Electrostatic Potential
Electricity and Magnetism

Electrical entertainments

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

During the eighteenth century, a craze for electrical demonstrations sprang up and itinerant lecturers toured fashionable salons showing off novel entertainments. Some of the strangest of these included:

  • Stephen Gray’s Flying Boy  −  a young boy was suspended by silk threads from a wooden frame and charged. When the boy held out his hands, pieces of paper and chaff flew up from the floor.
  • The Electrifying Venus  −  a female member of the audience stood on an insulated stool and was charged. When a male volunteer attempted to kiss her, he received a shock
  • The Thunder House  −  a doll’s house which demonstrated the effects of lightning strikes and the protection offered by lightning conductors. Some houses were rigged with gunpowder to dramatise the effect of a strike on an ungrounded house.


Electrostatic Potential
is used in analyses relating to Electric Field
can be analysed using the quantity Work
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