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The Electric Kite








Make a small cross of two light strips of cedar, the arms so long as
to reach to the four corners of a large thin silk handkerchief, when
extended; tie the corners of the handkerchief to the extremities of
the cross; and you have the body of the kite, which being properly
accommodated with a tail, loop, and string, will rise in the air like
those made of paper; but this being silk, it is more adapted to bear
the wet and wind of a thunder gust, without tearing. To the top of the
upright stick of the cross is to be fixed a very sharp-pointed wire,
rising a foot or more above the wood. To the end of the twine is to be
tied a silk ribbon, and where the silk and twine join, a key may be
fastened. This kite is to be raised when a thunder-storm appears to be
coming on; and the person who holds the string must stand within a
door or window, or under some cover, so that the silk ribbon may not
be wet; and care must be taken that the twine do not touch the frame
of the door or window. As soon as any of the thunder clouds come over
the kite, the pointed wire will draw the electric fire from them, and
the kite, with all the twine, will be electrified, while the loose
filaments of the twine will stand out every way, and be attracted by
an approaching finger. When the rain has wetted the kite and twine, so
that it can conduct the electric fire freely, you will find it stream
out plentifully from the key, on the approach of your knuckle. At this
key an electric phial may be charged; and from electric fire thus
obtained, spirits may be kindled, and all the other electric
experiments performed which are usually done by the help of a rubbed
glass or tube; and thereby the identity of the electric matter with
that of lightning completely demonstrated.





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