Benjamin Franklin's famous kite experiment in 1752 was a groundbreaking scientific achievement that demonstrated a connection between lightning and electricity. This pivotal discovery laid the foundation for innovations in 18th century electrical technology, especially related to electrical wiring methods.

Background on 18th Century Electrical Knowledge

In the early 1700s, electricity remained a mysterious force of nature that scientists were just beginning to study and understand. A few key breakthroughs set the stage for Franklin's kite experiment:

However, a big unanswered question still remained - what was the connection between electricity and lightning? Franklin helped provide the answer through his intrepid kite experiment.

Franklin's Kite Experiment

After years of speculative theories, Franklin conceived of a bold experiment to investigate lightning. His experimental setup consisted of:

During a thunderstorm in June 1752, Franklin and his son flew the kite. Wetness increased the kite string's conductivity. Sparks leapt from the key to Franklin's knuckle, showing electrical charge transfer. The Leyden jar also became charged, proving lightning's electrical nature.

Franklin surmised that lightning was simply a massive spark of electricity jumping from the clouds to the ground. His kite experiment provided concrete evidence verifying this electrical link.

Revolutionizing Electrical Wiring

After definitively linking lightning and electricity, Franklin spearheaded innovations applying this knowledge to electrical wiring methods:

These innovations established fundamental principles and materials for safe electrical wiring still used today. Franklin ushered in a new electrical age through his groundbreaking kite experiment.

Legacy on Electrical Engineering

The insights from Franklin's kite experiment reverberated through the field of 18th and 19th century electrical engineering:


Benjamin Franklin ushered in modern electrical engineering through his legendary kite flight in a thunderstorm. This ingenious experiment proved lightning's electrical nature and enabled crucial advances in safe electrical wiring methods. The insights from this fateful storm in 1752 still light up our electrified world today. Franklin's legacy stands as a testament to the power of bold scientific exploration and discovery.