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Draw the Lightning DownBenjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238022

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238022.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

. Going Public

. Going Public

(p.67) 4. Going Public
Draw the Lightning Down

Michael Brian Schiffer

University of California Press

This chapter demonstrates that, in writings and public lectures, disseminators brought electrical technology to the attention of people outside electrophysics. It also pays attention to the most common, significant, or memorable inventions. The chapter first explores the use of demonstration devices in college lectures. Teachers looking to lecture about electricity in their general physics courses could obtain guidance from many written sources, including standard physics textbooks and electrical experiment books. The demonstration devices offered by instrument makers continued to increase in the eighteenth century. There are hints that, by the end of the eighteenth century, electrical demonstrations had reached into schools below the college level. Apart from the electrical machine itself, demonstration devices often drew on nonelectrical technologies or activities that were probably familiar to spectators. Lectures on electricity were quite popular in the colonies. After surveying the offerings of instrument makers, lectures took the next step and acquired electrical systems.

Keywords:   writings, public lectures, disseminators, electrical systems, electrophysics, college lectures, electrical demonstrations devices, electrical machine

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