Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America.

“AMERICA’S FIRST GREAT SCIENTIFIC CONTRIBUTION”: Rare Fifth Edition of Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America

Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America.

FRANKLIN, Benjamin.

$9,800.00

Item Number: 110364

London: For F. Newbery, 1774.

Rare fifth edition of “the most important scientific book of 18th-century America” and “America’s first great scientific contribution” (PMM), with two engraved plates (two folding). Octavo, bound in contemporary calf, red morocco spine label.

“Franklin’s most important scientific publication,” Experiments and Observations contains detailed accounts of the founding father’s crucial kite and key experiment, his work with Leiden jars, lightning rods and charged clouds (Norman 830). “The most dramatic result of Franklin’s researches was the proof that lightning is really an electrical phenomenon. Others had made such a suggestion before him— even Newton himself— but it was he who provided the experimental proof” (PMM). “The lightning experiments caused Franklin’s name to become known throughout Europe to the public at large and not merely to men of science. Joseph Priestley, in his History of Electricity, characterized the experimental discovery that the lightning discharge is an electrical phenomenon as ‘the greatest, perhaps, since the time of Isaac Newton… Franklin’s achievement… marked the coming of age of electrical science and the full acceptance of the new field of specialization” (DSB).

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