World Astonished that an American Tradesman Tamed Lightning

(p. 24) Within five years of his speculative note to Collinson, lightning rods had become a common sight on church steeples throughout Europe and America. Franklin’s biographer Carl Van Doren aptly describes the astonishment that greeted these events around the world: “A man in Philadelphia in America, bred a tradesman, remote from the learned world, had hit upon a secret which enabled him, and other men, to catch and tame the lightning, so dread that it was still mythological.”

Johnson, Steven. The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America. New York: Riverhead Books, 2008.

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