It is very doubtful anyone told Benjamin Franklin to "go fly a kite" in any sense of the phrase. But, flying a kite is just what he supposedly did...in the midst of a thunderstorm...while it was lightning! Why? As an experiment to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning.
This Day in History: June 10, 1752
"On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin flies a kite during a thunderstorm and collects a charge in a Leyden jar when the kite is struck by lightning, enabling him to demonstrate the electrical nature of lightning."
A few historians refute such an event ever happened. They surmise Franklin probably would have been electrocuted.
Debate and mystery surround the kite story. Remember, it was the 18th century when live demonstrations captured the eyes and ears of anyone interested in the mysterious! Whether fact or myth should not take away from Franklin's importance and how he profoundly advanced the knowledge of electricity. Look at it this way: We owe a lot to Ben Franklin who thrived on experiments over a quarter of a millennium ago. Next time you need your flashlight on a dark and stormy night, perhaps the lights go out in your house, thank Benjamin Franklin for he laid the groundwork for the invention of batteries and many, many other practical uses of electricity.
Go fly a kite! That's right! Let's celebrate Ben Franklin and go fly a kite but NOT during a thunderstorm, especially if it is lightning. There is just not enough impromptu fun these days. Go for it!
Did you know there is a Kite Flying Day? It is celebrated in February but that doesn't mean kite flying is only limited to that one day. On any windy day, find a sunny, public open place and fly, fly away. Enjoy a picnic in the park, get competitive with family and friends. See who can fly the highest, fastest and farthermost. Try to be the one with the funniest, the craziest, the biggest, the baddest, the most unusual kite ever!
- Energy and persistence conquer all things.
Image Source: www.gombergkites.com