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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.