had it been, Franklin would almost certainly have been killed. [10] However, Franklin did notice that loose threads of the kite string were repelling each other and deduced that the Leyden jar was being charged. He moved his hand near the key and observed an electric spark, [6] proving the electric nature of lightning. [11]

The Pennsylvania Gazette ' s account Edit

The kite experiment was described in The Pennsylvania Gazette on October 19, 1752 as follows:

Franklin's Statement

Philadelphia, October 19, 1752

As frequent Mention is made in the News Papers from Europe, of the Success of the Philadelphia Experiment for drawing the Electric Fire from Clouds by Means of pointed Rods of Iron erected on high Buildings, &c. it may be agreeable to the Curious to be inform'd, that the same Experiment has succeeded in Philadelphia, tho' made in a different and more easy Manner, which any one may try, as follows.

Make a small Cross of two light Strips of Cedar, the Arms so long as to reach to the four Corners of a large thin Silk Handkerchief when extended tie the Corners of the Handkerchief to the Extremities of the Cross, so you have the Body of a Kite which being properly accommodated with a Tail, Loop and String, will rise in the Air, like those made of Paper but this being of Silk is fitter to bear the Wet and Wind of a Thunder Gust without tearing. To the Top of the upright Stick of the Cross is to be fixed a very sharp pointed Wire, rising a Foot or more above the Wood. To the End of the Twine, next the Hand, is to be tied a silk Ribbon, and where the Twine and the silk join, a Key may be fastened. This Kite is to be raised when a Thunder Gust appears to be coming on, and the Person who holds the String must stand within a Door, or Window, or under some Cover, so that the Silk Ribbon may not be wet and Care must be taken that the Twine does not touch the Frame of the Door or Window. As soon as any of the Thunder Clouds come over the Kite, the pointed Wire will draw the Electric Fire from them, and the Kite, with all the Twine, will be electrified, and the loose Filaments of the Twine will stand out every Way, and be attracted by an approaching Finger. And when the Rain has wet the Kite and Twine, so that it can conduct the Electric Fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the Key on the Approach of your Knuckle. At this Key the Phial may be charg'd and from Electric Fire thus obtain'd, Spirits may be kindled, and all the other Electric Experiments be perform'd, which are usually done by the Help of a rubbed Glass Globe or Tube and thereby the Sameness of the Electric Matter with that of Lightning compleatly demonstrated.


Benjamin Franklin

STOCK MONTAGE/GETTY IMAGES Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706—April 17, 1790) was a scientist, an inventor, a writer, and a statesman. He helped draft the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston on January 17, 1706. He learned to read at an early age. But his father, Josiah Franklin, pulled him out of school when he was 10 years old. He sent Ben to work in the family candle and soap shop. Ben grew restless with the work. When he turned 12, his father sent him to work in a printer’s shop. It was owned by Ben’s older brother, James.

Ben learned all about the newspaper business. At the time, printing was done by hand. The printer laid out the page letter by letter on a printing press. Ben learned how to build sentences with care. He also learned to write. He wrote political essays. He did not sign his name to the essays. Instead, he signed them Silence Dogood. This was so readers would think they were written by an ordinary person in the town. But his brother James did not want Ben to write. He often beat him. So at 16, Ben fled to Philadelphia. He would call the city home for the rest of his life.


Inventions and Improvements

Benjamin Franklin’s inventions were practical and designed to make everyday life easier. He never patented any of his inventions, likely costing him a fortune. He considered them a gift to the public. In his autobiography he wrote: “As we enjoy the advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours and this we should do freely and generously”.

Swimming fins

Franklin loved swimming. When he was 11 years old he invented swimming fins. It was his first documented invention, he made a pair of oval wooden planks with holes in the center. By grasping the planks with his hands they gave him extra thrust when swimming. He also tried to strap boards in his ankles but found them clunky.

Franklin wrote in his autobiography:

“When I was a boy, I made two oval palettes, each about 10″ long and 6″ broad, with a hole for the thumb in order to retain it fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter’s palette. In swimming, I pushed the edges of these forward and I struck the water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam faster by means of these palettes, but they fatigued my wrists. I also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals, but I was not satisfied with them because I observed that the stroke is partly given by the inside of the feet and the ankles, and not entirely with the soles of the feet”.

For his contribution to the sport Franklin was posthumously indicted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

The Glass armonica

When in London he saw for the first time musical glasses by which glasses were arranged on a table, rubbed around the rims with wet fingers to produce musical notes. To tune them water had to be poured over them to obtain the right notes.

Franklin though he could improve the experience of playing music with glasses. He arranged the glasses according to size and fixed them on a spindle. The spindle was set on a case and turned by a wheel. He called it the armonica and became very popular in its day. Mozart and Beethoven composed for it.

The Franklin stove

In 1742 Franklin invented the Franklin Stove also known as the Pennsylvania Fireplace.

