Electric Current
Electricity and Magnetism

… and shocking pranks

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

Franklin proposed a number of electrical pranks:

  • Drinking glasses were covered in a tin coating to give an unsuspecting drinker a shock.
  • A gentleman and a lady were asked to stand on wax insulators. One of the two would be passed an electric phial (or Leyden jar), while the other grasped a wire attached to the phial. The two protagonists would then be asked to move their lips together in order to experience an “electric kiss”.
  • A fake spider, constructed from cork, thread and pieces of lead, was animated by being charged so that it appeared “perfectly alive to persons unacquainted”.


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