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Franklin, Benjamin (1706-1790).

Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia in America, communicated in several Letters to Mr. P. Collinson, of London, F.R.S.

Folding plate by Jefferys. In the Original Sheets. Sewn. Entirely uncut. Printed and sold by E. Cave, at St John's Gate, 1751.

"Benjamin Franklin was the first American to win an international reputation in pure science and the first man of science to gain fame for work done wholly in electricity. His principal achievement was the formulation of a widely used theory of general electrical 'action' (explaining or predicting the outcome of manipulations in electrostatics: charge production, charge transfer, charging by electrostatic induction). He advanced the concept of a single 'fluid' of electricity, was responsible for the principle of conservation of charge, and analyzed the distribution of charges in the Leyden jar, a capacitor. He introduced into the language of scientific discourse relating to electricity such technical words as 'plus' and 'minus', 'positive' and 'negative', 'charge' and 'battery'. By experimentation he showed that the lightning discharge is an electrical phenomenon, and upon this demonstration (together with his experimental findings concerning the action of grounded and of pointed conductors) he based his invention of the lightning rod" (Dictionary of Scientific Biography).

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