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The Leyden Phial








When a nail or piece of thick brass wire, &c., is put into a small
apothecary's phial, and electrified, remarkable effects follow; but
the phial must be very dry or warm. Rub it once beforehand with your
finger, on which put some pounded chalk. If a little mercury, or a few
drops of spirit of wine, be put into it, the experiment succeeds the
better. As soon as this phial and nail are removed from the
electrifying glass, or the prime conductor, to which it has been
exposed, is taken away, it throws out a stream of flame so long, that
with this burning-machine in your hand, you may take about sixty steps
in walking about your room. When it is electrified strongly, you may
take it into another room, and there fire spirits of wine with it. If,
while it is electrifying, you put your finger, or a piece of gold
which you hold in your hand, to the nail, you receive a shock which
stuns your arms and shoulders.

A tin tube, or a man placed upon electrics, is electrified much
stronger by these means than in the common way. When you present this
phial and nail it to a tin tube, fifteen feet long, nothing but
experience can make a person believe how strongly it is electrified.
Two thin glasses have been broken by the shock of it. It appears
extraordinary, that when this phial and nail are in contact with their
conducting or non-conducting matter, the strong shock does not follow.





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