Benjamin Franklin is one of America's most famous founding fathers and inventors. He is renowned for his ingenious experiments with electricity, including his dangerous obsession with kite flying during thunderstorms. This obsession led him to make groundbreaking discoveries that changed the course of history.

Benjamin Franklin's Fascination with Electricity

From a young age, Benjamin Franklin was fascinated by electricity and lightning. He conducted experiments by rubbing different materials together to create static charges. Franklin theorized that lightning was simply electricity occurring on a massive scale during thunderstorms.

At the time, most people believed that lightning was a supernatural phenomenon controlled by gods. However, Franklin hypothesized that it was an electrical force that could be understood and controlled through science. This belief fueled his daring and controversial experiments with kite flying during storms.

"Franklin was convinced that lightning was electricity on a grand scale, not the weapon of an angry God."

The Infamous Kite Flying Experiment

According to legend, in 1752 Franklin conducted his most famous experiment proving that lightning is electricity. During a thunderstorm, he flew a kite with a metal key attached to the top of the kite string. At the bottom of the string he tied a metal key and Leyden jar to capture electrical sparks.

When the kite flew up into the storm clouds, Franklin saw electrical sparks jumping from the key to his hand. The wet string conducted the electricity down to the ground. This demonstrated that lightning was indeed electrical energy that could be captured and studied.

"Franklin's kite flying test during a storm was extremely dangerous but proved his electrical theory beyond doubt."

How Benjamin Franklin’s Shocking Obsession with Kite Flying Revolutionized Wiring and Changed History

Benjamin Franklin's famous kite experiment was controversial but demonstrated that lightning was electricity.

Pioneering Discoveries About Electricity

Thanks to his kite experiments, Franklin made several groundbreaking discoveries about electricity:

Franklin's electrical theories based on kite experiments laid the foundation for future innovations.

Revolutionizing Home Wiring and Lighting

After understanding electrical forces better, Franklin helped pioneer their practical applications for home use. He promoted innovations like:

But perhaps Franklin's most important wiring innovation was developing the first positive and negative wires for indoor lighting:

"Franklin's bifocal lens design and advances in practical home wiring were key innovations enabled by his kite experiments."

Franklin's electrical wiring and bifocal lenses helped bring lighting indoors in a practical way for the first time.

Lasting Influence on Science and Society

The discoveries unlocked by Franklin's shocking kite flying obsession had dramatic impacts on science and society:

"Obsessed with kite flying science, Franklin pioneered electrical knowledge powering modern innovation and political ideals."

In many ways, Franklin was the archetypal American inventor, using bold experimentation to overcome orthodoxy and superstition for pragmatic results. His shocking electrical discoveries launched innovations still benefiting society today.


In conclusion, Benjamin Franklin's seemingly mad obsession with flying kites during thunderstorms led him to experimentally prove that lightning was electrical. This overturned superstitious beliefs and opened up a new realm of physics to be studied systematically. By understanding electricity better via kite experiments, Franklin invented key practical applications like lightning rods, bifocal glasses, and indoor wiring. The electrical and political advances unlocked by his kite flying pioneered modern powered civilization and liberty. Franklin's scientific journey from dangerous kite flying experiments to world-changing discoveries showed the power of innovating through bold empiricism.