Fireplaces were the main source of heat in the 18 th century. They were inefficient and dangerous as they consumed a lot of wood, produced a lot of smoke and sparkles that could cause fires. Franklin was curious as to where the air that went up the chimney came from. He created an open stove made of cast iron, he then sought a method to make it more efficient by recirculating the hot air within the house through an inverted siphon and providing the fireplace with direct access to outside air. In addition to creating a stove that needed less amount of wood he created a safer stove that prevented fires.

He wrote a pamphlet explaining its functions “An account of the new-invented Pennsylvania fire place”. He was offered a patent for the right to sell it for one entire year but declined from principle.

Lightning rod

Franklin speculated about the usefulness of lightning rods for several years, since Philadelphia has a flat geography he was waiting for the Christ Church to be built so that he could complete his experiment. One day it occurred to him that he could conduct the experiment by flying a kite.

In his Poor Richard’s Almanac of 1753 he describes how to secure houses from lightning.

It has pleased God and his goodness mankind, at length to discover to them the means of securing their habitations and other buildings from mischief by thunder and lightning. The method is this: Provide a simall iron rod but of such a length that one end being three or four deet in the moist ground, the other may be six or eight feet above the highest part of the building. To the upper end of the rod fasten about a foot of brass wire, the size of a common knitting needle, sharpened to a fine point the rod may be secured to the house by a few small staples. If the house or barn be ling, there may be a rod and point at each end, and a middling wire along the ridge from one to the other. A house thus furnished will not be damaged by lightning, it being attracted by the points and passing thro the metal into the ground without hurting anything.

Street lamps

Street lamps supplied by London were round globe shaped lamps where air could not circulate letting smoke accumulate obstructing the light. Cleaning proved too time consuming and they were too fragile that an accidental stroke would demolish it.

Franklin proposed an idea he saw at a neighbor’s house, Mr. John Clifton. He suggested making street lamps of four flat panes with a long funnel above to draw up the smoke and crevices below to allow air. This way they were kept clean and the city would be well illuminated. He also discovered that two wick tubes burning side by side a certain distance apart gave more light than two separate burners. Whale oil was used as fuel.

Bifocals

Benjamin Franklin noticed that the glasses needed to see at distance were not proper for reading as they required different optical powers. He had two pairs which he switched regularly when he needed to read but found it troublesome. He therefore had the glasses cut in half and each half was glued to the half of the other pair. By this means he did not have to change spectacles constantly and only move his eyes up or down as he want to see far or near.

Odometer

The odometer has been around since ancient times Franklin did not invent it but adapted it in a way that had not been used before. Franklin became Postmaster General in 1753 and sought to improve the post office service and make it more profitable. He travelled often from Philadelphia to Boston and wanted to find the quickest route for the delivery of letters.

He designed an odometer that attached to the front wheel of the letter carriage which measured the number of revolutions of the wheel. Each revolution was counted by dials and by the end of the trip the mailman would know the distance travelled by multiplying the number of revolutions by the circumference of the wheel.

Franklin determined which routes were the quickest. He determined postal rates based on distance and weight and were standardized for all colonies. His improvements turned the American Post Offices profitable for the first time.

Flexible urinary catheter

The flexible urinary catheter was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1752 when his brother James suffered from bladder stones. He improved on conventional catheters which had rigid tubes that had to be inserted into the bladder to drain urine. He substituted his brother’s catheter with a flexible tube which was less painful to insert.


Kids History: Ben Franklin and His Kite - HISTORY

Written by Benjamin Franklin to Peter Collinson, October 19, 1752

Make a small cross of two light strips of cedar, the arms so long as to reach to the four corners of a large thin silk handkerchief when extended tie the corners of the handkerchief to the extremities of the cross, so you have the body of a kite which being properly accommodated with a tail, loop, and string, will rise in the air, like those made of paper but this being of silk is fitter to bear the wet and wind of a thunder gust without tearing. To the top of the upright stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp pointed wire, rising a foot or more above the wood. To the end of the twine, next the key may be fastened. This kite is to be raised when a thunder-gust appears to be coming on, and the person who holds the string must stand within a door or window, or under some cover, so that the silk ribbon may not be wet and care must be taken that the twine does not touch the frame of the door or window. As soon as any of the thunder clouds come over the kite, the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, and the loose filaments of the twine, will stand out every way, and be attracted by an approaching finger. And when the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream out plentifully from the key on the approach of your knuckle. At this key the phial may be charged: and from electric fire thus obtained, spirits may be kindled, and all the other electric experiments be performed, which are usually done by the help of a rubbed glass globe or tube, and thereby the sameness of the electric matter with that of lightning completely demonstrated.


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As a Founding Father, John Jay served as a politician and statesman, revolutionary, diplomat, and Supreme Court Justice. Find out more here:

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Allow your older child’s curiosity to drive with this biography chock full of links to related topics!

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Watch the video: Libertys Kids 130 - In Praise of Benjamin Franklin. History Cartoon (January 2022).