9781891620706

Bolt of Fate : Benjamin Franklin and His Electric Kite Hoax

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781891620706

  • ISBN10:

    1891620703

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2003-06-18
  • Publisher: Perseus Books Group

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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

Was Benjamin Franklin's famous electric kite experiment a fraud? And did it determine the course of the American Revolution? Every schoolchild in America knows that Benjamin Franklin flew a kite during a thunderstorm in the summer of 1752. Electricity from the clouds above traveled down the kite's twine and threw a spark from a key that Franklin had attached to the string. He thereby proved that lightning and electricity were one. What many of us do not realize is that Franklin used this breakthrough in his day's intensely competitive field of electrical science to embarrass his French and English rivals. His kite experiment was an international event and the Franklin that it presented to the world--a homespun, rural philosopher-scientist performing an immensely important and dangerous experiment with a child's toy--became the Franklin of myth. In fact, this sly presentation on Franklin's part so charmed the French that he became an irresistible celebrity when he traveled there during the American Revolution. The crowds and the journalists, and the ladies, cajo

Author Biography

Tom Tucker is an award-winning author who writes often about the history of invention. His most recent publication, The Eclipse Project, was issued by NASA, the result of a fellowship administered by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and Stanford University. He lives in Rutherfordton, North Carolina with his family

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Author's Note xiii
Prologue xv
PART ONE The Hand
Almanack-Writer
3(9)
The Party Begins
12(10)
The Equipment
22(10)
The Genius of Nations
32(9)
Universal Cure
41(8)
Sunday
49(10)
PART TWO The Virtuoso
Among Gentlemen
59(11)
Night Benjamin
70(9)
Ivy--Girls and Holly--Boys
79(8)
Deadly Box
87(12)
The Crusaders
99(11)
Marly
110(14)
Lightning
124(11)
PART THREE Citizen of the World
The Kite
135(22)
Death at St. Petersburg
157(20)
Making Amends
177(9)
Franklin's Point
186(9)
The Tally
195(10)
PART FOUR Household God
The Making
205(10)
Bolt of Fate
215(14)
Checkmate
229(6)
Epilogue 235(4)
Notes 239(32)
Bibliography 271(16)
Index 287

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