Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment / Edition 1

Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment / Edition 1

by Michael Brian Schiffer
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0520248295

ISBN-13: 9780520248298

Pub. Date: 03/02/2006

Publisher: University of California Press

Most of us know--at least we've heard--that Benjamin Franklin conducted some kind of electrical experiment with a kite. What few of us realize--and what this book makes powerfully clear--is that Franklin played a major role in laying the foundations of modern electrical science and technology. This fast-paced book, rich with historical details and anecdotes, brings to

Overview

Most of us know--at least we've heard--that Benjamin Franklin conducted some kind of electrical experiment with a kite. What few of us realize--and what this book makes powerfully clear--is that Franklin played a major role in laying the foundations of modern electrical science and technology. This fast-paced book, rich with historical details and anecdotes, brings to life Franklin, the large international network of scientists and inventors in which he played a key role, and their amazing inventions. We learn what these early electrical devices--from lights and motors to musical and medical instruments--looked like, how they worked, and what their utilitarian and symbolic meanings were for those who invented and used them. Against the fascinating panorama of life in the eighteenth century, Michael Brian Schiffer tells the story of the very beginnings of our modern electrical world.

The earliest electrical technologies were conceived in the laboratory apparatus of physicists; because of their surprising and diverse effects, however, these technologies rapidly made their way into many other communities and activities. Schiffer conducts us from community to community, showing how these technologies worked as they were put to use in public lectures, revolutionary experiments in chemistry and biology, and medical therapy. This story brings to light the arcane and long-forgotten inventions that made way for many modern technologies--including lightning rods (Franklin's invention), cardiac stimulation, xerography, and the internal combustion engine--and richly conveys the complex relationships among science, technology, and culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520248298
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
03/02/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
397
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

Table of Contents

Preface

List of Figures

1. The Franklin Phenomenon

2. In the Beginning

3. A Coming of Age

4. Going Public

5. Power to the People

6. Life and Death

7. First, Do No Harm

8. An Electrical World

9. Property Protectors

10. A New Alchemy

11. Visionary Inventors

12. Technology Transfer: A Behavioral Framework

Notes

References Cited

Index

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