In 1752 the famous scientist and statesman conducted an experiment to
find out if
lightning was electricity. During a thunderstorm in Philadelphia,
Franklin and his son William flew a homemade kite with a wire attached to
Franklin expected lightning to strike the wire, then flow down the kite
string to a
key tied near the end.
The kite entered a rain cloud. Franklin touched his knuckle to the key.
electric spark! The experiment had worked. The lightning behaved like
Franklin had been lucky. If the lightning strike had been stronger, he
been hurt or killed. After this and other experiments, Franklin invented
rods to protect buildings from lightning strikes.